On 20 December 2023, the Council of the EU reached an agreement on its negotiating mandate on a proposal for a regulation on ESG ratings  (the “Proposed EU Regulation“). This builds on the European Commission’s proposal, which was published on 13 June 2023.

The EU’s desire to regulate ESG rating agencies is a response to increasing concerns from a variety of stakeholders about the reliability, comparability and transparency of ESG ratings and the data behind these ratings.Continue Reading Council of the EU agrees on proposal to regulate ESG ratings providers

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launched the Singapore-Asia Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance (the “Singapore-Asia Taxonomy”) at the COP28 climate conference on 3 December 2023. This development is noteworthy as the Singapore-Asia Taxonomy is the world’s first multi-sector transition taxonomy for defining green and transition activities across eight key sectors, namely: (1) energy; (2) industrial; (3) carbon capture and sequestration; (4) agriculture and forestry; (5) construction and real estate; (6) waste and circular economy; (7) information and communications technology; and (8) transportation. The Singapore-Asia Taxonomy uses the traffic lights system of “green” (environmentally sustainable), “amber” (transition) and “ineligible” to classify activities based on their contribution to the taxonomy’s environmental objectives, currently focused on climate change mitigation. We previously reported on the work leading up to the finalisation of the Singapore-Asia Taxonomy here and here.Continue Reading Singapore Launches World’s First Multi-Sector Transition Taxonomy

This mini Q&A series will follow COP28, providing you with a quick and easy way to stay informed as the discussion evolves. Our coverage will highlight significant and recent developments from a legal perspective, allowing you to assess the impact of these on your business. 

In this video, Tim Baines (Environmental partner, London, and founding

Plastic pollution is a global environmental problem. To combat this issue, the United Nations Environment Assembly passed a resolution in March 2022 to develop a draft global agreement on plastic pollution by the end of 2024 (reported here). The third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee recently concluded in Nairobi, Kenya with the next session scheduled in April 2024 in Ottawa, Canada. Further, in April 2023, the international non-profit organisation, CDP, added plastic-related impacts to its global disclosure platform for companies and governments (reported here).

In Hong Kong, waste plastics continue to make up around 20% of municipal household solid waste disposal. To address growing concerns over the harmful effects of plastic waste on the environment and public health, the Hong Kong government recently passed the Product Eco-responsibility (Amendment) Bill 2023 (the “Bill“) to introduce regulations on disposable plastic tableware and other common plastic products, some of which will be banned from sale or free distribution in the coming year. Consequently, businesses in the food and beverage and hospitality industries will have to adapt their business operations. Hong Kong residents and visitors must also modify their consumption habits accordingly.Continue Reading Hong Kong Promotes Product Eco-Responsibility: New Regulations on Disposable Plastic Products

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

Brazil’s draft Sustainable Taxonomy Action Plan (the Action Plan), prepared by the Ministry of Finance, is currently under public consultation and receiving contributions and comments for its improvement. The deadline for taking part in the public consultation is October 20, 2023.

The development of a sustainable taxonomy seeks to address Brazil’s main environmental and social

On 12 September 2023, Brazil´s Attorney General Office, representing the Brazilian Federal Environmental Agency, filed a climate litigation lawsuit against a livestock farmer, seeking compensation for the deforestation of the Amazon Forest between 2003 and 2016.

This blog post provides a brief overview on this new lawsuit, which further strengthens a new trend for climate litigation in Brazil.Continue Reading New lawsuit filed by Brazil’s Federal Government further strengthens climate litigation trends against private entities in Brazil

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