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ESG 4.3 Naming and marketing

Anti-greenwashing

ESG 4.3.1R
  1. (1)

    1This rule applies to a firm (whether it is undertaking sustainability in-scope business or not) which:

    1. (a)

      communicates with a client in the United Kingdom in relation to a product or service; or

    2. (b)

      communicates a financial promotion to, or approves a financial promotion for communication to, a person in the United Kingdom.

  2. (2)

    A firm must ensure that any reference to the sustainability characteristics of a product or service is:

    1. (a)

      consistent with the sustainability characteristics of the product or service; and

    2. (b)

      fair, clear and not misleading.

Use of sustainability-related terms in relation to a sustainability product

ESG 4.3.2R
  1. (1)

    1A manager that is undertaking sustainability in-scope business for retail clients in relation to a sustainability product must comply with the requirements in ESG 4.3.4R to ESG 4.3.8R where the manager uses the terms in ESG 4.3.2R(2) in either the sustainability product’s name or in a financial promotion in relation to the sustainability characteristics of that product.

  2. (2)

    For the purposes of ESG 4.3.2R(1), the relevant terms are:

    1. (a)

      ‘ESG’ (or ‘environmental, social and governance’);

    2. (b)

      ‘environment’, ‘environmental’ or ‘environmentally’;

    3. (c)

      ‘social’ or ‘socially’;

    4. (d)

      ‘climate’;

    5. (e)

      ‘sustainable’ or ‘sustainability’;

    6. (f)

      ‘green’;

    7. (g)

      ‘transition’;

    8. (h)

      ‘net zero’;

    9. (i)

      ‘impact’;

    10. (j)

      ‘responsible’;

    11. (k)

      ‘sustainable development goals’ or ‘SDG(s)’;

    12. (l)

      ‘Paris-aligned’; and

    13. (m)

      any other term which implies that a sustainability product has sustainability characteristics.

  3. (3)

    A manager may use the terms in ESG 4.3.2R(2):

    1. (a)

      to make short factual statements which are not financial promotions; or

    2. (b)

      to make statements in a context not intended to refer to, or describe, the sustainability characteristics of a sustainability product.

ESG 4.3.3G

1Examples of circumstances which may fall within ESG 4.3.2R(3) include references to ‘financial impact’ or ‘economic climate’, or a statement about who is ‘responsible’ for providing services in relation to a sustainability product.

Use of sustainability-related terms in the name of a sustainability product

ESG 4.3.4R
  1. (1)

    1A manager that uses a sustainability label in relation to a sustainability product (other than a feeder fund) may use the terms set out in ESG 4.3.2R(2) in the product’s name provided that the manager complies with ESG 4.3.4R(2).

  2. (2)

    Where a manager is using a ‘sustainability focus’, ‘sustainability improvers’ or ‘sustainability mixed goals’ sustainability label, the manager must not use the word ‘impact’ in the product’s name.

ESG 4.3.5R

1A manager that is undertaking sustainability in-scope business and does not use a sustainability label in relation to a sustainability product (other than a feeder fund) may use the terms set out in ESG 4.3.2R(2) in the product’s name provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. (1)

    The sustainability product must:

    1. (a)

      have sustainability characteristics and a name which accurately reflects those characteristics; and

    2. (b)

      not, in its name, use the terms ‘sustainable’, ‘sustainability’ or ‘impact’ or any other variation of those terms to refer to the sustainability characteristics of the product.

  2. (2)

    The manager must produce:

    1. (a)

      a consumer-facing disclosure;

    2. (b)

      a pre-contractual disclosure (or Part A of a public product-level sustainability report in circumstances where the product does not have pre-contractual materials that relate to it); and

    3. (c)

      Part B of a public product-level sustainability report.

  3. (3)

    The manager must publish the following information on the relevant digital medium for the business of the manager in a prominent place on the specific webpage or page on a mobile application or other digital medium at which the sustainability product is offered:

    1. (a)

      an explanation as to the purpose of a sustainability label, using either the standard text – ‘Sustainable investment labels help investors find products that have a specific sustainability goal’ – or alternative text which reflects the substance of the standard text;

    2. (b)

      a statement as to the fact that the product does not use a sustainability label, using the text: ‘This product does not have a UK sustainable investment label’; and

    3. (c)

      a brief explanation as to why the product does not use a sustainability label.

ESG 4.3.6G

1In relation to ESG 4.3.5R:

  1. (1)

    In relation to ESG 4.3.5R(1)(a), the sustainability characteristics of a sustainability product should be material to that product – for example, at least 70% of its assets should have sustainability characteristics.

  2. (2)

    In relation to ESG 4.3.5R(3)(a), a manager may choose to provide further information regarding the sustainability label by including a hyperlink to the relevant webpage of the FCA’s website on the relevant digital medium for the business of the manager. The hyperlink should be in a prominent place on the specific webpage or page on a mobile application or other digital medium at which the sustainability product is offered.

ESG 4.3.7R

1A manager that is undertaking sustainability in-scope business in relation to a sustainability product that is a feeder fund must, where it intends to use the terms in ESG 4.3.2R(2) in the product’s name, ensure that:

  1. (1)

    the feeder fund uses only terms that are consistent with those used by the relevant master fund which is a sustainability product;

  2. (2)

    the manager provides clients with easy access (for example, by providing hyperlinks) to the information set out under ESG 4.3.5R(2), produced by the relevant master fund; and

  3. (3)

    the manager complies with the requirements of ESG 4.3.5R(3).

Use of sustainability-related terms in financial promotions relating to a sustainability product

ESG 4.3.8R
  1. (1)

    1This rule applies to a manager which communicates a financial promotion to a retail client in the United Kingdom.

  2. (2)

    A manager must ensure that any financial promotion relating to a sustainability product is consistent with (if any) the sustainability label, consumer-facing disclosure, pre-contractual disclosure and Part B of a public product-level sustainability report relating to that product.

  3. (3)

    Where a manager is not using a sustainability label in relation to a sustainability product but communicates the terms in ESG 4.3.2R(2) in a financial promotion relating to that product, it must:

    1. (a)

      in relation to a sustainability product which is not a feeder fund, comply with the requirements in ESG 4.3.5R(2) and ESG 4.3.5R(3); and

    2. (b)

      in relation to a sustainability product which is a feeder fund, comply with the requirements of ESG 4.3.7R(1) to ESG 4.3.7R(3).

ESG 4.3.9G

1The requirements in ESG 4.3.8R are without prejudice to the need to ensure that the relevant financial promotion is fair, clear and not misleading.

ESG 4.3.10G

1Where a manager is not using a relevant digital medium to communicate the terms in ESG 4.3.2R(2) in a financial promotion, the manager should take reasonable steps to ensure the content required in ESG 4.3.5R(2) and ESG 4.3.5R(3) is communicated to retail clients as appropriate.