ASIC has issued an infringement notice to superannuation fund promoter, Future Super Investment Services Pty Ltd (Future Super), in further action against alleged greenwashing.
Future Super is the promotor of the Future Super Fund. ASIC was concerned that a Facebook post by Future Super may have been false or misleading by overstating the positive environmental impact of the Fund. The post included the statement ‘Naysayers don’t join together and move nearly $400million out of fossil fuels.’
At the time of the Facebook post, Future Super had approximately $400 million in total funds under management and had no basis to represent that the entirety of those funds had been invested in fossil fuels prior to being invested in the Fund.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said ‘The post on the Future Super Fund Facebook page overstated the positive environmental impact of the Fund and we were concerned it may be misleading to investors and potential investors.
‘This action should send a message to the financial services industry that ASIC is continuing to focus on greenwashing broadly, in statements to the market, disclosure documents, marketing material and on social media. Industry using social media to promote green claims are not immune from ASIC action.
‘We expect the industry to be able to stand by their sustainability statements and back these up with evidence,’ concluded Ms Court.
ASIC has now issued over $150,000 in infringement notices regarding greenwashing since October 2022 as well as commenced civil proceedings in the Federal Court against Mercer Super for alleged greenwashing (23-043MR).
The Facebook post was published on 29 May 2019 and remained on the Fund’s Facebook page until October 2022.
Future Super paid the $13,320 infringement notice on 27 April 2023. Payment of an infringement notice is not an admission of guilt or liability.
The specific reasons for ASIC’s concerns are set out in the infringement notice which have been published on the Credit and ASIC Act infringements notices register.
ASIC has issued infringement notices in response to concerns about alleged greenwashing against Tlou Energy Limited (22-294MR), Vanguard Investments Australia (22-336MR), Diversa Trustees Limited (22-379MR), Black Mountain Energy (23-001MR).
ASIC’s Information Sheet 271 (INFO 271) provides information for responsible entities of managed funds and super fund trustees about how to avoid greenwashing when offering or promoting sustainability-related or ethical products and investments.