On 25 January 2023, the new CEO of the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”), Sarah Cardell, set out one way in which the CMA will seek to ensure that the UK’s transition to a net zero economy will not be held up by competition law concerns. Significantly, Sarah Cardell again emphasised that environmental sustainability is a strategic priority for the CMA. This is an invitation for businesses to start pushing harder on the CMA’s open door, for which Mayer Brown’s ESG team is on hand to help.
Greenwashing: UK competition watchdog to investigate the FMCG sector
On 26 January 2023, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA“) announced that it intends to investigate the accuracy of environmental claims made by businesses in the fast-moving consumer goods (“FMCG”) sector. The CMA has stated that it will examine claims made both online and in-store about household products – such as food and drink, cleaning, homecare and self-care products – to determine whether they comply with UK consumer protection law.
The investigation of goods in the FMCG sector will expand the scope of the CMA’s ongoing anti-greenwashing work, which has the ultimate aim of ensuring products and services that claim to be ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’ are being marketed to consumers accurately.…
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South Korea’s FSS Introduces New ESG Rating Guidelines to Enhance Transparency
On January 15, 2023, South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (“FSS”) issued new guidelines (the “Guidelines”) (Korean language only) to enhance transparency on the methods and procedures used by credit rating agencies to perform ESG bond certification evaluations. In announcing the Guidelines, the FSS noted that, prior to their introduction, there were…
HKMA’s Report on Greenwashing in the Corporate Bond Markets – spotting the bad apples and ways to mitigate the damage
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”) released a research report last week showing evidence that about one-third of global corporate green bond issuers are reaping the benefits of issuing green bonds without cutting down their greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. This type of ‘greenwashing’ behaviour impedes progress on combating climate change and…
UK Sustainability Disclosure Framework – New FCA Greenwashing Rules under consultation
The UK’s financial regulator – the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA“) – on 25 October 2022, published its “Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (“SDR“) and investments labels” Consultation Paper (CP 22/20) (the “Consultation Paper“).
This follows the FCA’s July 2021 “Dear AFM Chair” letter regarding improving the quality and clarity of authorised…
World Federation of Advertisers issues guidance on making credible environmental claims
“Greenwashing” – that is, environmental claims that are not fully or properly substantiated, or that contain false information, omit critical information, are exaggerated or are presented in an unclear, ambiguous and/or inaccurate manner – continues to be a major focus of scrutiny across all sectors, and the advertising industry is no exception. The volume of statements and claims regarding the sustainability credentials of businesses’ goods and services, often made in the context of advertising and marketing, is increasing rapidly.
At the same time, the interests of regulators, consumers, and other stakeholders, in combatting misleading, “greenwashed” environmental claims has grown commensurately. According to analysis conducted by the Independent, over the past 12 months alone, the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (“ASA“) has found 16 advertising campaigns to have exaggerated the green credentials of, or made unsubstantiated environmental claims about, the advertised brands.
As a consequence of this growing interest, the World Federation of Advertisers (“WFA“) – a global organisation that represents the common interests of advertisers and marketers – has issued landmark guidance on how brands can ensure that any environmental claims featured in their marketing communications are credible for both consumers and regulators (the “Guidance“). The Guidance, produced with the support of the International Council for Advertising Self-Regulation, the European Advertising Standards Alliance and the UK’s ASA (amongst others), is the first guidance that has been issued at an international level with regard to making environmental claims, and represents a highly significant development in the context of growing efforts to combat greenwashing.…
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Tackling Greenwashing: ESMA publishes its Sustainable Finance Roadmap for 2022-2024
On 11 February, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA“) published its Sustainable Finance Roadmap for 2022-2024 (the “Roadmap“).
The Roadmap builds on ESMA’s 2020 Strategy for Sustainable Finance and will be of interest to those in the EU and beyond looking to understand the focus and ambition of the EU’s…
The UK’s CMA Publishes Guidance on Environmental Claims Used in Advertising
As interest in, and demand for, sustainable goods and services continue to increase rapidly, so too has the volume of statements, assertions and claims, often in the context of advertising, regarding the sustainability credentials of those goods and services.
In a further sign of the continued trend towards stricter regulation, and enforcement, in the context of so-called “greenwashing”, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently published its “Green Claims Code” (the “Code“), a guidance note for businesses on making environmental claims when advertising goods and services in the UK.…
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