Sustainable financial products: new version of the guidelines

On 13 December 2023, the new version of the Austrian Ecolabel guidelines for sustainable financial products (UZ 49) was adopted by the Ecolabel Advisory Board. The biggest change: from now on, sustainable loans (green loans) can also be certified.

Background to the revision

The Ecolabel criteria for financial products have been in place since 2004 and are revised every four years. VKI is responsible for revising the content of the guidelines. The revision makes it possible to adapt the criteria and their level of requirements to current developments or to take account of changes in the legal framework. The group of products that can be labelled is also often extended in the course of a revision of the guidelines. The revision therefore serves to bring the Directive up to date.

Key points of the revision

The focus of this year's revision was, on the one hand, the extension of the product group to include green loans (sustainable loans). On the other hand, the exclusion criteria were extended and adapted, the handling of the EU taxonomy was integrated into UZ 49 and new criteria were formulated with regard to commitment. The main points of the revision are summarised below:

  • A clearer presentation of the range of financial products that can be labelled, as well as an overview of mandatory and optional criteria in the area of funds, in order to improve traceability and transparency.
  • Expansion of the product group to include green loans, including the development of a set of criteria
  • Expanding the exclusion criteria for fossil fuel, arms and tobacco companies - e.g. by excluding energy production from natural gas, fossil fuel distribution or tobacco production and trade.
  • Expanding the exclusion criteria for countries - e.g. in the area of corruption or financial sanctions, and expanding existing exclusion criteria, e.g. in the area of climate and species protection.
  • Formulation of initially optional requirements in the area of EU taxonomy, which will become mandatory from the beginning of 2026.
  • Introduction of a mandatory commitment criterion under certain conditions
  • New inclusion of comprehensive bonus criteria in the area of impact

New labelling option: Green loans

Green loans are sustainable loans. The loan funds must be used for sustainable projects, such as the renovation of buildings or the construction of wind power or photovoltaic systems. With the possibility of certifying Green Loans, the Austrian Ecolabel wants to make a further active contribution to channelling even more funds towards sustainability and thus achieving climate protection goals, for example. The market has already expressed interest in launching such products on the market and subsequently certifying them with the Austrian Ecolabel.

Further information

The new guideline for sustainable financial products (UZ 49) can be found here: Austrian Ecolabel Guidline

All practical information on application and certification can be found here: The path to the Austrian Ecolabel - General information ← Certification ←