Statement: U.S. PIRG applauds SEC’s newly proposed ESG regulations

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Changes to existing rules would help clamp down on greenwashing of investment funds

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) unveiled two proposals Wednesday designed to improve the accuracy and transparency of the composition and marketing of mutual funds that sellers claim are responsible when it comes to environmental, social and governance issues. 

The first proposal would require that 80 percent of a fund’s investments adhere to claims made in its name. 

The second proposal would require funds and investment advisers to disclose how they are defining and achieving their claims. Funds focused on environmental factors would also be required to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions of the investments in their portfolios. 

A 60-day public comment period will begin after the proposals are published in the Federal Register.

In response Mike Litt, U.S. PIRG’s Consumer Campaigns director, made the following statement:

“We thank the SEC for making sure investors can get crucial, accurate information about the securities they own or are thinking of buying. Americans seeking investments in line with their values shouldn’t have to hunt high and low for relevant information. 

“Even if you do your homework, it can be hard to find what you need to make informed choices. Fund companies and financial advisers shouldn’t be able to make claims without backing them up with proof. 

From my own experience, it can feel like you’re accepting ESG claims on blind faith.

“We look forward to participating in the comment period.”