Much is heard of the plethora of – often disparate – disclosure regimes and standards around sustainability, and the attendant difficulties for stakeholders, including investors, customers, and the public more generally, of assessing and comparing performance in a meaningful way.  Significant developments in the consolidation of the sustainability disclosure landscape are, however, imminent.

The Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) – an international consortium of businesses and NGOs that offers companies a framework for reporting environmental information – has announced that it will close down its operations and consolidate with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) at the end of January 2022.  In addition, the ISSB will complete the consolidation of the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF) – an international NGO that houses the Integrated Reporting Framework and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards – by the end of June 2022. These developments mark significant steps towards the ISSB’s ambition to become the world’s leading sustainability standards board.


Continue Reading International Sustainability Standards Board Commences its Streamlining of the Sustainability Disclosure Landscape

The sheer volume of capital flows into sustainable, or ESG-focused, funds and products over recent months reflects the rapidly increasing number of investors with ESG-related preferences, or demands, when selecting those investments.  Evaluating, and comparing, the ESG credentials of different investment products presents significant difficulties, however, in circumstances where information and disclosures about those products – and even the terminology used – are, at best, inconsistent, and often incomplete; and, at worst, may attract accusations of “greenwashing”, by using marketing materials to mislead investors about the ESG approaches used in their products.

Continue Reading The CFA Institute releases Global ESG Disclosure Standards for Investment Products

In a significant development in the UK government’s drive towards “greening” the financial system, as part of the transition to a net zero carbon economy, HM Treasury published, on 18 October 2021, a policy paper entitled “Greening Finance: A Roadmap to Sustainable Investing” (the “Roadmap“).  The Government’s Green Finance Strategy envisages three phases:

  1. Informing investors and consumers: Ensuring that decision-useful information on sustainability is available to financial decision-makers;
  2. Acting on the information: Mainstreaming sustainability considerations into business and financial decisions; and
  3. Shifting financial flows: Shifting capital to align with a net zero and nature positive economy.

The Roadmap focusses on delivering the first phase through the introduction of economy-wide Sustainable Disclosure Requirements (SDRs).  The SDRs aim to bring together existing and new sustainability disclosure requirements under one integrated framework for corporates, asset managers and asset owners, and creators of investment products.

But what obligations will these organisations be subject to under the new SDRs, and how can they best prepare themselves to comply with such obligations?


Continue Reading HM Treasury Publishes Its UK Sustainable Finance Roadmap

As interest in, and demand for, sustainable goods and services continue to increase rapidly, so too has the volume of statements, assertions and claims, often in the context of advertising, regarding the sustainability credentials of those goods and services.

In a further sign of the continued trend towards stricter regulation, and enforcement, in the context of so-called “greenwashing”, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently published its “Green Claims Code” (the “Code“), a guidance note for businesses on making environmental claims when advertising goods and services in the UK.


Continue Reading The UK’s CMA Publishes Guidance on Environmental Claims Used in Advertising

It was recently reported, on 8 September 2021, that investors managing USD 2.3 trillion in assets called for standardised climate and environmental disclosure from more than 1,000 privately held portfolio companies.  The investors, who joined a growing chorus advocating for improved disclosures around environmental issues, requested the private companies to provide such data through the non-profit disclosure platform, CDP, which provides a mechanism for climate disclosures that align with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).  The TCFD recommendations were published in June 2017, and have accelerated the focus on climate disclosures by providing the leading framework for disclosures relating to the financial impacts of climate-related risks.

But what are the TCFD recommendations, and how can companies prepare for reporting in compliance with them?


Continue Reading TCFD Recommendations: An Update on Climate Disclosures

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (“IPCC Report“), published on 9 August 2021, delivered the starkest warning to date that human activity is responsible for significant changes in the Earth’s climate.  The attention of the world’s scientific, political, and business communities, and of society at large, is increasingly focused

As businesses emerge from COVID with a significant amount of corporate debt, the landscape in the financial markets has also evolved: The focus on ESG issues has intensified. We have seen institutional investors demand more in these areas, in terms of both disclosures and concrete targets, from banks and funds.

Meanwhile, emerging regulations and reforms

As the focus of lawmakers, regulators, shareholders and society at large increasingly turns to ESG issues, and the extent of legislation, regulation and expectation in this area grows, directors and officers must be mindful of how their duties are evolving, and of the greater scrutiny (through a perhaps unfamiliar lens) that will be applied to