“Delivering effective corporate governance practices and ESG measures is more than a box-ticking exercise. The change needs to begin with a shift of mindset at the top of the organisations.” – SEHK, December 2021

On December 10, 2021, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (SEHK) published the conclusions from its April 2021 consultation on amendments to the SEHK’s Corporate Governance Code (the Code) and Listing Rules intended to promote good corporate governance practices among listed companies and IPO applicants. The final amendments address a range of topics that could significantly change the way that the boards of covered entities operate, including with respect to gender diversity, ESG reporting timelines and the role that ESG plays in corporate governance structures and processes.

In this Blog Post, we highlight final amendments to the Code and the Listing Rules addressing the link between ESG and good corporate governance, ESG reporting and gender diversity at both the board and workforce levels.


Continue Reading ESG and Gender Diversity Requirements Finalized for Listed Companies and IPO Applicants in Hong Kong

On November 26, 2021, Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA) advanced the Special Administrative Region’s sustainable finance strategy with new Principles for Adopting Sustainable Investing in the Investment and Risk Management Processes of MPF Funds (the Principles). The Principles lay out a high-level ESG integration framework for trustees of Mandatory Provident Funds (MPF), the investment vehicles for the Hong Kong’s mandatory retirement protection scheme, across four key elements: governance, strategy, risk management and disclosure.

In this Blog Post, we provide a brief overview of the Principles and highlight each element, as well as important next steps for MPF trustees. We also provide guidance on how companies are already implementing ESG frameworks similar to the Principles.


Continue Reading Hong Kong Regulator Issues Sustainable Investing Principles for Pension Fund Trustees

On November 8, 2021, the acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Michael J. Hsu, issued a call to action on climate change to the boards of directors of OCC-regulated banks. Specifically, he outlined an initial series of climate change-related questions that boards should be asking bank management

Many factors are putting pressure on corporates and financial institutions to address climate change. The UK is currently rolling out mandatory economy-wide disclosure in accordance with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Recommendations. Beyond this lies immense investor and stakeholder pressure, including by way of shareholder resolutions, and increased media, NGO

In September 2021, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) published a briefing entitled “Social Audit Liability: Hard law strategies to redress weak social assurances” (the “Briefing”).

The Briefing contends that the existing model of social auditing is inadequate and that social auditing is not a substitute for human rights due diligence (see our previous Blog Post).  Among other things, the Briefing reflects on the failure of social audits to detect human rights abuse in the past and on the potential flaws in certification schemes.  Ultimately, the Briefing argues that companies should not solely rely on social audits and certifications and should instead adopt a “transformative approach” to human rights due diligence which goes beyond social auditing.


Continue Reading Business and Human Rights: The Case to Look Beyond Social Auditing

It was recently reported, on 8 September 2021, that investors managing USD 2.3 trillion in assets called for standardised climate and environmental disclosure from more than 1,000 privately held portfolio companies.  The investors, who joined a growing chorus advocating for improved disclosures around environmental issues, requested the private companies to provide such data through the non-profit disclosure platform, CDP, which provides a mechanism for climate disclosures that align with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).  The TCFD recommendations were published in June 2017, and have accelerated the focus on climate disclosures by providing the leading framework for disclosures relating to the financial impacts of climate-related risks.

But what are the TCFD recommendations, and how can companies prepare for reporting in compliance with them?


Continue Reading TCFD Recommendations: An Update on Climate Disclosures

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (“IPCC Report“), published on 9 August 2021, delivered the starkest warning to date that human activity is responsible for significant changes in the Earth’s climate.  The attention of the world’s scientific, political, and business communities, and of society at large, is increasingly focused

On August 20, 2021, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) published its conclusions (the “Consultation Conclusions“) from last year’s consultation (the “Consultation“) on proposed amendments to the Fund Manager Code of Conduct (FMCC) that will require fund managers to consider climate-related risks in their governance, investment and risk management processes. The Consultation Conclusions set out the SFC’s analysis of the responses to the Consultation, as well as the final amendments to the FMCC that will require fund managers to implement a range of climate-related practices as early as August 20, 2022.

In this Blog Post, we provide a high-level overview of the amendments to the FMCC and highlight key takeaways from the Consultation Conclusions as Hong Kong enters a new phase of sustainable fund management.


Continue Reading Hong Kong SFC Finalizes Climate Risk Requirements for Fund Managers

On August 6, 2021, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved Nasdaq’s board diversity rule. Nasdaq originally proposed its rule in December 2020 and subsequently amended the proposal to reflect feedback submitted by commenters.

The rule requires Nasdaq-listed companies to have, or explain why they do not have, at least two diverse

On 8 April 2021, we discussed in our blog post the UK government’s consultation on the draft climate risk regulations under the Pension Schemes Act 2021. The government has recently published a response to the draft regulations, the finalised regulations and the accompanying statutory guidance. The new regulations will apply to trustees of larger