On 25 January 2023, the new CEO of the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”), Sarah Cardell, set out one way in which the CMA will seek to ensure that the UK’s transition to a net zero economy will not be held up by competition law concerns. Significantly, Sarah Cardell again emphasised that environmental sustainability is a strategic priority for the CMA. This is an invitation for businesses to start pushing harder on the CMA’s open door, for which Mayer Brown’s ESG team is on hand to help.

Continue Reading Climate change: the CMA’s open door

On 26 January 2023, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA“) announced that it intends to investigate the accuracy of environmental claims made by businesses in the fast-moving consumer goods (“FMCG”) sector. The CMA has stated that it will examine claims made both online and in-store about household products – such as food and drink, cleaning, homecare and self-care products – to determine whether they comply with UK consumer protection law.

The investigation of goods in the FMCG sector will expand the scope of the CMA’s ongoing anti-greenwashing work, which has the ultimate aim of ensuring products and services that claim to be ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’ are being marketed to consumers accurately.

Continue Reading Greenwashing: UK competition watchdog to investigate the FMCG sector

On 31 January 2023, the UK Government published its Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 (the “EIP”), detailing how it plans to restore nature and improve environmental quality in the UK. In particular, the EIP proposes new commitments to upgrade wastewater treatment works, restore wildlife and promote nature-friendly farming practices. These new commitments underpin the ambitious international targets agreed at the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 in December 2022, which the UK Government helped deliver (for further information about COP15, read our earlier blog post here).

The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has said that the EIP “provides the blueprint for how we deliver our commitment to leave our environment in a better state than we found it, making sure we drive forward progress with renewed ambition and achieve our target of not just halting, but reversing the decline of nature“.

Continue Reading UK Government publishes refreshed plans to improve environmental quality and reverse nature decline

On 24 January 2023, each of the European Parliament’s trade committee and economic affairs committee reached agreed positions on the financial aspects of the draft Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (the “Draft Directive”). The agreed positions mark a departure from the European Commission’s and the Council of the European Union’s previous positions on the

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.

Continue Reading Climate performance – FTSE4Good Index looks to hold companies to higher environmental standards

On January 17, 2023, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“Federal Reserve”) launched its pilot climate scenario analysis exercise (“CSA”) by publishing instructions for the six US banking organizations that will participate.

As part of the CSA, participating organizations will submit data templates, supporting documentation, and responses to qualitative questions to the

By far the largest focus in recent years in terms of ‘responsible investment’ has been on the ‘Environment’ limb of ESG. The UN Principles of Responsible Investment (“PRI“) – an international organisation working to encourage the integration of ESG factors into investment decision making – is now seeking to change this with the launch of its ‘Advance‘ initiative, which is a “collaborative stewardship initiative where institutional investors work together to take action on human rights and social issues”. This forms part of a renewed effort to reinvigorate the ‘Social’ and ‘Governance’ limbs to ESG and bring social initiatives to the forefront of ‘responsible investing’.

Continue Reading Business and human rights: investors commit to action on human rights and social issues via the world’s largest human rights stewardship initiative

On December 27, the Brazilian Presidency issued Provisional Measure No. 1,151/2022, which, among other provisions, amended Laws No. 11,284/2006 (Public Forests Management Act) and 11,516/2007 (ICMBio Creation Act) to enable the development of carbon credit projects and other environmental services in conservation units, through concessions.

Continue reading at Mayerbrown.com.

The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) is taking place in Montreal, Canada, until next Monday (December 19).  It has been attracting much attention due to negotiations on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), which is hoped to be agreed upon in the next few days. This would be an important milestone has base been described as the “biodiversity equivalent of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change”.  The aims is to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and establish long-term goals by 2050.

Continue Reading Observations from the COP15 (Biodiversity Conference) Halfway Point

On December 8, 2022, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (“BCBS”) released guidance to clarify how climate-related financial risks may be captured in existing capital and liquidity requirements for banking organizations (“Climate FAQs”). The Climate FAQs are noteworthy because they indicate that standard setters believe climate-related financial risks should be included in bank capital requirements