Investor clash on gas and nuclear affects EU green finance drive


European efforts to reach a common definition of sustainable investments risk fragmenting the market they aimed to unify, as investors are deeply divided over which energy sources should count as green.

A Reuters survey of 16 fund managers with $6 trillion in assets found investors were at odds over Brussels’ plan, drafted at the end of last year, to class investments in some natural gas and nuclear power as environmentally sustainable.

The split among investors could herald a divergence in the green credentials of funds meant to be sustainable, making it harder for ordinary investors to make a judgement and complicating Brussels’ attempts to set a clear standard.

Reuters states that “some say labelling nuclear and natural gas as green investments would aid the low carbon evolution by encouraging financing for facilities to help wean countries off the dirtiest fuels, chiefly coal. Others say nuclear and natural gas are part of the problem, not the solution.”

Although nuclear generates power without emitting carbon dioxide, the by-product of nuclear electricity is radioactive waste. A gas-fired power plant emits around half as much carbon dioxide as a coal-fired one but is far from carbon-free.

Of the 16 investors surveyed by Reuters, five said they did not consider gas and nuclear as sustainable, and four counted only one of the two fuels as green. Five deemed both gas and nuclear power to be green in some circumstances, and two did not specify their view.

While other parts of the EU taxonomy, or set of standards, came into effect this month, the rules on gas and nuclear power have been delayed by more than a year following intense lobbying from EU member states.

“Regardless of whether they are included or not, we would not consider them fully ‘green’,” said Gemma Corrigan, head of policy and advocacy at the international business arm of Federated Hermes, which manages $634B in assets.

The rules are meant to standardise disparate approaches and asset managers are required to report the extent to which their portfolios are aligned with the taxonomy.

Corrigan raised concerns about the impact on other sustainability reporting that is required should nuclear and natural gas be grouped with ‘green’ investments in those reports.

“Including nuclear and gas would create less transparency, a greater risk of mis-selling and potentially undermine the credibility of the regulations and benchmark for setting science-based standards,” she said.

Other investors flagged a danger that including gas and nuclear could undermine commitments by asset managers to drive down emissions associated with their portfolios to the EU target of zero, on a net basis, by 2050.

Mirova Chief Executive Philippe Zaouati said his firm would snub the EU’s “basically useless” green label for gas and nuclear and stick with the firm’s own sustainability assessment.

A spokesperson for the executive European Commission declined to comment on the Reuters survey. The Commission has previously defended its draft proposal’s “clear and tight conditions” for gas and nuclear investments, which it says are needed to “facilitate the transition towards a predominantly renewable-based future”.

Once the Commission publishes a final proposal for the rules, they could take effect from Jan. 2023, unless vetoed by a supermajority of EU member states or a majority of EU lawmakers.

The intensity of lobbying on the issue reflects how much is at stake for the nuclear and natural gas sectors that fear their cost of financing may rise if they are not included in the green taxonomy. From an investor point of view, their inclusion could broaden the range of eligible sustainable assets.

Members of an expert panel advising the Commission said this week the draft rules were not in line with 2050 net-zero targets because they included gas power plants with above-average emissions and nuclear plants that may launch too late to help cut emissions by 2050.

Jean-Jacques Barberis, director of the Institutional and Corporate Clients division & ESG at Europe’s biggest asset manager Amundi, said the industry needed common standards but would find a way.

“We will adapt to it, whether the European Commission decides to include gas and nuclear in the taxonomy or not,” Barberis said.

Source: Reuters

View our blog for market news and company updates.

Register to receive your
Sample Report

By clicking “Submit” I acknowledge I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy. Evenco will not share or sell your contact details with any third party sources.

Register your interest in one of our events

By clicking “Submit” I acknowledge I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy. Evenco will not share or sell your contact details with any third party sources.

Refer a colleague

Register to receive your Contributor Brochure

By clicking “Submit” I acknowledge I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy. Evenco will not share or sell your contact details with any third party sources.

Register to receive your Membership Brochure

By clicking “Submit” I acknowledge I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy. Evenco will not share or sell your contact details with any third party sources.

Register to receive your
Event Media Pack

By clicking “Submit” I acknowledge I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy. Evenco will not share or sell your contact details with any third party sources.

Privacy Policy

The data controller is: Evenco International Limited, 1 Ropemaker Street, London, Greater London, England EC2Y 9HT.

Evenco International is an executive conference organiser for the asset management community.

Your privacy is important to us. Accordingly we are committed to handling the personal information of all those we engage with responsibly and in a way that meets the legal requirements of the countries in which we operate.

This privacy policy explains the basis on which any personal data we collect from you will be processed by us in relation to the following:

Conference registration.
Email Marketing.
Face-to-face meetings with our Research team.

Except for the above, we do not process or analyse your information in any other way, including disclosing your information with third parties, unless required to do so by law.

Conference registration

If you sign up to attend one of our conferences, we will ask you to provide your professional details – in order to determine your suitability to attend our conference and share with you all logistical information. We will use this information internally to communicate with you. We request the following: name, job title, business address, email address and business telephone number. By attending our conferences we may pass the information we collect at registration to our conference sponsors. It gives our sponsors the opportunity to know who will be attending the conference. They can contact you after the conference for commercial reasons. It is, therefore, up to you whether you remain in contact with them. Evenco International will never share any of your personal data with potential sponsors without your explicit consent. After the conference, we will ask you to complete surveys regarding your experience with us. Information for us and the sponsors of the conference to which the feedback applies. We will check, of course, that you are happy to share your feedback and personal data with the sponsors. We will not share your feedback with other third parties without your explicit consent. There will be a photographer and/or videographer at our conferences. This may be used for future marketing material, our website and social media channels.

Email Marketing

When you register to attend one of our conferences, we will ask you if you wish to receive direct marketing from us regarding future conferences. You can choose to stop receiving them at any time by emailing

Face to face meetings

Evenco International meets with its audiences prior to its events – meaning we will sometimes ask to meet you and ask you questions. We do not record these meetings. Any opinions that you express may be shared with specific sponsors – anonymously – on the condition that you give us your permission to do this.


We ensure information once received is stored securely and only accessible with the correct authorisation. Electronic data and databases are stored on secure computer systems and we control who has access to information. However, a loss of personal data is known as a data breach. The General Data Protection Regulation imposes requirements on businesses to report breaches within 72 hours. We undertake to inform you if your personal data is compromised and there is a risk to your rights and freedoms as a result.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or relating to our use of your information, write to our Data Protection Officer at Evenco International, 1 Ropemaker Street, London, Greater London, England EC2Y 9HT, or emailing

Please also contact us if you wish to exercise your ‘Right to Access’ or ‘Right to be Forgotten’ under the General Data Protection Regulation.

Terms and Conditions

Evenco Analytics offers a free trial period for three months after subscribing to the service. You will not be charged for this product during your trial period. Before the trial expires, we will contact you to see if you wish to continue using the service and subscribe to a yearly subscription, where you can cancel if desired. You can also unsubscribe from Evenco Analytics for free at any time leading up to the first quarterly payment by contacting us at Standard rate for the product is £5k per annum, charged quarterly at £1250. Early bird and referral discounts are also available for subscribing to a full Evenco Analytics subscription – please contact us for more information. As our subscription is set up via invoicing, please note that there may be a short delay before you receive access to the platform, as we will need to approve your request.

Request a demo