Sustainable finance

Sustainability claims and greenwashing: Insurance Europe and the CRO Forum share views on EIOPA’s draft opinion


Insurance Europe and the CRO Forum have responded to European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority’s (EIOPA) consultation on its draft opinion on sustainability claims and greenwashing in the insurance and pensions sector. In their response, Insurance Europe and the CRO Forum stress the importance of ensuring consistency with existing EU legislations. They also argue that given the different regulatory approaches found across the EU, supervision requirements must apply in a uniformed way in all Member States. They further note that there is a lack of clarity on the interplay between the EU’s Green Claims Directive and the Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition Directive that could lead to substantial implementation risks regarding the lack of coordination between these two texts and EIOPA’s Opinion.

In their consultation response, Insurance Europe and the CRO Forum also note:

  • the need for a coordinated approach between EIOPA and European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), especially regarding the naming of products, given insurance-based investment products (IBIPs) can provide both an insurance and an investment component;
  • that the Product Oversight and Governance (POG) and the suitability assessment, which are specific processes subject to the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD), should not follow the same supervision principles suggested by EIOPA, as they should not be confused with sustainability allegations in the context of a commercial relationship;
  • the EIOPA opinion should concentrate on abstract principles which can then be applied to the individual case by the respective national competent authorities;
  • that a misleading claim should only be considered in the context of a commercial relationship – it should be qualified as misleading only if it has been used as a selling point or as a means to gain a competitive advantage;
  • the limited availability of sustainability-related data is, in practice, one of the major obstacles to offering products with robust environmental objectives;
  • while insurers agree that the clarity and simplification of information is essential for clients, they are however subject to legal obligations regarding the use of a vocabulary specific to insurance in contractual and commercial documentation that may be unusual to many policyholders.