On 21 April 2021, the EU Commission announced its proposal to extend existing sustainability reporting in a new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).  The proposal, which revises the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (the “NFRD“), will extend the reach of sustainability reporting to more companies and will cover more sustainability topics.

This is part of a wider, concerted effort by the EU to legislate for greater E, S and G reporting and accountability standards, like the EU’s proposed mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence law.  It is also part of a larger global trend: for example, New Zealand recently introduced a new Climate Disclosure Law (see our Blog Post on this here). Companies are increasingly embracing voluntary sustainability reporting but there are increased demands for mandatory reporting – the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for instance called for mandatory reporting in December last year. However companies’ standards of  voluntary reporting are of variable quality and often do not address the impacts of companies’ business activities on people and the environment.

Key aspects of the proposed Sustainability Reporting Directive:

  1. More companies would be asked to report on sustainability, up from 11,000 previously to nearly 50,000.
  2. The “double materiality perspective” is further reinforced – that is companies have to report on the impact of their business activities on people and the planet across the full value chain, as well as the sustainability risks for the business itself, and to disclose the process for determining their material issues.
  3. Measurements of sustainability will be more consistent, reliable, and therefore comparable, for investors and other stakeholders.
  4. Timing is subject to change, but it is expected these measures would take effect in 2024, i.e. reporting on the financial year ending 2023.


Continue Reading EU Moves Toward Comprehensive Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive

On Thursday, May 20, 2021, US President Biden signed an Executive Order, entitled “Climate-Related Financial Risk” (Climate Risk EO), that sets the stage for the US federal government, including its financial regulatory agencies, to begin to incorporate climate-risk and other ESG issues into financial regulation. The Climate Risk EO further demonstrates the

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 April 26, 2021, the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) launched a new public consultation (No. 86/2021, the “Consultation”) on a proposed regulation for mandatory disclosure of social, environmental, and climate risks by financial institutions.

Climate-related risks must be disclosed in accordance with the TCFD Recommendations (“Recommendations”), including both

On April 16, 2021, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (SEHK) issued a consultation paper (the “Consultation“) seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the SEHK’s Corporate Governance Code and Listing Rules intended to promote good corporate governance practices among listed companies and IPO applicants. Amidst the global surge in

On April 13, 2021, the Government of New Zealand announced the introduction of legislation that would make climate-related disclosures aligned with the Recommendations of the Task-Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) mandatory for certain financial services organizations, as well as all equity and debt issuers listed on the NZX. This mandatory reporting regime is both robust and broad – the first of its kind – and other countries around the world may soon follow suit.

The Government views the proposed law as a significant step toward realizing New Zealand’s ambitious climate agenda. According to Climate Change Minister James Shaw, “We simply cannot get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 unless the financial sector knows what impact their investments are having on the climate. This law will bring climate risks and resilience into the heart of financial and business decision making.”

We summarize key aspects of the proposed law in this Blog Post.


Continue Reading New Zealand Introduces Mandatory Climate Disclosure Law

Following in the footsteps of other central banks around the world, and in face of the pressing need for an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, on April 7, 2021, the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) launched public consultation No. 85/2021 (Consultation). The Consultation includes proposed amendments and new rules governing the management of social, environmental and climate risks by financial institutions (and other institutions with operations authorized by the BCB), as well as the requirements to be observed by these institutions in the elaboration and implementation of their respective Social, Environmental and Climate Responsibility Policy (PRSAC).

The BCB joined the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) on March 25, 2020, and, on September 8, 2020, launched the “Sustainability Dimension” of its work agenda (Agenda BC#), which aims to promote sustainable finance, proper management of social, environmental and climate risks in the National Financial System (SFN), and integration of ESG variables into BCB’s decision-making process.


Continue Reading Brazil’s Central Bank Set to Incorporate Social, Environmental and Climate Factors into Financial Regulation

On April 6, 2021, the Council of Experts Concerning the Follow-up of Japan’s Stewardship Code and Japan’s Corporate Governance Code (Council) published a consultation on proposed revisions to Japan’s Corporate Governance Code (Governance Code) and Guidelines for Investor and Company Engagement (Guidelines) intended to, among other things, increase attention to sustainability and ESG matters and promote diversity among Japan’s listed companies.

The Governance Code sets out the fundamental principles for effective corporate governance of listed companies in Japan, while the Guidelines provide agenda items for engagement that institutional investors and companies are expected to focus on. The proposed revisions to these two documents could significantly influence the state of ESG and diversity among Japan’s listed companies, with a key emphasis on sustainability-related disclosures.

In this Blog Post, we provide additional background on the Governance Code and the Guidelines, as well as details and analysis of the consultation proposals.


Continue Reading Japan to Promote ESG Disclosures and Diversity for Listed Companies

On March 10, 2021, the UK government concluded its public consultation on climate risk regulations under the Pension Schemes Act 2021. The government is now analyzing public feedback and preparing consultation conclusions.

In a new podcast, Mayer Brown Counsel Beth Brown provides background on the Pension Schemes Act 2021 and outlines the regulations in the