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

As businesses emerge from COVID with a significant amount of corporate debt, the landscape in the financial markets has also evolved: The focus on ESG issues has intensified. We have seen institutional investors demand more in these areas, in terms of both disclosures and concrete targets, from banks and funds.

Meanwhile, emerging regulations and reforms

The EU Green Deal announces the circular economy goal, which can only be achieved with the full mobilization of society and industry through the implementation of an integral EU policy for sustainability. Products and services should progressively become more “sustainable”, “environmentally friendly” and “green” and, ultimately, more respectful to the environment and society.

In line with this new trend, more and more companies advertise their products using a wide variety of “sustainability” and “green claims” (we note that the two terms do not have the same meaning, but will not focus on this distinction in the present short overview). Consumers often report being lost when navigating among all these numerous ecological labels, sustainability certification schemes and various self-made claims. Inevitably, this difficulty has a negative impact on brand credibility, the level playing field among the operators on the market and the overall level of consumer trust.

In such context, the European Commission has announced that companies will soon have to substantiate any sustainability or green claims they use in line with new harmonized EU rules and, most likely, a standard EU methodology capable of assessing, in a uniform manner, the impacts of products and services on the environment. These rules may also be accompanied by specific EU measures against “greenwashing”, possibly including sanctions. The forthcoming legislation should ensure fair competition on the EU market and boost the consumers’ trust.

In this Blog Post, we discuss important considerations for any company advertising sustainability or green claims, as well as the coming EU regulation in this space.


Continue Reading Advertising “Sustainability” and “Green Claims” in Products and Services in the EU: Fancy Commercial Practice Can Be a Real Legal Challenge

On April 15, 2021, General Mills, a leading global food company, announced that it had closed the first-ever sustainability-linked loan (SLL) facility for a US consumer packaged goods company.

The $2.7 billion five-year multi-currency revolving credit facility (RCF) was arranged by Bank of America (which acts as administrative agent) and syndicated to a significant number of banks and other lenders.

The RCF was filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and includes a matrix that will adjust the applicable interest rate and fees under the RCF based on General Mills’ reductions in its greenhouse gas emissions in owned operations (i.e., only Scope 1 and 2 emissions) and its use of renewable electricity for global operations.


Continue Reading US Interest in Sustainability-Linked Loans on the Rise

On April 9, 2021, the Division of Examinations of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a Risk Alert that highlighted its observations from its recent examinations of investment advisers, registered investment companies and private funds offering ESG products and services. The Risk Alert also provides observations of effective practices.

ESG investing