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
Peter Pears is a partner in the Banking & Finance practice of the London office. He acts for issuers and underwriters on a range of domestic and international capital markets products including Eurobond, medium term note, commercial paper, regulatory capital, corporate hybrid and liability management transactions. Peter's clients include financial institutions, major corporations, sovereigns, municipalities and supranationals across Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia. Peter has considerable experience in sustainable debt and ESG principles and regularly advises on green, social and sustainable bonds, sustainability-linked bonds and ESG regulatory matters. In addition to his debt capital markets practice, Peter has experience advising on a variety of infrastructure finance transactions, including project bonds, private placements and whole business securitizations.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA“) has today published three useful explanatory notes covering key topics of the European sustainable finance framework, namely: a) the definition of “sustainable investments”; b) the application of do no significant harm (“DNSH“) principle; and c) the use of estimates.
The explanatory notes set out…
What is a taxonomy anyway?
The EU’s “Taxonomy” is a classification framework that determines whether an economic activity is environmentally sustainable.
Under EU legislation, “large” EU companies will soon need to report on their taxonomy “alignment” as part of their mandatory sustainability disclosures. This means, at risk of oversimplifying, reporting on the extent to which…
Our international ESG team has been keeping an eye on what’s going on with regards to green taxonomies. With so much activity already this year, we summarize some of the key developments below.
We recently published this reminder of the EU’s taxonomy framework. Our publication is particularly relevant to non-EU groups with large subsidiaries…
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 31 July 2023, the European Commission adopted the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (“ESRS“). EU and non-EU entities subject to the new EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD“) will be required to report against the ESRS, making the development of interest to entities preparing for reporting under the CSRD regime.Continue Reading European Commission adopts the European Sustainability Reporting Standards
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…
On June 22, 2023, the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA) issued its first update of its Climate Transition Finance Handbook (CTFH) since its original publication in December 20201 and an updated version of its Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles (SLBPs).
In its related press release, ICMA states that the updated CTFH:
[I]ntegrates the progress made…
On 30 March 2023, the UK Government published an updated Green Finance Strategy (the “Strategy“). The Strategy, which updates the UK’s 2019 Green Finance Strategy, outlines how “continued UK leadership on green finance will cement the UK’s place at the forefront of this growing global market, and how we will mobilise the investment needed to meet our climate and nature objectives“.Continue Reading The future of green finance in the UK: UK Government publishes updated Green Finance Strategy