Much has been going on over a hot summer of ESG (incidentally, July is reported to have been the world’s hottest month ever recorded). In this Blog Post, we help make sense of the busy season and highlight important developments across Europe and Asia, including:

  • The EU’s “Fit for 55” Package and Taxonomy
  • Carbon Disclosures in the UK
  • The Launch of the TNFD
  • Increasing ESG Litigation
  • Climate-related Regulation in Asia


Continue Reading The Summer of ESG: Developments from Europe and Asia

On August 25, 2021, the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), acting on behalf of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), filed a consumer protection lawsuit with the Federal Court of Australia in respect of certain ESG related statements made in a gas company’s 2020 Annual Report (the Report).

This is the first lawsuit in the world that challenges the veracity of a company’s net zero emissions target, and in relation to the viability of carbon capture and storage and the environmental impacts of hydrogen as an energy source, increasingly touted as the key elements in gas companies’ pathways toward net zero emissions.


Continue Reading World-first Lawsuit Over Clean Energy and Zero Emissions Claims

On August 20, 2021, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) published its conclusions (the “Consultation Conclusions“) from last year’s consultation (the “Consultation“) on proposed amendments to the Fund Manager Code of Conduct (FMCC) that will require fund managers to consider climate-related risks in their governance, investment and risk management processes. The Consultation Conclusions set out the SFC’s analysis of the responses to the Consultation, as well as the final amendments to the FMCC that will require fund managers to implement a range of climate-related practices as early as August 20, 2022.

In this Blog Post, we provide a high-level overview of the amendments to the FMCC and highlight key takeaways from the Consultation Conclusions as Hong Kong enters a new phase of sustainable fund management.


Continue Reading Hong Kong SFC Finalizes Climate Risk Requirements for Fund Managers

On 20 July 2021, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) issued draft guidelines (the Draft Guidelines) on the management of climate-related risks by authorised institutions (AIs). The Draft Guidelines further develop the HKMA’s approach to climate risk, initially outlined in its June 2020 White Paper on Green and Sustainable Banking, and incorporate leading international standards and practices to provide comprehensive climate risk management guidance for banks in the areas of governance, strategy, risk management and disclosure.

In this Blog Post, we highlight key aspects of the Draft Guidelines and takeaways for AIs considering how to approach these new proposals in Hong Kong. For more information about evolving regulatory approaches to climate disclosure and risk management around the world, please see our comprehensive analysis, Climate Disclosure and Risk Management: Global Approaches.


Continue Reading Hong Kong Proposes Climate Risk Management Guidelines for Banks

On 15 July 2021, Hong Kong’s Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group (Steering Group), representing a critical mass of Hong Kong’s financial regulatory bodies, announced next steps to advance green and sustainable finance in the Special Administrative Region (the Announcement). According to the Announcement, the regulators will prioritize:

  • climate-related disclosures;
  • carbon market opportunities; and
  • a new cross-sector platform to help the financial industry manage climate change-related risks and opportunities.

In this Blog Post, we highlight key aspects of the Announcement and points for market participants to consider as Hong Kong moves toward a more sustainable future.


Continue Reading Mandatory Climate Disclosures, Carbon Markets Attract Regulatory Attention in Hong Kong

In our blog post on 13 May 2021, we discussed the consultation papers published by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (“CSRC”) on proposed ESG-related amendments to the disclosure rules applicable to listed companies. On 28 June 2021, the CSRC published the final set of amendments (“Final Amendments”) to the disclosure rules applicable to annual reports and half-year reports, respectively, together with relevant explanations to the amendments (“Explanations”).

Continue Reading China Publishes Environmental and Social Disclosure Rules for Listed Companies

On May 19th, 2021, Singapore’s Green Finance Industry Task Force (GFIT), an industry-led initiative convened by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), issued a detailed implementation guide for climate-related disclosures by financial institutions (FIs) and a whitepaper on scaling green finance in the real estate, infrastructure, fund management and transition sectors. In addition, the GFIT has established a framework to help banks assess eligible green trade finance transactions and will launch a series of ESG-related capacity building workshops and e-learning modules from May 2021 to April 2022 for FIs and corporates.

In an announcement, Ms. Gillian Tan, Assistant Managing Director (Development and International) at the MAS, said:

“GFIT’s initiatives to enhance climate-related disclosures and strengthen green capabilities will enable financial institutions to effectively develop green solutions and align their portfolios towards facilitating Asia’s transition to a low carbon economy. These initiatives will also contribute to global efforts to achieve greater consistency and comparability in climate-related disclosures, as well as provide investors and market participants with the necessary information for climate risk analysis and investment decision-making.”

Continue reading for more details on each of these significant new developments.


Continue Reading Singapore Financial Regulator Announces Initiatives on Climate Disclosures, ESG Capacity Building and More

On May 7, 2021, in connection with the implementation of China’s Securities Law, which came into effect on March 1, 2020, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRCpublished consultation papers on amendments to the “Standards Concerning the Contents and Formats of Information Disclosure by Companies Offering Securities to the Public No.2 —

On May 4, 2021, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) released the details of its Green and Sustainable Finance Grant Scheme (GSF Grant Scheme), which will consolidate Hong Kong’s existing Pilot Bond Grant Scheme and Green Bond Grant Scheme into one new program. According to the Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr. Eddie Yue:

“The global green bond market has grown from practically non-existent ten years ago to US$270 billion in 2020.  In Hong Kong, we have taken early and proactive steps to strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a regional green and sustainable finance hub, including the issuance of two rounds of Government green bonds since 2019 and the establishment of the Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group to coordinate cross-agency market development efforts.  The launch of a new [GSF] Grant Scheme to support green and sustainable bond issuance and lending will further enrich the green and sustainable finance ecosystem in Hong Kong.”

Continue reading for more details on the GSF Grant Scheme.


Continue Reading Hong Kong’s New Green And Sustainable Finance Grant Scheme Begins May 10

On April 30, 2021, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) published Malaysia’s national climate-focused sustainability taxonomy for the financial sector, the Climate Change and Principle-based Taxonomy (CCPT). The CCPT sets out five Guiding Principles (GPs) intended to help financial institutions (FIs) assess and categorize economic activities according to the extent to which they meet climate objectives and promote the transition to a low-carbon economy.

In this Blog Post, we discuss the scope and applicability of the CCPT, the five GPs and what this new national taxonomy could mean for Southeast Asia’s forthcoming regional sustainability taxonomy.


Continue Reading Malaysia Publishes Climate Change Taxonomy For Financial Institutions