Wheb and Impax Lead the Way as ‘Impact Washing’ Confuses Investors
By Jessica Tasman-Jones
Wheb Asset Management and Impax Asset Management have been named as investors leading the charge on fund transparency as “impact washing” leaves intermediaries confused about the credentials of products claiming to be impact or ESG funds.
As product launches in the space gather pace, the Investment Association is currently consulting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure, while the World Bank recently launched operating principles for impact investors and Eurosif has long offered a transparency code for investors reaching certain disclosure standards.
EQ Investors impact specialist Louisiana Salge reckons sustainable funds tend to be more transparent than their mainstream counterparts pointing to information readily available about exposure to controversial sectors, including fossil fuels, as well as operational footprints.
But Willis Owen head of personal investing Adrian Lowcock says not all fund houses launching ESG or impact products are keeping pace. “There have already been accusations of impact-washing as there have been a plethora of launches in this space in recent years as fund groups rush to cash in on the opportunity.”
Photo courtesy of Sudipto Sarkar.