Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, opened the meeting by recalling the global nature of the project reflected through the different countries represented by the attendees (i.e. Canada, Brazil, France, Spain, Italy, Russia).
Mr Loubinoux recalled that in November 2018, it was suggested that UIC should launch an Eco Scoring project. Although some UIC members were already actively working with green funding, it was considered that acting in a collective way as a sector would be a step forward.
Mr Loubinoux expressed his thanks to the attendees for having made themselves available to discuss the next steps and noted that their involvement was the answer that UIC is right and needs to go forward in achieving concrete actions to serve its Member community.
This comes in addition to a number of actions the UIC Sustainability Unit is conducting – the latest one being the recent release of the “The Future of Rail” report produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in collaboration with UIC. This document is an invaluable source of statistics, facts and figures, ideas, perspectives and will be distributed to all UIC members.
Coming back to Eco Scoring, that is linked with the work on taxonomy undertaken by the European Commission, the 12 November meeting underlined the need to undertake several actions. Firstly, the need for a guideline to better meet the requirements of the non-financial agencies to enable the rail sector to have better access to socially responsible investments. And secondly, the development of an International Railway Solution, the so-called IRS, to access the green funding world. This IRS will strengthen the rail community and ensure it speaks the same language as the financial institutions.
Doris Chevalier, financial consultant, presented a proposal for methodology and work programme which was discussed by the participants.
After that, Ethem Pekin from CER presented the draft taxonomy document circulated by the Technical Expert Group on Green Finance of the European Commission on which UIC had already given some feedback at a brainstorming meeting on 29 January in Brussels.
In this context, it is worth noting that the EU Commission seems to consider rail transport in a very positive way, which is very encouraging for the group.
Taking into account the global nature of the banking system into consideration, non-European participants were also kindly requested to give their input to ensure that taxonomy can also be applied in an appropriate way in other countries and on other continents.
The meeting gave rise to fruitful discussions, and the participants agreed to continue to collaborate in the Eco Scoring project and to meet on a regular basis under the coordination of UIC in liaison with CER for efficiency and transparency purposes.
The group’s work will be conducted on a step-by-step basis and it is expected that important outputs will be produced by the end of 2019. Intermediate results will be presented at the UIC General Assembly in June 2019.