Companies are increasingly recognising that climate risk poses “strategic and operational risk” that could severely impact business operations. On 3 August 2023, United Nations Global Compact released Just Transition in Supply Chains: A Business Brief (the “Brief”).  At the heart of the Brief is a call for businesses to embed the concept of ‘just transition’ into supply chain risk management, taking into account both the environmental and social impacts of their supply chains. There is real concern that as companies increase their climate mitigation and adaptation activities, such actions may have unintended consequences that negatively affect workers, small businesses and local communities that drive global supply chains. On the other hand, integrating climate and social risks into a business’ core business and risk management could be “mutually reinforcing” and could “deliver valuable co-benefits”.Continue Reading UN Global Compact Publishes Business Brief on Just Transition in Supply Chains

On 30 June 2023, the Working Group on Impact Investment (“Working Group”), which was established under the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance of the Financial Services Agency of Japan (“FSA”), published a report (“Report”) (in English and Japanese) setting out domestic and international trends in impact investment and draft basic guidelines consisting of four key principles as discussed below (“Guidelines”).  The Report seeks to fill a gap in the lack of standards regulating “impact investment”, one of several sustainable finance investment methods, and noted “impact investment” market practices are still developing. In contrast, other ESG investment methods such as “integration” and “positive or negative screening” appear to be more commonly used in the market.

The Guidelines seek to encourage dialogue and align understanding on basic concepts and processes for “impact investment” between investors, financial institutions and companies in Japan and globally, and develop knowledge and experience in this area. The Guidelines further aim to create an environment in which investors and financial institutions can invest more confidently without concerns of greenwashing, and to help companies in obtaining financing and support. Continue Reading Japan FSA Publishes Draft Guidelines on Impact Investment and Calls for Public Opinion

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

Climate-related litigation is increasingly being used as a tool to hold private and public sector actors to account over their contributions to climate change. According to the Grantham Institute’s 2023 Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation Policy Report (the “Report“) – which was published on 29 June 2023 – around two-thirds of climate-related cases have been filed since 2015: between 1986 and 2014, approximately 800 cases were filed, but between 2015 and May 2023, approximately 1,557 cases were filed.

Although the majority of the climate-related cases identified in the Report were brought against regional and national governments, the Report identified an increase in the number of climate-related cases brought against private sector actors. Of the 190 climate-related cases identified in the Report as being filed between June 2022 and May 2023, around 46% were filed against an increasingly diverse pool of private sector actors. This reflects the growing recognition by prospective litigants of litigation as an effective means of influencing the actions private sector actors are taking to address climate change. We discuss the trends identified in the Report in this blog post.Continue Reading Climate litigation – the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment publishes its 2023 global trends in climate litigation report

A new requirement for most developments to achieve a minimum level of “biodiversity net gain” will come into force in November this year.  For some this will be an additional burden when preparing planning applications, but others will see it as an opportunity to create value through enhancing biodiversity whilst burnishing their “green” credentials.

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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

The Federation of Brazilian Banks (“FEBRABAN“) has recently approved Regulation No. 026/2023, setting forth guidelines and procedures for Brazilian banks when financing the beef industry, particularly slaughterhouses. Pursuant to the new self-regulation, as of 2025 financing should only be available to slaughterhouses that put into place a due diligence system for tracing and monitoring the activities of direct and indirect suppliers, certifying that no illegal deforestation has occurred in its supply chain. The self-regulation only applies to slaughterhouses located in the states that compose the “Amazônia Legal” and the state of Maranhão.Continue Reading Federation of Brazilian Banks tackle illegal deforestation in the beef supply chain

On March 27, 2023, the ASEAN Taxonomy Board released Version 2 of the ASEAN Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance (the “ASEAN Taxonomy“). As we reported here, Version 1 of the ASEAN Taxonomy was first published in November 2021 and it was designed to promote the transition towards sustainable finance by the ASEAN member

On April 7, 2023, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released two staff reports on climate-related risks for financial institutions. While the staff reports do not suggest or impose legal requirements, they provide financial institutions with insights on banking regulators’ positions on climate-related risk management requirements and current industry practices. In this Legal Update