Annual Report 2023

Framework and application of the EU taxonomy

Audit with limited assurance

Aims of the EU taxonomy

As a community of states, the European Union (EU) has set itself the aim of becoming climate neutral by 2050. Within the scope of the EU Action Plan on Sustainable Finance, the channelling of capital flows into sustainable investments is a key objective. In order to support this goal, the EU Taxonomy Regulation came into force in mid 2020. It is a uniform and legally binding classification system that defines which economic activities in the EU can be deemed “environmentally sustainable”. Company-specific information on the results of this classification must be reported annually. In June 2021, the Climate Delegated Act was adopted, which defines economic activities and technical screening criteria for the first two of the six environmental objectives. This was followed in June 2023 by the Environmental Delegated Act, which regulates these specifications for the subsequent classifications of environmental objectives three to six. The following six environmental objectives are listed in Section 9 of the Taxonomy Regulation:

  • Climate change mitigation
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources
  • Transition to a circular economy
  • Pollution prevention and control
  • Protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems

The requirements for sustainable economic activities within the meaning of the environmental objectives are set out in the delegated acts via the description of the economic activity; this lists those economic activities which can generally be considered sustainable.

Definition of sustainable economic activities

With regard to the classification of an economic activity as “environmentally sustainable” under the EU taxonomy, it is necessary to distinguish between taxonomy eligibility and taxonomy alignment. The first step is to check whether an economic activity is described in the Climate Delegated Act or in the Environmental Delegated Act and thus taxonomy-eligible. Only economic activities which are taxonomy-eligible can then be identified as taxonomy-aligned and therefore sustainable. This requires that these economic activities fulfil three conditions: They must make a material contribution to one of the six environmental objectives and must not significantly harm any of the environmental objectives to which no significant contribution is made, i.e. have a negative impact on them. Furthermore, these activities must fulfil the specified minimum safeguards, such as compliance with human rights.

Application of the EU taxonomy

In accordance with Section 315b (1) HGB and Article 8 (1) of the Taxonomy Regulation, HHLA is obliged to apply the provisions of the Taxonomy Regulation. In accordance with the Taxonomy Regulation, the shares of taxonomy-eligible economic activities in revenue, investments and operating expenses were already reported in the 2021 reporting year. Since the 2022 reporting year, the shares of taxonomy-aligned economic activities must be disclosed. In 2021 and 2022, the shares related to environmental targets 1 and 2. For the reporting year, the changes resulting from the legal acts amending the Climate Delegated Act (targets 1 and 2) and the economic activities of the Environmental Delegated Act for targets 3 to 6 must also be taken into account. All fully consolidated HHLA Group companies are included in this analysis.

EU Taxonomy
The EU taxonomy is a legally binding classification system that defines which economic activities of a company are considered sustainable. This is linked to specific requirements for the performance of business activities and the calculation methods of various key figures. The aim is to channel more investment into sustainable companies and technologies and thus support the European Union's 2050 climate neutrality target.
Payments for investments in property, plant and equipment, investment property and intangible assets.
Revenue from sales or lettings and from services rendered, less sales deductions and VAT.

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