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James Taylor is a partner in the Banking & Finance practice of the London office. James’ practice focuses on public and private offerings of debt and equity-linked securities, advising issuers and underwriters on the standalone issue and offering of retail and wholesale medium term notes, commercial paper, certificates of deposit, warrants, convertible and exchangeable bonds and covered bonds, as well as the establishment and update of platforms for the issuance of multiple types of securities, the structuring of liability management transactions and the provision of ongoing advice on securities laws, corporate governance and stock exchange requirements related to them.

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On 16 May 2024, the UK Government published an implementation update on its development of economy-wide sustainability disclosure requirements (the “Implementation Update“). The Implementation Update, which the UK Government committed to publishing in its 2023 Green Finance Strategy (which you can read more about here), discusses:

  1. its endorsement of the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards;
  2. transition plan disclosures;
  3. the Financial Conduct Authority’s (“FCA“) Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (“SDR“) and investment labels regime;
  4. the UK Green Taxonomy; and
  5. nature-related disclosures.

Continue Reading UK government publishes implementation update in relation to sustainability disclosures

On 14 May 2024, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA“) published its final report on “Guidelines on funds’ names using ESG or sustainability-related terms” (the “Guidelines“). The Guidelines aim to provide fund managers with clear and measurable criteria to assess their ability to use ESG and/or sustainability-related terms

On 23 April 2024, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA“) published its “Finalised non‑handbook guidance on the Anti‑Greenwashing Rule (FG/24/3)” (the “Guidance“). The FCA has published the Guidance to help in-scope firms understand and comply with the anti-greenwashing rule, which will come into effect on 31 May 2024.Continue Reading UK Financial Conduct Authority publishes finalised guidance on its Anti-Greenwashing rule

On 26 March 2024, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA“) published a consultation on its first set of regulatory technical standards (“RTS“) under the EU Green Bond Standard Regulation (the “Consultation“). The Consultation addresses mandates relating to the registration and supervision of external reviewers and aims to clarify the criteria used for assessing an application for registration.Continue Reading ESMA publishes Consultation Paper on European Green Bond Standard Regulation

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) has adopted new rules that require public companies to disclose substantial information about the material impacts of climate-related risks on their business, financial condition, and governance (the “Final Rules”).  The SEC says that “climate-related risks, their impacts, and a public company’s response to those risks can significantly affect

On 20 December 2023, the Council of the EU reached an agreement on its negotiating mandate on a proposal for a regulation on ESG ratings  (the “Proposed EU Regulation“). This builds on the European Commission’s proposal, which was published on 13 June 2023.

The EU’s desire to regulate ESG rating agencies is a response to increasing concerns from a variety of stakeholders about the reliability, comparability and transparency of ESG ratings and the data behind these ratings.Continue Reading Council of the EU agrees on proposal to regulate ESG ratings providers

On 28 November 2023, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA“) published its “Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (“SDR“) and investment labels” policy statement (PS23/16) (the “Policy Statement“). The Policy Statement introduces a set of new rules aimed at tackling greenwashing, including investment product sustainability labels and restrictions on how terms

The EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD“) entered into force on 5 January 2023 and the associated European Sustainability Reporting Standards (“ESRS“) were adopted by the European Commission on 31 July 2023. Together, the CSRD and ESRS create detailed sustainability reporting requirements that will apply to a significant number of EU and non-EU companies and substantially increase the scope of their sustainability reporting.

Application of the rules is now imminent and, for some, CSRD reporting periods will begin from 1 January 2024.

In this update, we take a look at the implications of the CSRD for non-EU companies and what companies can do to prepare.Continue Reading The EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive is upon us – what non-EU companies should know and do

On 11 July 2023, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a public statement on sustainability disclosure in prospectuses, available here: ESMA32-1399193447-441 Statement on sustainability disclosure in prospectuses (europa.eu).

The statement is addressed to the National Competent Authorities (NCAs) to promote coordinated action regarding sustainability-related disclosure included in prospectuses under current legislation. While the statement is addressed to NCAs, ESMA have said that its contents should be taken into account by issuers and advisers when drawing up a Prospectus Regulation (PR) compliant prospectus that contains sustainability-related disclosure.

Whilst there is little in the way of deviation from best practice here, the statement reflects the enhanced focus of ESMA and NCAs on ESG disclosure and is likely to result in additional commentary from NCAs during the prospectus approval process.

A summary of some of the key takeaways is included below.Continue Reading ESMA release Public Statement on Sustainability Disclosures in Prospectuses

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