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Mark Uhrynuk is a partner of Mayer Brown resident in the Hong Kong office. Mark represents assets managers, family offices and other investor groups, corporations, and financial institutions in a variety of transactional matters. His wide-ranging experience includes private equity and venture capital investment and related financings; cross-border mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and strategic alliances; investment fund matters, including the formation of private equity, infrastructure and real estate funds; and international equity and debt capital markets transactions.

Mark is a key contact point for the ESG Initiative within the Mayer Brown network and is a founding member of the Firm’s ESG Steering Committee.  Mark also co-leads the Firm’s Family Office Initiative in the region.  An active thought leader in these fields, Mark has been widely quoted by the leading media and has authored a number of articles and legal updates on these and related topics.

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On 23 February 2022, the European Commission published its much-anticipated draft corporate sustainability and due diligence directive (the “Draft Directive”).  The Draft Directive sets out a proposed EU standard for human rights and environmental due diligence (“HREDD”) which, importantly, would apply to any non-EU-based company and its subsidiaries  if those group companies have aggregate annual net turnover in the EU of:

  • more than EUR 150 million (Group 1); or
  • more than EUR 40 million with at least 50% of net worldwide turnover generated in a “high-risk” sector which includes textiles, clothing and footwear, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food & extractives (Group 2).

Notably, the HREDD applies even if a company and its subsidiaries do not have a physical presence in the EU, if the above net turnover threshold is met.

The Draft Directive requires both Group 1 and Group 2 companies to take appropriate measures to identify, and mitigate, actual and potential adverse human rights and environmental impacts arising from their own operations anywhere in the world (not just in the EU) and, where related to their value chains, from their “established business relationships”.

Colleagues from our offices throughout the world have prepared briefings which are specific to particular locations, giving insights into related matters in those jurisdictions.

Continue Reading Human Rights and the Environment – What non-EU-based companies need to know regarding the EU draft Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive

On May 12, 2022, Singapore’s Green Finance Industry Taskforce (GFIT) published a second consultation paper on its proposed taxonomy for Singapore-based financial institutions (“Singapore Taxonomy”), which aims to provide a common framework for classification of economic activities upon which financial products and services can be built and combat greenwashing by setting

There has been much talk recently about ESG. What started as a metric for investors to make ethical investment decisions has now grown to encompass how companies should, and are expected to, behave in general. ESG is now a key issue for company boards and management, and an important consideration for shareholders and investors, individual

On April 7, 2022, the federal government of Canada released its Budget 2022 (Budget), which includes significant measures by the Canadian government to build its Net-Zero Economy and to fight climate change. In the Budget, the Canadian government is committed to move towards mandatory reporting of climate-related financial risks across a broad spectrum of Canadian economy, based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. The new reporting requirements will be applicable to, among others, federally regulated banks and insurers, which “play a prominent role in shaping Canada’s economy” – as noted in the Budget.

Continue Reading Canada to Impose Mandatory Climate Disclosures on Banks and Insurers

­In a previous blog post, we noted that the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) will shortly publish its proposed general sustainability-related and climate disclosure requirements.

On 31 March 2022, the ISSB published highly anticipated drafts of IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information (General Requirements Exposure Draft) and IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures (Climate Exposure Draft) for public consultation and comments. Each of the Exposure Drafts are accompanied by a ‘Basis for Conclusions’ and ‘Illustrative Guidance’ document. A high-level summary of the proposed requirements is available here.

Continue Reading International Sustainability Standards Board Begins Public Consultation on Draft Proposed Standards on General Sustainability-Related Financial and Climate-Related Disclosures

The sustainable investing market has witnessed remarkable growth. At the same time, the field has been challenged by a lack of consistency in identifying what, exactly, makes an investment “sustainable”.  Sustainability taxonomies (or classification systems) have been developed by governments, international bodies and non-governmental organizations to help identify specific assets, activities or projects that meet defined thresholds and metrics that quantify sustainability.  Many of these taxonomies refer to or emulate the EU Taxonomy, widely regarded as the most developed system for sustainable finance investment classification and measurement.

