Background & Description:

Financial institutions are driven by legislative developments in sustainable finance regulation and have a growing need for easily accessible and reliable sustainability-related company information.

To create the same language for companies, investors and policymakers on what environmentally sustainable means, the European Commission has introduced the EU taxonomy – an EU-wide classification system for sustainable economic activities. The Taxonomy Regulation obliges large companies and financial institutions whose financial products promote, among other characteristics, environmental or social characteristics or have sustainable investment as their objective, to disclose the share of taxonomy-aligned activities. 

European banks’ exposure to small and medium-sized enterprises poses a major challenge when it comes to applying the EU taxonomy to their sustainable investments, as the publicly available data on SMEs, whether from the company itself or from an independent source, is very high-level and often insufficient to make an appropriate assessment applying the EU taxonomy.

This is the challenge that the CONFESS (Certification of clean energy SMEs) project aims to address. Through a certification system based on the EU taxonomy specifically for clean energy SMEs, access to sustainable financing should be facilitated for those SMEs. The aim is to make the certification system a widely used tool for financial market participants in the EU for assessing the sustainability of their energy investments, thereby promoting the growth of sustainable energy investments. In order to make the certificate affordable and feasible for SMEs but still containing all the information necessary for investors, a close exchange and pilot testing with different financial institutions, certification bodies and concerned SMEs from the pilot regions Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic is planned.

Main Objectives:

  • Creation of a standardized tool for data collection and verification.
  • Creation of a harmonized clean energy certification system that builds on the EU taxonomy and also incorporates additional advanced energy-related metrics to determine environmental sustainability


Project partners:

Coordinator:    Institut für Nachhaltigkeit im Bauwesen (INaB) – RWTH Aachen University


  • BfW- RWTH Aachen University
  • Climate and Company
  • International Sustainable Finance Center (ISFC)
  • Ceske Vysoke Uceni Technicke v Praze (Czech Technical University)
  • Circular srl

Administrative details:

Project duration: 01 November 2022 – 31 October 2025.
Call: LIFE-2021-CET
Total budget: 1,822,275.27€.
EU contribution: 1,731,164.50€


Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.