On February 17, 2023, the Securities Commission Malaysia (“SC”) published the revised Guidelines on Sustainable and Responsible Investment Funds (“Guidelines”) setting out the reporting and disclosure requirements for a fund to qualify as a Sustainable and Responsible Investment (“SRI”) Fund and, under a new chapter added to the Guidelines
ESG and climate change – new Pensions Regulator campaign
The Pensions Regulator has launched a campaign to ensure that trustees are meeting their ESG and climate change reporting obligations.
Trustees of occupational pension schemes with 100+ members are required to prepare:
- A statement of investment principles (“SIP”) which, among other things, must include the trustees’ policy in relation to financially material ESG and climate change considerations.
- An annual implementation statement setting out how certain aspects of the SIP have been followed during the scheme year.
Both documents must be published on a website that is accessible free of charge by the general public. Trustees must report on compliance with this obligation in the scheme return.…
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The Rise of ESG and What HR Professionals in Germany Should Do to Keep Up
Both the financial sector and the real economy are faced with increased regulatory requirements and expectations of various stakeholders to meet ESG criteria, which are a benchmark for sustainability and sustainable investments. A high ESG rating not only promotes corporate policy, but also serves the profit interest of investors.
Currently, in the EU only capital…
Climate performance – FTSE4Good Index looks to hold companies to higher environmental standards
FTSE Russell – a leading provider of benchmarks that are used extensively by investors across the globe – has removed 34 companies from the FTSE4 Good All-World benchmark (the “FTSE4Good Index”). The companies were removed for failing to meet climate performance standards imposed by the newly introduced ‘Climate Change Score’ system, which is based on parameters created by the Transition Pathway Initiative (“TPI”), an initiative backed by 132 investors with over US$50 trillion in assets under management.…
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Analysis of ESG Practice Disclosure by Hong Kong Stock Exchange
On November 25, 2022, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (SEHK) published a report on its analysis of ESG practice disclosure in Hong Kong (the Report). The Report sets out the SEHK’s findings of their review of compliance by Hong Kong issuers of the new ESG requirements implemented in July 2020, which focused on board governance, climate change, and other ESG issues (2020 Enhancements). We reported here on the related amendments to the SEHK’s Corporate Governance Code and the Listing Rules addressing the link between ESG and good corporate governance, ESG reporting and gender diversity.…
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DOL Finalizes Rule Regarding ESG Investing and Proxy Voting by Plan Fiduciaries
On November 22, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) published a regulation entitled “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights” (the “Final Rule”). The Final Rule follows proposed rules regarding ESG investing and proxy voting by plan fiduciaries, issued on October 14, 2021 (the “Proposed Rule”) and amends prior regulations on the same topic issued by the DOL under President Trump in 2020 (the “2020 Rule”).
In the Final Rule, the DOL repeatedly emphasized that the regulation was primarily aimed at removing and remedying the chilling effect on ESG investing by plan fiduciaries created by the 2020 Rule. While the Final Rule takes a more permissive stance on the consideration of climate change and other ESG factors in investment decisions by plan fiduciaries than the 2020 Rule, the DOL cautioned that a plan fiduciary should not subordinate the interests of plan participants and beneficiaries to any collateral benefits (i.e., ESG objectives).
The Final Rule largely tracks the Proposed Rule, with a few notable exceptions summarized below.…
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ESG continues to be a SEC enforcement focus
On November 15, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published a press release providing an overview of its 2022 enforcement activities. The SEC stated that it had filed 760 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2022, which was a 9% increase from last year. The civil penalties, disgorgement, and pre-judgment interest ordered in SEC actions were $6.44 billion, the most in the SEC’s history and almost double the amount from fiscal year 2021. Of the total money ordered, civil penalties, which totaled $4.194 billion, were the highest on record.…
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HKMA’s Report on Greenwashing in the Corporate Bond Markets – spotting the bad apples and ways to mitigate the damage
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”) released a research report last week showing evidence that about one-third of global corporate green bond issuers are reaping the benefits of issuing green bonds without cutting down their greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. This type of ‘greenwashing’ behaviour impedes progress on combating climate change and…
COP27 Postscript – much ado about nothing?
COP27 has now come to a close. Against the global backdrop of political and economic turbulence, many questions were asked as to what could realistically be expected as outcomes of COP27. We now have the answers to those questions.…
Observations from the COP27 Halfway Point
We are half way through COP27, so (disregarding the intersessionals that will take place during 2023), the negotiations will “soon” start to focus on Dubai, the venue for next year’s COP28 summit. Who knows how much progress will be made before then. One point to note is that COP27 is more of an “implementation” COP, rather than one with a more grandiose task, such as ramping up climate ambition.…