The sheer volume of capital flows into sustainable, or ESG-focused, funds and products over recent months reflects the rapidly increasing number of investors with ESG-related preferences, or demands, when selecting those investments.  Evaluating, and comparing, the ESG credentials of different investment products presents significant difficulties, however, in circumstances where information and disclosures about those products – and even the terminology used – are, at best, inconsistent, and often incomplete; and, at worst, may attract accusations of “greenwashing”, by using marketing materials to mislead investors about the ESG approaches used in their products.

Continue Reading The CFA Institute releases Global ESG Disclosure Standards for Investment Products

Climate change could have serious impacts on the mortgage industry, and stakeholders should take action now. That is the recent urgent message from federal regulators and mortgage industry stakeholders.

Recent reports and initiatives from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America, the White House, the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs

On 22 October 2021, the three European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, EIOPA and ESMA – the “ESAs“) delivered to the European Commission the expected Final Report with draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) with respect to additional pre-contractual and periodic disclosure relating to financial products that make sustainable investments contributing to environmental objectives (“Draft SFDR Amendment RTS” – JC 2021 50). By virtue of such new draft rules, the EU will regulate the market by establishing standardized disclosures.

Under a formalistic approach, such new Draft SFDR Amendment RTS as level 2 measures under the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (“SFDR“, Regulation (EU) 2019/2088) aim to

  • provide disclosures to end investors regarding the investments of financial products in environmentally sustainable economic activities;
  • provide end investors with comparable information to make informed investment choices; and
  • establish a single rulebook for sustainability disclosures under the SFDR and the Taxonomy Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2020/852).


Continue Reading New EU Rules for Taxonomy-Related Product Disclosures

With the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (also known as COP26) coming to Glasgow later this month and amid numerous occurrences of extreme weather, there has been an increased global focus on climate change recently which is reflected in the financial markets. By some estimates, the sustainable finance market grew by almost 30% in 2020. Derivatives linked to ESG objectives have been around for several years, but this previously niche marketplace is growing, reinforcing the idea that derivatives have a key role to play in the advancement of ESG objectives in the financial markets and the global transition to a green economy.

Continue Reading ESG Derivatives: A Sustainable Trend

This article follows-up on our previous Blog Post exploring the “jargon” of the EU Commission’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), an ambitious political action plan for chemicals regulation in the EU that was released in October 2020.

Today, we are digging into another key concept of the CSS: the concept of “one substance, one assessment” (hereafter referred to as “OSOA“), which is essential for the Commission, and more generally for the European Union, to simplify and consolidate the chemicals legal framework.


Continue Reading Simplifying and Recasting the Assessment of Chemicals in the EU: A Challenge for the Administrative Puzzle

On September 9, 2021, the Biden administration issued a fact sheet (Fact Sheet) describing recent actions that aim to produce 3 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) annually, reduce aviation emissions by 20% by 2030, and grow good-paying, union jobs.

The Fact Sheet notes that “aviation (including all non-military flights within and departing from the United States) represents 11% of United States transportation-related emissions. Without increased action, aviation’s share of emissions is likely to increase as more people and goods fly” and that “President Biden proposed a Sustainable Aviation Fuel tax credit as part of the Build Back Better Agenda. This credit will help cut costs and rapidly scale domestic production of sustainable fuels for aviation. The proposed tax credit requires at least a 50% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and offers increased incentive for greater reductions.”

In this Blog Post, we highlight important aspects of the Fact Sheet, as well as related initiatives from the US Department of Energy (DOE) in support of SAF development in the United States.


Continue Reading Biden Administration Acts to Spur Sustainable Aviation

The Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI), a global task force initiated to monitor the integrity of voluntary markets for the purchase and sale of carbon offset credits, held a global launch event and issued its consultation report (VCMI Report) in late July. The VCMI Report seeks to provide further guidance

On June 24, 2021, US Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued a Withhold Release Order (“WRO”) on silica-based products made by Hoshine Silicon Industry Co., Ltd. (“Hoshine”), a company located in Xinjiang, and its subsidiaries. This WRO is based on information that CBP alleges “reasonably indicates” that Hoshine used forced labor to manufacture silica-based products. As a result, CBP personnel at all US ports of entry have been instructed to immediately begin detaining shipments that contain silica-based products made by Hoshine or materials and goods derived from or produced using those silica-based products. China is by far the world’s largest producer of silicon and silica-based products.

Continue Reading US Customs Issues WRO on Silica-based Products Produced by Xinjiang Manufacturer

This article is the first in a series, which we introduced in a previous Blog Post, exploring the “jargon” of the EU Commission’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), an ambitious political action plan for chemicals regulation in the EU that was released in October 2020.

As part of this political initiative toward a profound reshape of the existing chemicals regulatory framework, the concept of “safe and sustainable by design” is fairly innovative and could well become one of the pillars of chemicals regulation in the EU. In a nutshell, the Commission calls in its CSS for a “transition” to chemicals that are safe and sustainable by design in order to reconcile the societal value of chemicals with human health and planetary boundaries. The Commission presents the “sustainable-by-design” concept as a holistic approach to achieve these objectives: it seeks to integrate “safety, circularity, energy efficiency and functionality of chemicals, materials, products, and processes throughout their life cycle and minimiz[e] the environmental footprint”. It is aimed at constituting an overarching concept, i.e., a guiding principle in the regulation of the chemicals sector.

This ambitious goal will have important concrete consequences for the industry. At the same time the safe and sustainable by design approach is advocated by the EU executive as an opportunity for the European industry to act as frontrunner in a stammering race for the production and use of safe and sustainable chemicals.

Continue reading for more information on the current state of play regarding “safe and sustainable by design”, the development of this important concept and next steps for related regulatory and political action.


Continue Reading “Safe and Sustainable by Design”: The Inception of a Possible Game-Changer in the Regulation of Chemicals in the EU

On May 4, 2021, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) released the details of its Green and Sustainable Finance Grant Scheme (GSF Grant Scheme), which will consolidate Hong Kong’s existing Pilot Bond Grant Scheme and Green Bond Grant Scheme into one new program. According to the Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr. Eddie Yue:

“The global green bond market has grown from practically non-existent ten years ago to US$270 billion in 2020.  In Hong Kong, we have taken early and proactive steps to strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a regional green and sustainable finance hub, including the issuance of two rounds of Government green bonds since 2019 and the establishment of the Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group to coordinate cross-agency market development efforts.  The launch of a new [GSF] Grant Scheme to support green and sustainable bond issuance and lending will further enrich the green and sustainable finance ecosystem in Hong Kong.”

Continue reading for more details on the GSF Grant Scheme.


Continue Reading Hong Kong’s New Green And Sustainable Finance Grant Scheme Begins May 10