How to use the Independent
Science Based Taxonomy



The Taxonomy outlines six environmental objectives:

  • Climate change mitigation.
  • Climate change adaptation.
  • The sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources.
  • The transition to a circular economy.
  • Pollution prevention and control.
  • Protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems.

According to the EU Taxonomy Regulation an economic activity must contribute to one environmental objective but Do No Significant Harm to others. To contribute to one environmental objectives, according to the Disclosure Delegated Act of the Taxonomy a company must determine how much of the Revenues, CapEx and OpEx is aligned with the technical screening criteria of the EU Taxonomy. Financial companies report only on their counterparts Revenues and Capex alignment KPIs. 


What are the do no significant harm criteria

The “Do No Significant Harm” (DNSH) criteria mean that an activity substantially contributing to one environmental objective must not significantly harm any other five environmental objectives defined in the Taxonomy.

The DNSH criteria are described in general Appendixes:

Appendix A  – Climate Change Adaptation

Appendix B – Water and Marine Resources

Appendix C – Pollution Prevention – In June 2023 the EU Commission amended Appendix C. Please check ISBT recommendations for Appendix C

Appendix D – Protection of Biodiversity

Appendix E – Technical Specifications for Water Appliances

Sometimes additional DNSH criteria (other then generic Appendices) are prescribed for economic activities. DNSH evaluation only gets a YES or a NO. If the economic activity gets a NO for DNSH criteria the entire Revenues, CapEx and OpEx are excluded from the Taxonomy alignment KPI. 


Why the Independent science based taxonomy

The Independent Science Based Taxonomy (ISBT) categorizes activities based on scientific evidence, ensuring accessibility and reliability.

Taxonomies for sustainable economic activities are meant to use science based classifications to cut through greenwashing. This helps investors make informed decisions and policymakers design effective regulations. However, current taxonomies can be influenced by politics and business lobbies, including activities and criteria that are scientifically not sustainable.

With over 60 jurisdictions developing taxonomies, there is a global move towards clear standards for sustainable activities. 

The ISBT overcomes the biases by being independent, lobby-free and entirely science-based, aiming to establish criteria for a genuinely sustainable future.




the ISBT database

Our Science Based Taxonomy database is designed to replicate the EU Taxonomy Compass which integrates all the currently available activities and criteria outlined in the three delegated acts. 

It takes from the EU Taxonomy compass and adds a specific column with the ISBT Recommendations. 

The expert contact person and date of the review are also available in this database. 

On top of the database are tabs where you can choose an environmental objective. Once you open the tab you desire navigate to the right to find ISBT Recommendations and DNSH criteria. 

Note: in the upper left corner of the database you can change the view from grid to kanban, kanban resembling more the EU Taxonomy Compass



Scoring System Explanation

Science Based:
Robust criteria

Partially Science Based: Criteria needs slight improvement

Not Science Based:
Unscientific criteria to avoid

Additional Notes:
Not Reviewed by ISBT:
Criteria not yet assessed by ISBT experts

New Activity Proposed by ISBT:
New criteria suggested by ISBT experts



For further reference:

Technical recommendations of the EU expert group the “Platform on Sustainable Finance” (PSF) can be found here:

PSF Technical Screening Criteria March 2022


PSF Technical Screening Criteria October 2022. 

In proposing new activities ISBT heavily relies on already existing criteria proposed by PSF in the two documents above. 

Additional work of the PSF can be found here.