France is pushing the EU to introduce compulsory environmental reporting standards for European companies and apply a common definition of “green” financial products, according to finance minister Bruno Le Maire. “We are not moving quickly enough,” Mr Le Maire told the Financial Times in an interview ahead of a climate finance conference in Paris. “We are in the process of losing the  carbon dioxide battle and we need to win it.” He also said France aimed to stop all coal investments in Europe by its financial institutions within 10 years.

Mr Le Maire said green finance was essential for managing the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but “greenwashing”- declaring one’s environmental credentials without doing much in reality to reduce emissions or pollution –   remained a major concern. He acknowledged that the EU was tackling the issue with its planned “taxonomy” of green financial products, which would define the criteria for them to qualify.

But he said it was necessary to start enforcing the rules more quickly –    and by the  end of 2021. Theenvironmental performance of companies in receipt of loans and investments also needed to be examined, he said.

“We don’t have this data. As well as the European [financial sector] taxonomy, which is absolutely indispensable, we must put in place standardised European indicators for all companies, allowing the evaluation of their environmental performance, their contribution to the struggle against climate change,” he said.