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.

EU

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

On June 14, 2023, the European Commission proposed negotiating directives for a critical minerals agreement with the United States, intending to promote a partnership between the US and the European Union as allies in the global race to net zero and to strengthen their respective critical mineral supply chains. Back in early March, US President

On 31 May 2023, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 regarding the marketing and export of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation from the European Union. In this Legal Update, we delve into the regulation and highlight what operators and traders should know

On 1 June 2023, the European Parliament (the “EP“) plenary session adopted its proposed amendments to the draft EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (“CSDDD“).

The adopted text largely mirrors the version voted on by the EP’s Legal Affairs Committee in April 2023 (which we discussed in our earlier blog post), in that it confirms that:

  • asset managers and institutional investors will be in-scope;
  • the due diligence requirements will apply to: (i) EU companies with over 250 employees and a global turnover of over €40 million; (ii) parent companies with over 500 employees and a global turnover of over €150 million; and (iii) non-EU companies with a global turnover of over €150 million if at least €40 million of this was generated in the EU; and
  • directors of companies with more than 1,000 employees will be responsible for ensuring the company implements a transition plan that is compatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The adopted text also confirms that non-compliant companies may be liable for damages and could be sanctioned by the national supervisory authorities of EU member states. Sanctions include taking a company’s goods off the market and/or the imposition of fines of at least 5% of a company’s net global turnover. Non-EU companies that fail to comply may also be banned from public procurement in the EU.Continue Reading Human Rights and the Environment – European Parliament adopts amendments to draft Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive

The European Union has agreed on the final version of its Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”). The CBAM will apply to a limited set of products (cement, aluminium, fertilisers, electric energy production, hydrogen, iron and steel, as well as some “precursors” such as cathode active materials and a limited number of downstream products)

On 25 April 2023, the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee voted in favour of a revised version of the EU draft Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (“the Draft Directive”).

The revised version differs from the versions that we have previously commented on here, here and here in the following key respects:

  • Inclusion