The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is cracking down on ESG funds (Environmental, Social, and Governance) that exaggerate their environmental, social, and governance strategy to attract investors.
SEC proposed requiring ESG funds to provide proof of their claims. The agency wants funds to disclose how they select companies and vote at annual meetings. ESG funds would also have to report greenhouse gas emissions related to the portfolio
“The proposed changes would apply to registered investment companies, business development companies (together with registered investment companies, “funds”), registered investment advisers, and certain unregistered advisers (together with registered investment advisers, “advisers”),” said SEC’s ESG disclosures fact sheet.
“The rules and form amendments would enhance disclosure by:
Requiring additional specific disclosure requirements regarding ESG strategies in fund prospectuses, annual reports, and adviser brochures;
- Implementing a layered, tabular disclosure approach for ESG funds to allow investors to compare ESG funds at a glance; and
- Generally requiring certain environmentally focused funds to disclose the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with their portfolio investments.”
SEC’s crackdown on ESG funds comes right after the S&P 500 ESG index removed Tesla from its list. According to the index, Tesla became ineligible for the list due to its low S&P DJI ESG Score. Tesla CEO dubbed the S&P 500 ESG an “outrageous scam.”
SEC wants to prevent ESG funds from making misleading claims or greenwashing with its recent proposal. Greenwashing is a marketing tactic companies use to promote deceptive environmentally-friendly policies, products, etc.
The proposal came about as ESG funds continue to rise and grow into a $3 trillion market. SEC’s proposed rule and form amendments are designed to create consistent standards for ESG disclosures so investors can make informed decisions before putting money into these types of funds.