Introduction to Sustainable Finance Taxonomies


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Green economy

Self-paced courses

3.5 - 4 hours

With certification

English, Spanish, French

This interactive and practical course, “Introduction to Sustainable Finance Taxonomies”, provides you with an overview of sustainable finance taxonomies, their relevance, purpose and different use cases. It explains the core elements of taxonomies and introduces principles and good practices for their development. You will learn how theory is applied in practice through in-depth case studies and real-world examples from China, Colombia, the EU, and South Africa. 

Three logos of the partner agencies who developed the course.


This course is aimed primarily at policymakers, including key ministerial staff, regulators, central bankers, capital market authorities and their advisors, who are interested in learning how to set up and develop sustainable finance taxonomies. By outlining the core elements and use cases of taxonomies, the course also provides important information for the real economy, including financial and non-financial companies that may need to report on the taxonomy alignment of their business activities in the future.

We hope that this course creates a clear understanding of sustainable finance taxonomies and aids in their development worldwide. Please note that this area is dynamic and continuously evolving, and this content is current as of December 2022. We recommend users to access this e-learning with a stable internet connection.

What you will learn

This e-learning course provides technical knowledge that will help you understand what sustainable finance taxonomies are, how they can mobilise capital for sustainability-aligned economic activities, and good development practices that can help ensure they are locally applicable and globally interoperable.

This course achieves the following objectives:

  • Explains sustainable finance taxonomies and their purpose,
  • Shows the real-life application of taxonomies in the EU and China,
  • Illustrates the key principles of taxonomy development and good practices, and
  • Demonstrates how international good practices, combined with national priorities, have been used in the development of taxonomies in South Africa and Colombia.

The course is divided into four modules:

  • Module 1: An overview of sustainable finance taxonomies
  • Module 2: Taxonomies in practice: the EU and China
  • Module 3: Principles of taxonomy development
  • Module 4: Taxonomy development principles in practice: South Africa and Colombia

 Each module contains several lessons and concludes with a quiz.

Course at a glance

Length: Four modules

Effort: 3.5 - 4 hours

Price: Free

Subject: Sustainable finance taxonomies

Level: Introductory

Languages: English, Spanish and French (Spanish and French versions will be launched later in June 2023)

Platform: UN CC:Learn

Assessment: Quizzes

Certification: Yes

Completion requirements

In order to successfully complete this course, learners must:

  • Complete all four web-based training modules,
  • Pass the quiz at the end of every module with a minimum of 70%, and
  • Fill in the evaluation questionnaire.

Partners and contributors

Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH developed this e-learning course on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in cooperation with the IFC-facilitated Sustainable Banking and Finance Network (SBFN) to create a knowledge product at the intersection of international cooperation and sustainable development.

About BMZ

Within the federal government, the BMZ is responsible for German development policy. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations and the Paris Climate Agreement form the framework for its actions. BMZ’s focus is on fighting poverty and hunger, and a commitment to healthy people in a healthy environment.

The BMZ sees itself as a transformative ministry working to support the worldwide transformation to a sustainable, climate-friendly and nature-friendly way of doing business whilst at the same time strengthening peace, freedom and human rights. To this end, BMZ coordinates bilateral cooperation with partner countries worldwide and promotes strong multilateralism based on the SDGs. In respectful cooperation with one another, BMZ seeks to change structures in those partner countries and globally in ways that make a better life possible for everyone.

About GIZ

GIZ is a German public-benefit federal enterprise that works jointly with governments, international organizations, businesses, civil society actors and research institutions worldwide to foster international cooperation for sustainable development. On behalf of the BMZ and other commissioning parties, GIZ supports sustainable development in emerging markets and developing countries.

In the field of sustainable finance, GIZ aims to accelerate the transformation towards sustainable financial systems in partner countries. GIZ’s approach is to help create enabling framework conditions through policy and reform processes, support the implementation of ambitious sustainable finance practices in the financial sector, and to raise awareness and capacities through training, research and peer learning. For further information, please see: To find out more about GIZ’s work and service offering in the area of sustainable finance feel free to reach out to

About SBFN

Established in 2012, the Sustainable Banking and Finance Network (SBFN) is a voluntary community of financial sector regulators, central banks, ministries of finance, ministries of environment, and industry associations from emerging markets committed to advancing sustainable finance for national development priorities, financial market deepening, and stability. Members’ approaches draw on international good practices, reflecting national contexts and priorities. As of May 2023, SBFN represents 63 countries, 79 institutions, and at least USD 43 trillion (86 percent of the total banking assets in emerging markets). IFC, part of the World Bank Group, hosts the Secretariat of SBFN and helps mobilize information, resources, capacity building, and practical support for members to design and implement national initiatives that advance sustainable finance at national, regional, and global levels. For more information, visit

Legal disclaimer

The contents contained herein are current as of December 2022. The contents are based on in-depth desk research by GIZ, which has been complemented by valuable technical inputs from the Sustainable Banking and Finance Network (SBFN). Module 4 and the contained case studies of Colombia and South Africa benefited from inputs from the National Treasury of South Africa and the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia.

The content of this training course and materials contained therein are intended for educational purposes only. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this e-learning do not necessarily reflect the views of the Executive Directors of GIZ, The World Bank Group, IFC, or the governments they represent, the National Treasury of South Africa and the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia. The contents of this work are intended for general informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal, securities, or investment advice, an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, or a solicitation of any type. IFC or its affiliates may have an investment in, provide other advice or services to, or otherwise have a financial interest in, certain of the companies and parties named herein.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of GIZ, SBFN and IFC, the National Treasury of South Africa and the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia concerning the legal or development status of any country.

UN CC:Learn Affiliation

The course is made available on UN CC:e-Learn through the new UN CC:Learn affiliation programme, which highlights high-quality e-learning products on climate change developed by recognised institutions outside the framework of the UN CC:Learn programme / without support from the UN CC:Learn Secretariat, in accordance with specific affiliation criteria. The objective of the UN CC:Learn affiliation programme is to enhance global climate literacy through dissemination of high-level learning products that complement UN CC:Learn resources. 

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