Richard Reichman speaks to the Investors’ Chronicle on greenwashing

Richard Reichman speaks to the Investors’ Chronicle on greenwashing

BCL partner, Richard Reichman discusses with Investors’ Chronicle the likely approach UK regulators will adopt in an attempt to stop financial institutions suspected of making misleading green claims. This comes after a raid of a German Asset Management firm last month, that prompted a criminal probe following allegations of so-called ‘greenwashing’ by the organisation.

Here is a short extract from the article*. If you wish to read the full article, please visit Investors’ Chronicle website.

The raid of German asset manager DWS by 50 police officers last month ushered in a new type of corporate scandal. Financial institutions are typically raided because of suspected money laundering or tax fraud. In this case, however, it was allegations of so-called ‘greenwashing’ that prompted the criminal probe – and lawyers believe that UK companies could soon face similar action.

Greenwashing refers to groundless environmental claims made by businesses in a bid to improve their image. In the case of DWS, the funds arm of Deutsche Bank (DE:DBK), it was targeted after claiming a significant proportion of its funds under management were chosen using strict sustainability criteria. This turned out to be stretching the definition of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.

….“I think we’ll almost certainly see similar action to the DWS raid in the UK, of a financial institution suspected of making misleading green claims,” said Richard Reichman, a partner at BCL Solicitors specialising in corporate crime. “But I think the most likely scenario that we’ll see is direct civil fines imposed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), rather than an influx of prosecutions.”

*This article was first published by Investors’ Chronicle on 14 June 2022. If you wish to read the full article, please visit Investors’ Chronicle website.

Richard Reichman is a partner specialising in corporate crime, financial crime and regulatory investigations. He is recommended by The Legal 500 for his “extensive experience” and being “extremely thorough and appreciat[ing] the big picture issues”. He has experience in a broad range of regulatory offences, such as health and safety (generally following major or fatal incidents), environmental, food safety, fire safety and trading, as well as financial offences such as fraud, bribery, insider dealing and money laundering. Richard is involved in cases involving cybercrime (for example, computer-specific offences such as hacking) or a technological dimension. He has acted for victims of cybersecurity breaches and advises regarding data protection issues falling within the scope of the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Related articles