Expect no-let up in greenwashing action: ASIC

11 May 2023
| By Laura Dew |
expand image

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is unlikely to slow its pace on greenwashing enforcement, according to deputy chair Karen Chester.

Speaking at the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) conference, Chester was asked by a delegate whether ASIC was pushing too hard on the matter of greenwashing. 

“The question is suggesting we hit the pause button until all the policies are in place and that is just untenable.

“Firstly, greenwashing harm is happening here and now and we have a job to do. Secondly, our prioritization of sustainable finance and the investment task ahead. That’s required for decarbonisation and to respond to climate change and greenwashing is a corrosive agent for that.

“For us to just not act would be inconsistent with us making sustainable finance a priority. We will be out of step with other regulators if we stopped and paused. The first thing that happens when a securities regulator gets out of step globally is people that tend to do those sorts of misconduct come to that jurisdiction and we are encouraging to come here and practice greenwashing.”

Between 1 July 2022 and 31 March 2023, ASIC had secured 23 corrective disclosure outcomes, issued 11 infringement notices and commenced its first civil penalty proceeding. This included actions against Vanguard, Mercer Super and Future Super.

Problems identified across the 35 incidents included: 

  • Net zero statements and targets not having a reasonable basis or being factually incorrect,
  • Terms like ‘carbon neutral’, ‘clean’ or ‘green’, not underpinned by reasonable grounds,
  • The scope or application of sustainability-related investment screens being either overstated or inconsistently applied, and
  • The use of inaccurate labelling or vague terms in sustainability-related funds.

Going forward, Chester described this as the ‘season two’ for the regulator and hoped that clearer transparency would discourage greenwashing from taking place.

The three actions that ASIC was taking were transparency through disclosure, policy-installed ‘bright lines’ to support that disclosure and regulators doing their job and working together to do so.

“We’re going to do more action and the standards bar will be higher and easier for us. And that’s why there’ll be less action for us to some extent because it will be more transparent to see who is greenwashing under those disclosures.”

Read more about:


Submitted by Nat Mcintyre on Mon, 2023-05-15 10:24

Do you think they will do anything about the "compare thae pair" ads run by the ISA network? These ads were the worst instance of greenwashing of all time. How can you compare the ISA's 4 investment options, 3 of which are high growth allocation and 1 balanced, to other funds investment options focused on retirees with the majority of their investment options being balanced and conservative?

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Recommended for you



sub-bg sidebar subscription

Never miss the latest news and developments in wealth management industry


My view is that after 2026 there will be quite a bit less than 10,000 'advisers' (investment advisers) and less than 100...

1 week 1 day ago
Jason Warlond

Dugald makes a great point that not everyone's definition of green is the same and gives a good example. Funds have bee...

1 week 1 day ago
Jasmin Jakupovic

How did they get the AFSL in the first place? Given the green light by ASIC. This is terrible example of ASIC's incompet...

1 week 2 days ago

AustralianSuper and Australian Retirement Trust have posted the financial results for the 2022–23 financial year for their combined 5.3 million members....

9 months 2 weeks ago

A $34 billion fund has come out on top with a 13.3 per cent return in the last 12 months, beating out mega funds like Australian Retirement Trust and Aware Super. ...

9 months ago

The verdict in the class action case against AMP Financial Planning has been delivered in the Federal Court by Justice Moshinsky....

9 months 2 weeks ago