On 1 January 2019, the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (MSA 2018) came into force in Australia. The MSA 2018 requires entities based or operating in Australia with an annual consolidated revenue of more than 100 million AUS dollars to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and the actions taken to address those risks. The requirements of the MSA 2018 reflect increasing and strengthening modern slavery obligations around the world (see, for example, our previous Blog Post and earlier Legal Update).

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has published a report (the Report) evaluating the quality and compliance of reporting by companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX200) during the first reporting cycle under the MSA 2018.  The report sets out a number of recommendations, including how companies can improve their disclosures and how investors can exert their influence to encourage best practice in modern slavery reporting.  Although the recommendations are focused on the ASX200 and the MSA 2018, the Report’s findings are of broader relevance to best practice reporting beyond Australia – and will be of interest to all stakeholders concerned with modern slavery reporting and emerging mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence legislation.

Continue Reading Business and Human Rights – Reinforcing Modern Slavery Reporting – Lessons from Australia

On August 25, 2021, the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), acting on behalf of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), filed a consumer protection lawsuit with the Federal Court of Australia in respect of certain ESG related statements made in a gas company’s 2020 Annual Report (the Report).

This is the first lawsuit in the world that challenges the veracity of a company’s net zero emissions target, and in relation to the viability of carbon capture and storage and the environmental impacts of hydrogen as an energy source, increasingly touted as the key elements in gas companies’ pathways toward net zero emissions.

Continue Reading World-first Lawsuit Over Clean Energy and Zero Emissions Claims