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
Business and Human Rights: Corporate Human Rights Benchmark 2022 shows that corporate respect for human rights has gained momentum
On 21 November 2022, the World Benchmarking Alliance – a non-profit organisation that develops benchmarks to hold companies to account for their part in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – published its 2022 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Insights Report (the “2022 Report“).
Compared to previous iterations (which we have discussed in a previous blog post here), the 2022 Report devotes more attention to companies’ efforts to ensure that human rights are respected within their operations and supply chains, rather than simply focussing on the human rights-related commitments that companies have made. The 2022 Report also focusses on companies’ stakeholder engagement, their business models, strategies and risks, and whether they prohibit forms of forced labour.
In applying this revised methodology, the 2022 Report concludes that companies are better recognising their human rights-related responsibilities and have improved their human rights-related risk management strategies. However, the 2022 Report also highlights that the pace of this improvement has been very slow.…
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Business and Human Rights: Supply Chain Due Diligence – Questionnaire for reporting published by German authority
Companies have long been awaiting some more clarity on their reporting obligations vis à vis the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (SCDDA). The BAFA has now shed some light on what is expected of the reporting entities by publishing 38 detailed questions (in addition to some general information on the reporting entity) covering the whole spectrum of due diligence obligations under the SCDDA. …
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Climate Scenario Analysis Exercise Announced by US Federal Reserve
Banking organizations should take note of an announcement last week by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System that it would conduct a climate scenario analysis exercise with six of the largest US banking organizations. This Legal Update provides further detail on this exercise.
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Business and Human Rights: meaningful stakeholder engagement in due diligence
Companies have a substantial impact on human rights when carrying out their business activities. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights set the expectation that companies conduct human rights and environmental due diligence (“HREDD“) with respect to their business activities, which includes assessing and responding to actual and potential human rights issues.
The expectation for companies to conduct HREDD is increasingly becoming mandated by legislators across the globe. For example, in Germany the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act will enter into force on 1 January 2023. It is arguably the most comprehensive law in this area to date, since in-scope companies will have to comprehensively analyse their global supply chains, assess the risks within their supply chains and act accordingly. Further, in the European Union an equivalent directive is upcoming. The European Commission’s draft corporate sustainability and due diligence directive (the “Draft Directive“) – which is anticipated to be adopted in 2023 – sets out a proposed HREDD standard, under which companies will be obliged to identify actual and potential adverse human rights and environmental issues arising from their operations or those of their subsidiaries and, where related to their value chains, from their “established business relationships” (for more information on the Draft Directive, read our earlier blog posts here and here). Involving and engaging stakeholders in a meaningful way will be critical for in-scope companies to successfully implement HREDD processes and ensure compliance with these obligations.
To help companies engage with stakeholders, the UN Global Compact Network Germany (“GCNG“) – an organisation created to assist companies in meeting their human rights-related responsibilities – has recently published its “What makes stakeholder engagement meaningful? 5 insights from practice” report (the “GCNG Report“). The GCNG Report highlights five “selected success factors” that companies can adopt to help ensure their engagement with stakeholders is effective and meaningful.…
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US NAIC Summer 2022 National Meeting Highlights: Collaboration Forum on Algorithmic Bias
At the Summer 2022 National Meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”), the Innovation, Cybersecurity, and Technology (H) Committee and its Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (H) Working Group held their first Collaboration Forum session on the topic of algorithmic bias. The Collaboration Forum was established at the Spring National Meeting as a…
New Allegations in World-first Lawsuit Over Clean Energy and Zero Emissions Claims
On 25 August, 2022, the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (“ACCR”) expanded its case against the Australian gas company, Santos Ltd. (“Santos”), with new and more detailed allegations around greenwashing.
Last year, ACCR filed a consumer protection lawsuit with the Federal Court of Australia regarding certain misleading or deceptive statements Santos…
To ESG or Not: “Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t,” at Least in Some US States
On August 24, 2022, Texas’ comptroller of public accounts released the list of financial companies subject to divestment by Texas state governmental entities unless the companies cease boycotting energy companies. This Legal Update provides further detail on this action and other states’ anti-ESG provisions and notes the risks for the investment industry and investors.
German Supply Chain Due DiligenceBAFA issues first handout on risk analysis
On 17 August 2022, the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle, “BAFA”) has issued its first handout to provide guidance to companies currently implementing a risk management system to comply with the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (“SCDDA”). The document is aptly titled…
The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment publishes its 2022 global trends in climate litigation report
Litigation is increasingly being used as a means of advancing – or delaying – effective climate action.
As discussed in our recent legal update on the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment’s 2021 Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation Policy Report (the “2021 Report“), between 2015 and 2021, there was a marked increase in the number of such climate-related cases being brought against private sector actors. This reflects the growing recognition by prospective litigants of litigation as an effective means of influencing the actions private sector actors are taking to address climate change.
Most recently, the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment’s 2022 Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation Policy Report (the “2022 Report“) confirms that litigation against private sector actors continues to expand as an avenue for climate action. We discuss the trends identified in the 2022 Report in this blog post.…
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