With the rapid rise of environmental consciousness in Australia and abroad, consumer-facing businesses are increasingly making claims about the environmental qualities of their products, services and business operations. While the ACCC has had guidance on the practice of “greenwashing” for some time, policing of environmental and sustainability claims has been a core area of focus for the ACCC in the last 12 months.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has been strict in monitoring compliance with the new product design and distribution obligations (DDO), which were introduced on 5 October 2021. Under these DDO obligations, issuers are required to design financial products to meet consumer needs and distribute their products in a clearly-defined, targeted manner. To date, seventeen DDO interim stop orders have been issued by ASIC. Nine interim stop orders have been lifted after ASIC’s concerns were addressed by the entities or where the products were withdrawn, and six remain in place.