AFM advocates for revamp of EU’s sustainable investment labels


The Dutch AFM has taken a bold step with the release of a thought-provoking position paper, suggesting significant reforms to the European Union’s SFDR.

According to ESG Today, the AFM’s proposals are set to redefine the sustainability landscape in financial markets. The AFM has identified a critical flaw in the existing SFDR framework; the Article 8 and 9 classification categories, initially crafted for transparency, have inadvertently morphed into a labelling system.

To remedy this, the AFM is advocating for the elimination of these categories and the introduction of a new, more intuitive sustainable investment labeling regime.

The implications of this proposal are profound, extending to all financial products, regardless of their sustainability features. The AFM insists on a baseline of sustainability-related disclosures across the board, empowering investors to discern the sustainability impact of their investments with greater clarity. This move is set to catalyse capital flows towards truly sustainable investments.

The AFM’s paper comes in tandem with the European Commission’s review of the SFDR, which is an integral part of the EU’s Action Plan for financing sustainable growth. The proposed labels, namely “Transition products”, “Sustainable products”, and “Sustainable impact products”, are designed to meet investors’ needs across the spectrum of sustainability. The AFM has highlighted the scarcity of products that could qualify as “Sustainable impact products” but acknowledges their potential appeal to investors prioritising sustainability impact over returns.

Furthermore, the AFM’s initiative extends to enforcing mandatory disclosure of negative sustainability impact indicators such as greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, and social factors including human and labor rights. The new regime stands not just as a regulatory framework but also as a beacon for sustainable investment practices across Europe.

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