Wednesday 9 June 2021 12:01 am

Treasury sets up new expert panel to tackle 'greenwashing'

The Treasury has today set up a new group of expert advisers in order to clamp down on “greenwashing” amid the economic transition to a net zero economy.

With businesses under more pressure than ever by shareholders and activists to ensure that their operations and investments do not damage the environment, ministers have been urged to clamp down on false claims.

In order to do so, the new panel, called the Green Technical Advisory Group (GTAG), will oversee the delivery of the government’s “Green Taxonomy”, a framework for judging how environmentally friendly investments are.

GTAG will be chaired by the Green Finance Institute and made up of financial and business stakeholders, taxonomy and data experts, the Treasury said.

It will include representatives from the financial industry, business bodies such as the CBI, the government’s environmental advisers the Committee on Climate Change, academics and NGOs.

It comes months after MPs urged the government to ban the “greenwashing” by making environmental labelling compulsory for consumer financial products and task regulators to stop misleading claims.

Recent research from data agency iResearch Services showed that more than half of financial services professionals believe the practice is rife within the financial industry.

John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “We want investors and businesses to play their part in greening our economy and transitioning to net zero, so it’s crucial we have a clear common definition of what green means.

“A UK green taxonomy will provide better data on the environmental impact of firms, supporting investors, businesses and consumers to make green financial decisions and accelerating the transition to net zero.”

Ingrid Holmes, executive director of Green Finance Institute and chair of the new body, said: “The GTAG will play a key role, advising Government on implementing a robust, science-based Taxonomy that is adapted to the specific needs of the UK context, and works for all stakeholders.

“We’re delighted to chair the GTAG, and to welcome all 18 members onboard, all of whom have a demonstrable interest and/or track record of being engaged on the issue of developing and using taxonomies, and the practicality of applying a taxonomy in a UK-specific context.”