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Alexander W. Burdulia is a Registered Foreign Lawyer in the Corporate & Securities practice in Mayer Brown's Hong Kong office. He advises asset managers and other investors, corporations and financial institutions in a variety of corporate and commercial matters including private equity and venture capital investments and financings, investment fund matters and cross-border mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.

Alex is a key contact point for the ESG Initiative within the Mayer Brown network and a founding member of the Firm’s ESG Steering Committee. He advises impact investors in investment transactions and was responsible for sustainable finance regulatory, policy and advocacy matters while serving as the Head of APAC Public Policy on secondment at a leading international bank. He is a GRI Certified Sustainability Professional fluent in sustainability standards and disclosure regimes, and a frequent author on ESG-related topics.

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This month, the American Bar Association (the “ABA“) published a Report on its suggested Model Contract Clauses to Protect Workers in International Supply Chains (the “MCCs“).

While the MCCs are not put forward as a binding standard, they do provide food for thought for companies who are seeking to align their supply chain contracts with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the “UNGPs“), and the increasing tide of mandatory human rights due diligence legislation (see more on this impending legislation here).

Key takeaways:

  1. The aim of the MCCs is to align drafting in international supply chain contracts with existing human rights due diligence standards and obligations, with a view to providing “operational guidance for mapping, identifying and addressing human rights risks at every tier of the supply chain” and seeking to help companies “implement healthy corporate policies in their supply chains in a way that is both legally effective and operationally likely.”
  2. In aligning supply chain contracts with existing obligations and requiring reasonable due diligence by both contract parties, the MCCs seek to address what could be considered an imbalance in the typical negotiation of supply chain contracts where, traditionally, a buyer has tended to shift all responsibility for human rights issues to the supplier.
  3. The publication of the MCCs pose some interesting considerations for buyers negotiating supply chain contracts. For example, to what extent is it reasonable for the supply chain contract to reflect the stance that abuses of workers’ rights occurring in global supply chains is a shared responsibility of both buyers and suppliers? The cooperative approach submitted is very different to the traditional oppositional relationship between buyer and supplier, where buyers seek to ensure that any and all responsibility for adherence to prescribed human rights standards falls to suppliers by requiring representations and warranties from suppliers on a “strict liability” basis.


Continue Reading Human Rights Due Diligence in Supply Chain Contracts: A Shared Responsibility of Buyer and Supplier?

Amidst the global surge in interest around ESG investing, asset owners with diversified, global portfolios must understand the specific ESG risks that may apply to investments in different regions and industries, as well as the variety of approaches to ESG risk mitigation across public and private markets.

Southeast Asia is a particularly attractive region for

On March 30, 2021, finance ministers and central bank governors from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced their support for an ASEAN Taxonomy of Sustainable Finance (ASEAN Taxonomy). Like the Taxonomy Regulation in the European Union, the ASEAN Taxonomy will serve as ASEAN’s common language for sustainable

Speaking at the Roundtable of the China Development Forum on March 21, 2021, the Governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), Yi Gang, outlined the central bank’s green finance priorities over the near- to mid-term. Governor Yi began by highlighting China’s goal of reaching peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon

In a speech on March 17, 2021, the CEO of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Nikhil Rathi, highlighted how the financial services regulator is prioritizing diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives in the near term. Speaking at the launch of the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter Annual Review, Mr. Rathi outlined why D&I is a key consideration for the FCA, noting that:

“We care because diversity reduces conduct risk and those firms that fail to reflect society run the risk of poorly serving diverse communities. And, at that point, diversity and inclusion become regulatory issues.”

Key steps the FCA is now taking on D&I include:

  • Working with the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) on a joint approach to D&I for all financial services firms; and
  • Considering whether to make diversity requirements a part of the FCA’s premium listing rules, similar to the approach taken by NASDAQ in the US.


Continue Reading UK Regulator to Prioritize Diversity and Inclusion for the Financial Services Industry

In another step toward the integration of climate factors into the US corporate disclosure landscape, Acting Chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Allison Herren Lee, issued a request for public input on climate change disclosures on March 15, 2021.

The request seeks input relating to 15 climate-related disclosure topics, including:

On February 24, 2021, Malaysia’s Joint Committee on Climate Change (JC3) held its fourth meeting to discuss regulatory priorities to support the financial industry’s response to climate-related risks in 2021.

The JC3 was established in 2019 to pursue collaborative actions for building climate resilience within Malaysia’s financial sector. The committee is chaired by

Eye on ESG is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day, a global celebration and platform to showcase women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements and to promote equity.

Today, Mayer Brown and many other organizations around the world are standing together and choosing to challenge—to acknowledge the proactive role that employers have to play in

In a keynote speech at the recent Climate Risk and Green Finance Regulatory Forum 2021, Ashley Alder, the Chair of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), addressed the “urgent need to retool the financial system to address the threat of climate change.” According to Mr. Alder:

“we are now in a crucial few months which will set the direction for years to come.”

Mr. Alder proceeded to highlight key climate-related issues that IOSCO is now addressing at a global level, effectively outlining the future of climate risk regulation by securities regulators. In this Blog Post, we discuss some of the key statements from Mr. Alder’s speech that foreshadow regulatory initiatives to come, as well as practical takeaways for market participants.


Continue Reading IOSCO Chair Outlines the Future of Climate Risk Regulation

Two recent developments indicate the priority importance of, and increasing attention to, ESG data and technology:

  • MSCI (a provider of decision support tools and services for the global investment community) recently listed “The ESG Data Deluge” as one of its five ESG Trends for 2021. MSCI recognizes that the voluntary disclosure of ESG data by companies is increasing at a time when mandatory disclosure regulations are taking shape around the world, creating the “perfect storm” for a flood of company-related ESG data.
  • Meanwhile, ESMA (the EU securities regulator) recently called for the supervision and regulation of the ESG ratings and assessment industry, which relies on a range of ESG inputs, including company disclosures, to rate and analyze the sustainability performance of companies. These ratings and analyses are in turn used by a range of market participants as ESG data inputs for a variety of purposes.

As a flood of ESG data converges with a call for increased regulation by a critical securities regulator, data issues are likely to stay at the forefront of the ESG discussion for the foreseeable future. In this Blog Post, we highlight the significant commercial interest in ESG data and tech, as well as how some deficiencies in ESG data have led to increased regulatory attention.


Continue Reading The Future of Data and Tech in the ESG Era