France’s financial market regulator, The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) announced the publication of its top priorities for 2022, outlining the key areas for action over the coming year. Among the top focus areas identified by the regulator were the development of sustainability reporting standards and protecting investors against greenwashing risks.

Other key action areas under the AMF’s priority list include contributing to EU-led initiatives as France takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first half of the year, pushing for a European framework that protects retail investors, while facilitating their access to capital markets, and continuing the modernization of its regulatory action.

Over the past year, the AMF has undertaken several initiatives to support and enhance the sustainable finance market, and further develop sustainability reporting. The regulator contributed to the development of technical standards under the European regulatory framework, such as the Delegated Regulation on Article 8 of the Taxonomy Regulation, and to the European Commission’s project for the corporate sustainability reporting framework with the CSRD directive. The regulator also focused on ESG investing and finance education initiatives, significantly increasing d the weight given to ESG issues as well as green and sustainable finance in professional certification examinations, and introducing a new sustainable finance certification.

For the current year, specific ESG and sustainable finance action areas highlighted by the AMF include assisting issuers in the implementation of the EU Taxonomy, contributing to European initiatives on sustainability reporting standards development, including efforts to establish international standards under the ISSB, and prepare the marketplace for the entry into force of the CSRD.

In September last year, the AMF released results of a study finding that many investors stay away from sustainable or responsible investments, due to a lack of clarity and fears of greenwashing. In order to help facilitate efforts to fund the transition to a carbon-neutral economy, this year’s priorities include several actions to counter the risk of greenwashing, including developing the transparency obligations of financial intermediaries, such as examining the progress made by financial actors to sees their exposure to fossil fuel sectors.

Additionally, the AMF identified promoting the development of labels and standards for financial products, in order to help enable the continued growth of funding towards sustainable activities and investments. Efforts in this area will include supporting the establishment of a voluntary standard on “European green bonds,” as well as standards concerning new types of sustainability bonds, such as transition bonds or sustainability-linked bonds.

Click here to view the AMF’s 2022 priorities.