On 16 May 2024, the UK Government published an implementation update on its development of economy-wide sustainability disclosure requirements (the “Implementation Update“). The Implementation Update, which the UK Government committed to publishing in its 2023 Green Finance Strategy (which you can read more about here), discusses:

  1. its endorsement of the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards;
  2. transition plan disclosures;
  3. the Financial Conduct Authority’s (“FCA“) Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (“SDR“) and investment labels regime;
  4. the UK Green Taxonomy; and
  5. nature-related disclosures.

Continue Reading UK government publishes implementation update in relation to sustainability disclosures

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA“) has announced that three fashion retailers have signed voluntary undertakings to ensure that consumers have a clearer idea of how green their clothes really are. At the end of March 2024, ASOS, Boohoo and George at Asda committed to only make green claims about their products

On 23 April 2024, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA“) published its “Finalised non‑handbook guidance on the Anti‑Greenwashing Rule (FG/24/3)” (the “Guidance“). The FCA has published the Guidance to help in-scope firms understand and comply with the anti-greenwashing rule, which will come into effect on 31 May 2024.Continue Reading UK Financial Conduct Authority publishes finalised guidance on its Anti-Greenwashing rule

The UK Government launched a Consultation on the introduction of a UK CBAM on 21 March 2024.  The Consultation closes on 13 June 2024.  This follows the announcement, in December 2023, that the UK would implement a UK CBAM similar to the EU CBAM which came into effect on 1 October 2023.

In this update

The recent decision (20 February 2024) of the High Court in R (Rights Community Action) v Secretary of State is a rare example of an NGO succeeding in a climate change legal action under English law.  In the case, Rights Community Action persuaded the High Court to overturn a finding by the Secretary of State’s Planning Inspectors that a local authority’s “net zero” policy was unlawful.Continue Reading NGO successfully challenges planning inspectors’ report on energy performance standards

On 20 December 2023, the Council of the EU reached an agreement on its negotiating mandate on a proposal for a regulation on ESG ratings  (the “Proposed EU Regulation“). This builds on the European Commission’s proposal, which was published on 13 June 2023.

The EU’s desire to regulate ESG rating agencies is a response to increasing concerns from a variety of stakeholders about the reliability, comparability and transparency of ESG ratings and the data behind these ratings.Continue Reading Council of the EU agrees on proposal to regulate ESG ratings providers

Most UK climate litigation concerns challenges to the decisions of public authorities on projects with environmental effects or policies being adopted by Government that can have significant impacts on the environment.

A series of five recent decisions in the courts – all of which have rejected challenges based on climate grounds – show that the UK courts are extremely reluctant to call into question the decisions of national or local public authorities in the case of individual projects.  However, as we will see, there is room for challenges to be successful in limited circumstances which we consider below.Continue Reading A Wrap-Up of Recent UK Climate Change Litigation

On 28 November 2023, Baroness Young of Hornsey introduced the Commercial Organisations and Public Authorities Duty (Human Rights and Environment) Bill (the “Bill”) to the House of Lords.  If passed, the Bill would introduce mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence (“HREDD”) into UK law.

The description of “reasonable” HREDD set out in the Bill is consistent with the standards set out in the UN Guiding Principles and existing and draft legislation in other jurisdictions (including the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, “CS3D”, as outlined in our previous blog here).  Companies with international footprints, including through their direct operations and supply chains, should already have in place a plan to implement enterprise HREDD processes that meet existing soft law standards and emerging hard law HREDD requirements.

While it is unclear whether the Bill would be supported by the UK Government, companies should already be taking steps to anticipate and prepare for HREDD.  The direction of travel is undoubtedly trending towards HREDD legislation and stakeholder expectations around how companies should respond continue to increase.  In particular, several jurisdictions have already adopted laws that require companies to identify, address, prevent, mitigate and remedy harms in their operations and supply chains (e.g. France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands) in advance of CS3D which will directly apply to many large non-EU based companies given its broad extraterritorial application, while others are considering such laws (e.g. CS3D) (e.g., see our previous blogs here and here).Continue Reading Business and Human Rights – could the UK adopt mandatory human rights due diligence?

On 28 November 2023, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA“) published its “Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (“SDR“) and investment labels” policy statement (PS23/16) (the “Policy Statement“). The Policy Statement introduces a set of new rules aimed at tackling greenwashing, including investment product sustainability labels and restrictions on how terms

Our international ESG team has been keeping an eye on what’s going on with regards to green taxonomies. With so much activity already this year, we summarize some of the key developments below.

EU

We recently published this reminder of the EU’s taxonomy framework. Our publication is particularly relevant to non-EU groups with large subsidiaries