**A Chinese version of this blog post follows the English version.**

China’s State Council-backed think tank, China Enterprise Reform and Development Society (“CERDS“), alongside a number of major Chinese companies including Ping An Insurance Company, issued “The Guidance for Enterprise ESG Disclosure” effective on 1 June 2022 (“Guidance“). The Guidance is China’s first ESG disclosure guideline, and covers all companies and industries.  It follows the environmental disclosure rules issued by China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) which came into effect earlier in February 2022 (which we reported here).

Continue Reading China issues first ESG disclosure guidance: international guidelines with Chinese characteristics

On 3 August 2022, Australia’s Financial Services Council (“FSC“) published FSC Guidance Note No 44 Climate Risk Disclosure in Investment Management (“Guidance Note”) to provide a set of common baseline expectations for the investment management industry’s approach with respect to net-zero commitments, disclosure of climate-friendly investment features and climate change risk reporting. 

Continue Reading Australia’s Financial Services Council issues new guidelines on climate risk disclosure for asset managers

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) and Financial Reporting Council (“FRC”) have published the findings of their respective reviews of the first batch of premium listed companies’ Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”)-aligned disclosures (the “Reports”). The FCA’s review involved a relatively high-level quantitative assessment of climate-related disclosures made by 171 premium listed companies, and a more detailed qualitative assessment of the alignment of those disclosures with the TCFD Recommendations for 31 of those companies. The FRC’s review, on the other hand, involved a more granular analysis of the disclosures of 25 premium listed companies that are perceived to face greater climate change-related risks.

Continue Reading The UK’s FCA and FRC review the quality of companies’ TCFD disclosures

On July 28, 2022, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (the “MAS“) published a circular (the “Circular”) on new disclosure and reporting guidelines for retail ESG funds in Singapore. The Circular was published alongside a Sustainability Report 2021/2022 issued by MAS and coincides with the issuance of Singapore’s first green bond (which was

In response to growing investor demand for information concerning companies’ sustainability-related financial risks, the sustainability disclosure landscape has rapidly changed over the last decade.  In what marks one of the latest developments to the sustainability disclosure landscape, on 29 April 2022, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (“EFRAG“) – a private organisation that provides technical assistance to the European Commission – issued its initial draft European Sustainability Reporting Standards (“ESRS“) for public comment. The ESRS, which EFRAG were tasked with preparing by the European Commission as part of the proposed Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD“), set out proposed requirements for companies to report on sustainability-related impacts, opportunities and risks under the CSRD.

Continue Reading The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group issues draft European Sustainability Reporting Standards

Emissions reporting standards and practices in the private equity sector have been described by certain commentators as being some way behind those in the public markets; certainly the private equity asset class has, so far, received less attention in the context of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-related reporting developments more generally.  That is changing, however; General Partners (“GPs“) are increasingly called upon to disclose climate-related data and establish greenhouse gas (“GHG“) emissions reduction targets across their portfolios.

There is not, at present, an agreed standard for reporting such information at a fund level, which has resulted in inconsistent approaches being adopted by different funds.  Inconsistencies, of course, potentially impair the ability of investors to make meaningful comparisons between portfolio companies, and indeed between funds.

In an attempt to address this inconsistency, the Initiative Climat International (“ICI“) — a practitioner-led group of private equity funds and investors that represents over USD $3 trillion in assets under management — in partnership with sustainability consultancy group Environmental Resources Management (“ERM“), have taken the proactive step of launching a new, non-binding standard that sets out a consistent approach to GHG disclosure across the private equity sector.  The standard, outlined in the ICI and ERM’s Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reporting report (the “Report”), aims to better align the disclosure practices of private equity funds with the practices currently adopted by many listed companies in the public markets.

Continue Reading New standard published for Greenhouse Gas Emissions reporting in Private Equity

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rulemaking process has received much attention under Chair Gensler’s leadership not only because of the volume and substance of proposed rules, but also because of the relatively short comment periods allotted for the public to respond pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act process. As just one example of

Investors are increasingly focussed on how companies address modern slavery and wider human rights issues when making investment decisions.  Despite this, many UK companies are failing to adequately report on, and take sufficient steps to eradicate, modern slavery within their businesses and supply chains, according to the Financial Reporting Council’s (the “FRC“) recently published Modern Slavery Reporting Practices in the UK Report (the “Report”).

The Report, which analysed the reporting practices of 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Main Market, highlighted that the majority of companies are failing to disclose sufficient information to enable stakeholders to make informed decisions about companies’ compliance with modern slavery legislation.  Such shortcomings in the quality of companies’ modern slavery reporting presents a number of compliance, reputational and financial risks to companies.

Continue Reading Business and Human Rights: the Financial Reporting Council identifies failings in UK companies’ modern slavery reporting

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 the latest of a series of actions by the Biden-Harris administration aimed at reducing the federal government’s carbon footprint, the US General Services Administration (GSA) has issued new national standards for the concrete and asphalt used in GSA building and paving projects.1 The standards apply to concrete and asphalt provided by GSA’s prime contractors, furthering efforts to prioritize carbon-reduction in federal contracting and to leverage the federal government’s purchasing power in support of the transition to a zero-carbon economy. GSA plans to use these standards for all GSA projects involving at least 10 cubic yards of concrete or asphalt, including GSA projects carried out under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.2

Continue Reading Clean Slate: US GSA Issues New Standards for Environmental Attributes of Concrete and Asphalt