Continue Reading ICMA Identifies Usability Challenges – and Recommends Action – for Implementing the EU Taxonomy

The move towards consolidated, aligned, sustainability disclosure requirements, long identified as an essential element of sustainability efforts, took a major step forward last week.  On 24 March 2022, the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (“IFRS Foundation”) and the Global Reporting Initiative (“GRI”) announced a collaboration agreement, the purpose of which is to seek to align their capital market and multi-stakeholder focussed sustainability disclosure regimes (the “Agreement“).  The Agreement represents the latest development in the IFRS Foundation’s efforts to consolidate the plethora of – sometimes disparate – international sustainability reporting regimes into a consolidated, more cohesive, framework, for the benefit of companies, investors and society at large.

Continue Reading International Sustainability Standards Board and Global Sustainability Standards Board to align their sustainability disclosure standards

In a further effort to help listed companies align their ESG-related disclosures in line with other international standards and best practices, and to build on ESG reporting landscape in Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) have identified 12 technical skills and competencies for professionals within the sustainable finance sector.

The Sustainable Finance Technical Skills and Competencies (SF TSCs) are part of the IBF Skills Framework for Financial Services which seeks to provide vital information to upskill and train current and incoming talent within banks, asset management and insurance sectors to strengthen their sustainability-related offerings and services.

Continue Reading Singapore Seeks to Bolster Skillset for its Sustainable Finance Professionals

The sustainable investing market is witnessing remarkable growth: since 2018, annual cash flows into sustainable funds have increased tenfold. Now, more than ever, investors and asset managers alike seek sustainable products and strategies offering robust financial returns. The field, however, has been haunted by greenwashing claims and a lack of consistency in identifying what, exactly, makes an investment “sustainable”.

Sustainability or “green” taxonomies developed by governments, international bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can help resolve these challenges and inconsistencies by identifying specific assets, activities or projects that meet defined thresholds and metrics that quantify sustainability. These systems can cover the full spectrum of sustainability topics, from achieving acceptable levels of greenhouse gas emissions to compliance with certain human rights standards. Among other benefits, sustainability taxonomies can:

  • assist investors, asset managers and asset owners in identifying sustainable investment opportunities and constructing sustainable portfolios that align with taxonomy criteria;
  • drive capital more efficiently toward priority sustainability projects;
  • help protect asset managers against claims of greenwashing by providing an independent benchmark for the sustainability performance of investments; and
  • guide future public policies and regulations targeting specific economic activities based on taxonomy criteria.

In this series of Blog Posts, we first provide a brief overview of some of the key existing and developing taxonomies around the world. We then set out our analysis of the ways asset managers are already leveraging taxonomies in their businesses based on a review of publicly available responsible investment reports.  Finally, we highlight certain challenges that asset managers may encounter as these systems develop and interest in sustainable investing continues to grow.

Continue reading this Part III to understand some of the taxonomy-related challenges that asset managers may encounter. You can find Parts I and II here and here.

Continue Reading Leveraging Taxonomies: How Asset Managers Are Using New Sustainability Classification Systems – Part III

The sustainable investing market is witnessing remarkable growth: since 2018, annual cash flows into sustainable funds have increased tenfold. Now, more than ever, investors and asset managers alike seek sustainable products and strategies offering robust financial returns. The field, however, has been haunted by greenwashing claims and a lack of consistency in identifying what, exactly, makes an investment “sustainable”.

Sustainability or “green” taxonomies developed by governments, international bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can help resolve these challenges and inconsistencies by identifying specific assets, activities or projects that meet defined thresholds and metrics that quantify sustainability. These systems can cover the full spectrum of sustainability topics, from achieving acceptable levels of greenhouse gas emissions to compliance with certain human rights standards. Among other benefits, sustainability taxonomies can:

  • assist investors, asset managers and asset owners in identifying sustainable investment opportunities and constructing sustainable portfolios that align with taxonomy criteria;
  • drive capital more efficiently toward priority sustainability projects;
  • help protect asset managers against claims of greenwashing by providing an independent benchmark for the sustainability performance of investments; and
  • guide future public policies and regulations targeting specific economic activities based on taxonomy criteria.

In this series of Blog Posts, we first provide a brief overview of some of the key existing and developing taxonomies around the world. We then set out our analysis of the ways asset managers are already leveraging taxonomies in their businesses based on a review of publicly available responsible investment reports.  Finally, we highlight certain challenges that asset managers may encounter as these systems develop and interest in sustainable investing continues to grow.

Continue reading this Part II for our analysis of how asset managers are already leveraging taxonomies. You can find Parts I and III here and here.

Continue Reading Leveraging Taxonomies: How Asset Managers Are Using New Sustainability Classification Systems – Part II