In March 2023, the European Commission proposed the Green Claims Directive (the “Directive“), which aims to tackle greenwashing (read our previous update on the Directive here).  On 12 March 2024, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Directive at first reading. This move further complements the EU’s commitment to empowering consumers, ensuring fair competition and fostering a more environmentally responsible marketplace.Continue Reading The Green Claims Directive: European Parliament approves at first reading

Most UK climate litigation concerns challenges to the decisions of public authorities on projects with environmental effects or policies being adopted by Government that can have significant impacts on the environment.

A series of five recent decisions in the courts – all of which have rejected challenges based on climate grounds – show that the UK courts are extremely reluctant to call into question the decisions of national or local public authorities in the case of individual projects.  However, as we will see, there is room for challenges to be successful in limited circumstances which we consider below.Continue Reading A Wrap-Up of Recent UK Climate Change Litigation

The risk of an accusation of “greenwashing” is now an important concern for many companies. Greenwashing is an ill-defined concept but, nevertheless, is increasingly a source of litigation and regulatory scrutiny – with more of both expected. It carries with it reputational, regulatory and litigation risks for which companies should be prepared. Whilst the risks are always context specific – varying by jurisdiction, industry

Climate-related litigation is increasingly being used as a tool to hold private and public sector actors to account over their contributions to climate change. According to the Grantham Institute’s 2023 Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation Policy Report (the “Report“) – which was published on 29 June 2023 – around two-thirds of climate-related cases have been filed since 2015: between 1986 and 2014, approximately 800 cases were filed, but between 2015 and May 2023, approximately 1,557 cases were filed.

Although the majority of the climate-related cases identified in the Report were brought against regional and national governments, the Report identified an increase in the number of climate-related cases brought against private sector actors. Of the 190 climate-related cases identified in the Report as being filed between June 2022 and May 2023, around 46% were filed against an increasingly diverse pool of private sector actors. This reflects the growing recognition by prospective litigants of litigation as an effective means of influencing the actions private sector actors are taking to address climate change. We discuss the trends identified in the Report in this blog post.Continue Reading Climate litigation – the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment publishes its 2023 global trends in climate litigation report

On 7 June 2023, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA“) – the UK’s independent advertising regulator – banned a series of advertisements from a number of large oil and gas companies for including misleading information about their socio-environmental credentials. These landmark rulings, which mark the latest step in the ASA’s fight against greenwashing, are expected to set a precedent for how companies advertise their socio-environmental credentials in the future. More broadly, the increased regulatory scrutiny will likely feed into the expected rise in ESG-related litigation.

This move from the ASA mirrors similar moves by regulators and law-makers both in the UK and in other jurisdictions. The UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) has, for example, commenced investigations into the accuracy of environmental claims made by businesses in the fast-moving consumer goods sector (for further information on the CMA’s investigation, read our earlier blog post here). The US Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission have also taken steps to tighten regulation addressing greenwashing in marketing materials (for further information on these initiatives, read our earlier blog posts here and here).Continue Reading Greenwashing: UK advertising watchdog bans greenwashing advertisements