On November 15, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published a press release providing an overview of its 2022 enforcement activities. The SEC stated that it had filed 760 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2022, which was a 9% increase from last year. The civil penalties, disgorgement, and pre-judgment interest ordered in SEC actions were $6.44 billion, the most in the SEC’s history and almost double the amount from fiscal year 2021. Of the total money ordered, civil penalties, which totaled $4.194 billion, were the highest on record.

Continue Reading ESG continues to be a SEC enforcement focus

COP27 has now come to a close. Against the global backdrop of political and economic turbulence, many questions were asked as to what could realistically be expected as outcomes of COP27. We now have the answers to those questions.

Continue Reading COP27 Postscript – much ado about nothing?

We are half way through COP27, so (disregarding the intersessionals that will take place during 2023), the negotiations will “soon” start to focus on Dubai, the venue for next year’s COP28 summit.  Who knows how much progress will be made before then.  One point to note is that COP27 is more of an “implementation” COP, rather than one with a more grandiose task, such as ramping up climate ambition.

Continue Reading Observations from the COP27 Halfway Point

The 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) has opened in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, against a global backdrop of massive hikes in energy prices, inflation, increases in interest rates and uncertainty about the robustness of the implementation of the ESG regulatory agenda (particularly in the US). In 2022, heat waves in Europe killed more than 15,000 people and nearly 1,700 died as a result of flooding in Pakistan. Hurricane Ian caused widespread devastation. A recent report by economist Nicholas Stern stated that $2 trillion (£1.75 trillion) per year will be needed by 2030 to help developing countries cut their greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the effects of climate breakdown —switching away from fossil fuels, investing in renewable energy and other low-carbon technology, and coping with the impacts of extreme weather.

With existing commitments to climate finance yet to be met and national policies not yet consistent with the objective of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius, this year’s COP has its work cut out. What can realistically be hoped for as outcomes of COP27?

Continue Reading COP27: From Grey Glasgow to Sunny Sharm

In a timely episode of Tools of the Trade, Mayer Brown Chair Jon Van Gorp and Management Committee member Sally Davies take on a topic of increasing importance: environmental, social and governance principles, commonly referred to as ESG. Their primary guest, David Carpenter, is one of three co-leaders (with Mark Uhrynuk and James Whitaker) of

The Biden Administration’s attempt to tackle the climate crisis has made its way to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Executive Order 14008, dated January 27, 2021, stated “domestic action [on climate change] must go hand in hand with United States international leadership, aimed at significantly enhancing global action,” and called on government agencies to take action.[1] In response, this June, the USPTO unveiled the Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program (the Pilot Program) in response to Executive Order 14008. The Pilot Program “is designed to positively impact the climate by accelerating examination of patent applications for innovations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”[2]

Continue Reading USPTO Rolls Out the Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program in Response to Executive Order 14008 on Climate Change

In December 2021, President Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”) into law. The UFLPA creates a rebuttable presumption that goods “mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“XUAR”) of China, or by certain other entities in China, are made with forced