FCA to challenge firms over potential ‘greenwashing’

21 November 2019 by Grace Coleman
blog author

​The financial conduct authority (FCA) has set out proposals to improve transparency over climate change disclosures on green financial services and products.

The information, outlined in its new feedback statement, unveils various priorities including issuers’ climate change disclosures, integration of climate change risk by regulated firms and consumer access to green services.

It is hoped the feedback will pave the way for the authority’s future work on green finance and climate change. The statement summarises the responses the FCA received from stakeholders to a discussion paper it published a year ago, which highlighted actions and next steps towards climate change and green finance.

The statement applies to charities, policy-makers, industry experts, individual consumers, trade bodies, investors, regulated firms and think tanks to name but a few.

Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA said: “We have an important role to play in creating an environment where firms can manage the risks from moving to a greener economy and capture the opportunities to benefit consumers.

“This feedback statement is the next step in our drive to provide clarity for firms and consumers about how our work will help support the response to the climate challenge and the development of the green finance market.”

It sets out the key actions to be carried out in each of the areas, which include:

  • consulting on new rules to improve climate-related disclosures by issuers and clarifying existing obligations

  • finalising rule changes requiring Independent Governance Committees (IGCs) to oversee and report on firms’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) and stewardship policies

  • publishing a feedback statement in response to a joint discussion paper with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) on Stewardship

  • challenging firms where potential greenwashing is noted, clarifying the FCA’s expectations and taking appropriate action to prevent consumers from being misled

  • contributing to several important collaborative initiatives, including the Climate Financial Risk Forum (CFRF), the Fair and Effective Markets Review (FEMR) working group, the Government-led cross-regulator taskforce on disclosures and the European Commission’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan (SFAP)