Asset managers striving to meet the ever-increasing demand for sustainable business practices and responsible investment options face multiple challenges, including a lack of standardized terminology and metrics; the risk of so-called “greenwashing”; and a multiplicity of regulatory approaches. As part of its continuing work in this area, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) recently released a Consultation Report on ESG/Sustainability Disclosure and Practices, which focuses on how regulators can work to improve asset managers’ sustainability-related practices and their associated policies, procedures and disclosures, both at the firm level and the product level. This article, the first in a two-part series, analyzes the risk of greenwashing and the various regulatory approaches to sustainability-related practices and disclosures. The second article
will review investor education, impediments to the development of sustainable products and IOSCO’s recommendations and requests for input. See “Manager and Investor Interest in ESG Is Growing, According to Recent Global Hedge Fund Study (Part Two of Two)
” (May 20, 2021).