ASIC has taken action for greenwashing against listed energy company Black Mountain Energy Limited (BME).
BME has paid $39,960 to comply with three infringement notices issued by ASIC in relation to concerns about alleged false or misleading sustainability-related statements made to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) between 23 December 2021 and 8 September 2022.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said, ‘ASIC issued eight infringement notices for alleged greenwashing in 2022 and has started the year with further action against a listed company. ASIC will continue to closely monitor sustainability claims and take action where we consider representations cannot be substantiated or are factually incorrect.’
The infringement notices were issued in relation to statements contained in three ASX announcements made by BME which claimed that:
BME was creating a natural gas development project with ‘net-zero carbon emissions’, and
the greenhouse gas emissions associated with Project Valhalla would be net zero.
ASIC was concerned that BME either did not have a reasonable basis to make the representations, or that the representations were factually incorrect.
BME paid the infringement notices on 3 January 2023. Payment of an infringement notice is not an admission of guilt or liability.
The specific reasons for ASIC’s concerns are set out in the three infringement notices which have been published on the Credit and ASIC Act infringements notices register.
ASIC has issued infringement notices in response to concerns about alleged greenwashing against Tlou Energy Limited (22-294MR), Vanguard Investments Australia (22-336MR) and Diversa Trustees Limited (22-379MR).
ASIC’s Information Sheet 271 (INFO 271) provides information for responsible entities of managed funds and super fund trustees about how to avoid greenwashing when offering or promoting sustainability-related or ethical products and investments.