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.

Continue Reading ESG continues to be a SEC enforcement focus

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 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.

Continue Reading COP27 Postscript – much ado about nothing?

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.

Continue Reading Observations from the COP27 Halfway Point

During last year’s COP26, the UK Government announced that it would mandate the disclosure of listed companies’ and financial institutions’ net zero transition plan, and that it would form a taskforce to assist private sector actors in doing so.

Coinciding with the start of COP27, the UK’s Transition Plan Taskforce (“TPT”) – a taskforce with a mandate from His Majesty’s Treasury to help enable private sector actors in the UK create robust climate transition plans to fulfil their net zero commitments – on 8 November 2022, published, for consultation, its new Disclosure Framework for companies to disclose their climate transition plans.

Importantly, the Disclosure Framework draws on existing and emerging disclosure regimes, such as the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (“TCFD”) Recommendations and the International Sustainability Standards Board’s (“ISSB”) Sustainability Disclosure Standards (for more information on the TCFD and ISSB regimes, read our previous blog posts here, here, here and here).

The TPT’s publication of its Disclosure Framework recommendations is supplemented by the TPT’s Implementation Guidance. The Implementation Guidance sets out practical steps to help private sector actors develop climate transition plans, as well as information on when, where and how to disclose such plans.

Continue Reading Climate Disclosure: the UK’s Transition Plan Taskforce launches ‘gold standard’ for climate transition plans

On 28 October 2022, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (“HKEx”) launched Core Climate, an international carbon marketplace designed to allow for the trading of voluntary carbon credits and instruments, which provides a best-in-class, trusted market infrastructure and helps connect capital with climate-related products and opportunities in Hong Kong, Mainland China

To help companies improve their reporting on net zero commitments, the FRC Lab have published its Net zero disclosures report (“the Report”), which provides companies with practical tips and questions to consider when preparing disclosures in their financial reports on net zero and other Greenhouse Gas (“GHG“) reduction commitments.

Continue Reading The UK’s Financial Reporting Council publishes guidance to assist companies reporting on their net zero commitments

Interest in ESG investing continues to attract attention globally as policymakers and regulators around the world implement policies and regulations to direct or guide behavior and protect the interests of a wide range of stakeholders. Against this backdrop, we observe a rising challenge to so-called “woke capitalism”, particularly with the recent wave of anti-ESG sentiment

On October 12, 2022, the Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group (the “Steering Group”) co-chaired by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”) and the Securities and Futures Commission (“SFC”) launched the Sustainable Finance Internship Initiative (the “Initiative”). The Initiative aims to create more internship opportunities in

Investors across the globe are increasingly putting pressure on legislators to mandate human rights and environmental due diligence (“HREDD“). The UK Government has not been immune from such pressure.

As highlighted in our earlier blog post, in early September 2022, a group of 47 companies, investors, business associations and initiatives operating in