Following the lead of the European Union's taxonomy, Latin American and Caribbean ("LAC") countries are developing their own green taxonomies, seeking facilitation of capital flows toward sustainable activities and assets and assessment of climate change-related risks in the financial sector.
Colombia and Mexico are the only countries in the LAC region to have adopted a green taxonomy, while Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Peru are in the process of developing their own taxonomies.
Colombia was the first country in the LAC region to publish a green taxonomy (April 2022). It was modeled on the European Union's taxonomy (back then a draft) but aimed specifically for the country's context.
Colombia's green taxonomy application is voluntary and includes climate-related and environmental objectives, with an accent on land-use sectors, such as forestry, agriculture, and livestock.
In March 2023, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit published Mexico's first sustainable taxonomy, modeled on the European Union's taxonomy, targeting six environmental objectives and five social objectives.
Mexico's sustainable taxonomy is voluntary, addresses climate change, gender inequality, and access to basic services in municipalities. This is one of the first taxonomies pursuing a gender equality objective and local matters at the municipal and state level.
To further implement the objectives of the sustainable taxonomy, a Sustainable Financing Mobilization Strategy was published in September 2023. The Mexican government claims that the strategy will potentially mobilize up to $820 billion through the adoption of voluntary actions in line with the taxonomy's objectives.
In December 2020, a Technical Roundtable on Sustainable Finance comprised of government stakeholders developed a Roadmap for a National Strategy of Sustainable Finance. In May 2023, the final document was published by the Ministry of Economy.
The National Strategy of Sustainable Finance is intended to create the conditions necessary to identify alternatives to mobilize public and private investments toward Argentina's economic and social objectives within the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda.
A draft Sustainable Taxonomy Action Plan prepared by Brazil's Ministry of Finance underwent public consultation from September through October 20, 2023.
The action plan will target climate change mitigation and adaptation objectives in sectors such as agriculture, extractive activities, electricity and gas, water supply and wastewater management, and transportation.
In 2021, the Ministry of Finance published the Roadmap for a Taxonomy in Chile, intended to guide the Chilean government toward the development of a green taxonomy; it was developed in association with the Private-Public Roundtable on Green Finance, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Climate Bonds Initiative.
The roadmap describes the conceptual aspects of a taxonomy, related international trends, and the necessary steps to develop Chile's local taxonomy. Mining, a key sector of the local economy, has not yet been included in international taxonomies. Thus, Chile may take the lead in setting forth criteria in this sector.
In 2022, the Stock Market Superintendent launched a green taxonomy project, seeking new tools to address climate change, promote sustainability and the growth of sustainable capital markets, and contribute to climate change mitigation.
The green taxonomy will focus on sectors relevant to local development, such as energy, water, construction, transportation, technology, industry, and waste management. The taxonomy is currently undergoing public consultation
Panama's Ministry of Environment is currently leading an initiative to develop a Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, intended to classify economic activities and assets that may contribute to the country's environmental objectives and commitments.
A Taxonomy Oversight Committee was created to coordinate works, and in July 2023, technical meetings took place among national and international experts to collaborate on a first draft. While the first draft was expected to be published for public consultation in September 2023, the draft has not yet been published.
A National Green Finance Taxonomy is being developed by the Ministry of Environment as part of Peru's Green Finance Roadmap. Consultations and technical workshops started in January 2022, and by June 2023, technical and sectorial committees were still working on the definitions of the taxonomy.
The taxonomy's framework will be similar to that of Colombia and the European Union, will cover similar sectors as those of the Colombian taxonomy with a focus on climate change, and will be interoperable with other national taxonomies.
Mitigation and adaptation actions are capital-intensive; average annual mitigation costs have been estimated to be 1% to 3% of global gross domestic product to achieve the 2-degree Celsius threshold. Climate finance is key to addressing climate change through national and international green financing efforts.
Green taxonomies have been recognized and adopted by an increasing number of nations as strategic policy instruments to mobilize and increase private capital flows toward sustainable development targets, including climate action.
LAC countries are no exception to this global trend and relevant efforts are being made by national governments in the region to develop and implement green taxonomies to provide guidance on which investments will be deemed as green under local jurisdictions.
To support such efforts and provide a voluntary reference to LAC member states, the UN Environment Programme recently published the "Common Framework of Sustainable Finance Taxonomies for Latin America and the Caribbean" as a voluntary guidance document intended to make green finance frameworks interoperable across LAC countries and internationally.
It is expected that other LAC countries will follow in developing and implementing green financing frameworks guided by local green taxonomies.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.