On December 16, 2021, the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released draft principles for managing exposures to climate-related financial risks (Climate Principles). The OCC regulates national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations.

The Climate Principles are targeted at banks with

On November 8, 2021, the acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Michael J. Hsu, issued a call to action on climate change to the boards of directors of OCC-regulated banks. Specifically, he outlined an initial series of climate change-related questions that boards should be asking bank management

Climate change could have serious impacts on the mortgage industry, and stakeholders should take action now. That is the recent urgent message from federal regulators and mortgage industry stakeholders.

Recent reports and initiatives from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America, the White House, the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs

Timed to coincide with the opening of COP26—the UN Climate Change Conference—and citing his prior commitment to cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50-52 percent by 20301 and achieving a net-zero economy by 2050, on November 1, 2021, President Biden announced the launch of the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience

On October 21, 2021, the United States Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) released its 133-page report on Climate-Related Financial Risk (Report) and related Factsheet. The Report discusses how climate-related financial risks can implicate financial stability and declares climate-related finance risk as an emerging threat to financial stability. In a new

On October 14, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) published a proposed regulation entitled “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights” (the “Proposed Rule”).  The Proposed Rule is the latest in a series of DOL guidance and regulations regarding a plan fiduciary’s consideration of environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors when making investment decisions for ERISA plans and the exercise of shareholder rights by such plans. The Proposed Rule follows prior regulations issued by the DOL under President Trump in 2020 regarding both ESG (the “2020 ESG Rule”) and proxy voting (the “2020 Proxy Rule,” together with the 2020 ESG Rule, the “2020 Rules”). The 2020 Rules themselves followed a series of sub-regulatory guidance by the DOL, which issued guidance on these topics under each of the Clinton[1], Bush[2], Obama[3] and Trump[4] administrations. While the bedrock principals under the guidance largely remained unchanged, the gloss and tenor of the guidance has shifted, depending upon the political views of the White House’s then-current occupant.

Continue Reading US Regulator Shifts Toward Favorable View on ESG Investing and the Exercise of Shareholder Rights in New Regulation

In September, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed the omnibus, 956-page climate and energy legislative package titled the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (the “CEJA”). The CEJA has an immediate effective date. In a Legal Update, we cover the amendments the CEJA makes to Illinois law with respect to decarbonization of the electric generation

The European Union’s recent passage of its Sustainability Financial Disclosure Regulation marks yet another milestone in the progression of ESG matters. In a new article in The Secured Lender, we review this regulation and related ESG disclosure requirements, together with other notable ESG developments out of Japan and the United States, and discuss their

The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Corporation Finance (Division) published a sample letter with comments that the Staff intends to issue to public companies regarding their climate change disclosures—or lack thereof—in SEC filings. As explained in a prior Mayer Brown post, Commissioner Lee, when she was Acting Chair of the SEC earlier this year, directed the Staff to increase its attention on the ways in which public companies implement the SEC’s 2010 Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change, which provides direction to companies regarding the SEC rules that may require disclosure about climate change, despite the fact that climate change is not explicitly referenced in the existing rules.

The SEC’s disclosure requirements are largely principles-based and may require different information from different companies, including climate change-related information.


Continue Reading US SEC Division of Corporation Finance Publishes Sample Letter to Companies Regarding Climate Change Disclosures

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