FCA Confirms New Sustainability Disclosure and Labelling Regime

The FCA has published new Rules and Guidance concerning sustainability disclosures in a Policy Statement PS23/16 which, although aimed at the investment sector, includes a specific Rule that applies to all firms.

The measures introduced aim to improve the trust and transparency of sustainable investment products and minimise practices of “greenwashing”. The Policy Statement is accompanied by a qualitative research publication and, of more relevance to all firms, a 14-page Guidance document on the anti-greenwashing Rule.

To tackle this issue, the FCA will introduce:

  • an anti-greenwashing rule for all authorised firms to make sure any reference to sustainability characteristics - “environmental or social characteristics” under the new FCA Glossary definition - of a product or service (including communicating or approving financial promotions)  are presented as fair, clear and not misleading
  • product labels to help investors understand what their money is being used for, based on clear sustainability goals and criteria
  • naming and marketing requirements so products cannot be described as having a positive impact on sustainability when in reality they do not

In addition, the FCA will also be setting up an independent working group for the financial advice industry to work together to build on existing capabilities in sustainable finance, including how the SDR and labels regime supports their role.

The anti-greenwashing rule will come into effect from 31 May 2024. Firms can use the product investment labels from 31 July 2024. The naming and marketing rules for asset managers come into effect from 2 December 2024.

About the author

Jessica joined RWA in 2018, having graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Film Studies. Her role as a content designer involves developing new and engaging e-learning modules as well as assisting in the creation of articles for Insight. 

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