Future Super has been hit with a $13,000 fine from The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) as part of a crackdown on greenwashing.
The infringement notice is for allegedly overstating its positive environmental impact on social media. Future Super published a Facebook post claiming the fund had moved nearly $400 million out of fossil fuels.
“Naysayers don’t join together to move nearly $400 million out of fossil fuels,” the post said.
However, ASIC argued that the fund had no basis for suggesting that all those funds had previously been invested in fossil fuels.
Instead, $400 million represented the fund’s total AUM, and the post was suggesting that all of those funds had previously been invested in fossil fuels, which ASIC objected to.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court expressed concern that the Facebook post might 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.”
Future Super self-reported the post to ASIC, removed it, and paid the infringement fee.
“The poorly drafted post had intended to make the point that $400 million had been switched away from fossil fuel-exposed super funds as opposed to fossil fuel investments.” Future Super said in a statement.
“Facebook’s analytics indicate that the post was seen by 28 people prior to being taken down.”
The regulator has issued infringement notices for greenwashing against several companies and has also commenced civil proceedings against Mercer Super for alleged greenwashing. It has increased enforcement against funds for making exaggerated claims, as it risks misleading investors into thinking the impact of their allocation will be greater than it actually is.