This month, the American Bar Association (the “ABA“) published a Report on its suggested Model Contract Clauses to Protect Workers in International Supply Chains (the “MCCs“).

While the MCCs are not put forward as a binding standard, they do provide food for thought for companies who are seeking to align their supply chain contracts with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the “UNGPs“), and the increasing tide of mandatory human rights due diligence legislation (see more on this impending legislation here).

Key takeaways:

  1. The aim of the MCCs is to align drafting in international supply chain contracts with existing human rights due diligence standards and obligations, with a view to providing “operational guidance for mapping, identifying and addressing human rights risks at every tier of the supply chain” and seeking to help companies “implement healthy corporate policies in their supply chains in a way that is both legally effective and operationally likely.”
  2. In aligning supply chain contracts with existing obligations and requiring reasonable due diligence by both contract parties, the MCCs seek to address what could be considered an imbalance in the typical negotiation of supply chain contracts where, traditionally, a buyer has tended to shift all responsibility for human rights issues to the supplier.
  3. The publication of the MCCs pose some interesting considerations for buyers negotiating supply chain contracts. For example, to what extent is it reasonable for the supply chain contract to reflect the stance that abuses of workers’ rights occurring in global supply chains is a shared responsibility of both buyers and suppliers? The cooperative approach submitted is very different to the traditional oppositional relationship between buyer and supplier, where buyers seek to ensure that any and all responsibility for adherence to prescribed human rights standards falls to suppliers by requiring representations and warranties from suppliers on a “strict liability” basis.


Continue Reading Human Rights Due Diligence in Supply Chain Contracts: A Shared Responsibility of Buyer and Supplier?

Amidst the global surge in interest around ESG investing, asset owners with diversified, global portfolios must understand the specific ESG risks that may apply to investments in different regions and industries, as well as the variety of approaches to ESG risk mitigation across public and private markets.

Southeast Asia is a particularly attractive region for

On March 10, 2021, the UK government concluded its public consultation on climate risk regulations under the Pension Schemes Act 2021. The government is now analyzing public feedback and preparing consultation conclusions.

In a new podcast, Mayer Brown Counsel Beth Brown provides background on the Pension Schemes Act 2021 and outlines the regulations in the

Camellia plc and certain of its subsidiary companies have recently settled legal claims in the United Kingdom based on allegations against two businesses in Camellia plc’s African operations, namely Kakuzi in Kenya and EPM in Malawi. The claimants – supported by the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and the Ndula Resources Centre – had alleged personal injuries suffered by local residents in Kenya allegedly carried out by security guards employed by Kakuzi in Kenya and sexual harassment and gender-based violence suffered by EPM’s female employees in Malawi. These claims have now been resolved at settlements costing up to £4.6m in relation to the Kenyan claims, and £2.3m in relation to the Malawian claims (see Camellia’s trading statement here).

The settlement highlights the role and importance of remedial community measures and Operational-level Grievance Mechanisms, as well as the increased exposure to litigation of parent companies for human rights related failures by their subsidiaries (for further examples, see our coverage here and here).


Continue Reading Business and Human Rights: Operational-level Grievance Mechanisms Form Part of Camellia plc’s Settlement of Claims in Connection with Operations in Kenya and Malawi

On March 25, 2021, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) issued for public comment “Proposed Guidance for New York Domestic Insurers on Managing the Financial Risks of Climate Change” (Guidance). Comments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, and must be made

With the advancing wave of mandatory human rights laws (see our previous Blog Posts here and here) and the increasing focus from investors and other stakeholders on human rights (see our previous Blog Post), it is ever more incumbent on companies to take demonstrable steps to identify, assess and mitigate actual or potential human rights harms.  This includes taking steps to ensure that no forced labor takes place within an organization or, increasingly, its supply chain.

Indeed, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include specific targets relating to forced labor.  In particular, the SDGs call for (i) the elimination of all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation (SDG 5.2) and (ii) immediate and effective measures to eradicate inter alia forced labor (SDG 8.7).

But what indicators of forced labor should companies look out for?


Continue Reading Business and Human Rights: What Are The Key Indicators of Forced Labor?

On March 1, 2021, the European Banking Authority (EBA) released its consultation regarding draft technical standards for Pillar 3 disclosures of ESG risks, including reporting templates and instructions.

The European Union’s Capital Requirements Regulation (EU) No. 575/2013 (CRR) includes under Article 449a the requirement to disclose prudential information on ESG

The UK Supreme Court has handed down its judgment in the case of Okpabi and others v Royal Dutch Shell Plc and another.  Although the judgment made no substantive findings on the facts of the dispute, the Supreme Court’s decision raised important issues with regard to the circumstances in which a parent company will be held liable for the actions of its subsidiary – including in relation to ESG-related harms, such as environmental damage.

Continue Reading UK Supreme Court Clarifies Parent Company Liability for ESG-Related Harms Caused by Foreign Subsidiaries

The UK’s Pension Schemes Act 2021 recently received Royal Assent on February 11, 2021. The Act addresses a range of initiatives intended to strengthen protections for pension scheme members, including a framework for new climate risk-related governance and reporting requirements for trustees of larger pension schemes.

The government is currently consulting on the details of

In a keynote speech at the recent Climate Risk and Green Finance Regulatory Forum 2021, Ashley Alder, the Chair of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), addressed the “urgent need to retool the financial system to address the threat of climate change.” According to Mr. Alder:

“we are now in a crucial few months which will set the direction for years to come.”

Mr. Alder proceeded to highlight key climate-related issues that IOSCO is now addressing at a global level, effectively outlining the future of climate risk regulation by securities regulators. In this Blog Post, we discuss some of the key statements from Mr. Alder’s speech that foreshadow regulatory initiatives to come, as well as practical takeaways for market participants.


Continue Reading IOSCO Chair Outlines the Future of Climate Risk Regulation