Daily ESG Briefing: Tackling greenwashing and promoting labels and standards among French financial regulator’s key priorities for 2022 

The latest developments in sustainable finance

French financial regulator AMF announced yesterday that sustainable finance is one of its key priorities for 2022. It said it its “supervisory action is becoming more intensive, notably to prevent the risk of greenwashing”. Key sustainable finance priorities for 2022 include promoting the development of appropriate labels and standards; supporting issuers in implementing the EU Taxonomy and contribute to the development of the EU’s new sustainability reporting standards and ensuring the “effectiveness and credibility” of the financial market’s transition to a carbon-neutral economy. The regulator also said that “work should be undertaken at European level to introduce minimum sustainability criteria for financial products” defined as Article 8 – products promoting environmental or social characteristics – or Article 9 – those that have sustainable investment as their objective – of the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).   

Amundi has said it aims to double the proportion of ESG ETFs to reach 40% of its total ETF range, in a statement this week outlining its ambitions after completing its acquisition of ETF specialist Lyxor. The acquisition was first announced in April and has seen Amundi’s passive business swell across the board, including in the ESG space. Amundi said Lyxor was the biggest climate ETF provider in 2021 with a 25% market share of products classified as Article 9 under EU sustainable finance disclosure rules.   

ESG standards will be the key for the UK investment industry to maintain its high ranking position globally, Chris Cummings, chief executive of UK investment manager trade body the Investment Association told the FT Adviser. “This is an evolving area in which the industry is working closely with policymakers and stakeholders to try to ensure both that the right information is available from the companies we invest in, and that fund-level disclosure is then clear for advisers and retail customers. Greater clarity and consistency is a crucial part of ensuring a well-functioning fund market with the consumer at the core.” He added that diversity and inclusion “has moved on from being a matter of social-conscience to one about a better business case; as the focus on culture, diversity and inclusion are a growing focus for asset owners and now regulators, and we see this continuing over the coming years”.