Published on 25/01/2023
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  • Aston Law School’s Dr Daniel Cash joined Paul Watchman, Paul Clements-Hunt and Ben McQuhae on the report
  • It puts forward five key recommendations that the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) may consider
  • Dr Cash says that greenwashing is “a real and pervasive threat to the credibility of modern business practice”.

A group of environmental, social and governance (ESG) sector experts, including a credit rating industry researcher from Aston Law school, have issued a report aimed at tackling EU companies who ‘greenwash’.

The team consists of ESG lawyer Paul Watchman, who led the landmark 2005 UN initiative which devised a legal framework for ESG investing, former UNEP FI head Paul Clements-Hunt, who oversaw the creation of the PRI and is credited with coining the ESG acronym.

The group also includes Aston Law School’s Dr Daniel Cash and Ben McQuhae, founder of the boutique Hong Kong law firm which Watchman joined last year. McQuhae’s company, Clements-Hunt’s advisory firm The Blended Capital Group, and Dr Cash’s The Credit Ratings Research Initiative, sponsored the filing.

The report puts forward five key recommendations that the ESAs may consider, along with the wider EU apparatus. These are for the monitoring framework that investigates and identifies potential greenwashing practices to be strengthened via increased funding, for the soon-to-be developed ESG Rating regulations to consider greenwashing,  the adoption of a more punitive regulatory regime for greenwashing offences, more investment informational campaigns from regulators, and finally the commissioning of a feasibility study regarding the potential of stand-alone greenwashing legislation.

Traditionally, ‘greenwashing’ has been defined as ‘the intersection of two firm behaviours: poor environmental performance and positive communication about environmental performance’.

The EU’s consultation, which launched in November 2022, overseen by the bloc’s financial regulatory trio, the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), will inform future policymaking on the topic.

Dr Daniel Cash, a senior lecturer in law at Aston Law School and founder of the Credit Rating Research Initiative, said:

“It was such a privilege to work with the dream team of Paul Watchman, Paul Clements-Hunt and Ben McQuhae to put together the report.

“Greenwashing is a real and pervasive threat to the credibility of modern business practice. The consequence of not instilling order into the ever-developing relationship between business and sustainability could be dire.

“We have therefore called on the European Supervisory Agencies to act, pre-emptively, to instil order and develop progressive practice that can solidify the EU's position as a global leader in this space.”

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University is ranked 22nd in the UK in the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7446 910063 or email:

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