Vanguard Fined for ‘Greenwashing’ in Australia

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued three greenwashing-related infringement notices to investment manager Vanguard Investments Australia. In a statement, ASIC said product disclosure statements for Vanguard International Shares Select Exclusions Index Funds may have been misleading by overstating an exclusion that claimed to prevent investment in companies involved in significant tobacco sales. The exclusion was meant to exclude “securities involved in the production, manufacturing, or significant sales of tobacco”, but ASIC said Vanguard’s screen only excluded manufacturers and not companies involved in the sale of tobacco products. “Investors can feel strongly about not investing in tobacco production, manufacturing and sales, and where tobacco-exclusion investments are promoted, the entity making those claims must be able to substantiate the full exclusion of those investments,” said ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court. Vanguard paid A$39,960 (US$27,060) in compliance with the infringement notices, ASIC said, noting that such payments are not admissions of guilt or liability.

 

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