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Frameworks for standards for non-financial reporting

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy ("BEIS") has published its Final Report: Frameworks for standards for non-financial reporting ("NFR") (the "Report") which sets out the preferences of key U.K. stakeholders around NFR standards. Whilst established reporting standards and accounting principles for financial reporting are available to businesses, the Report notes there is no equivalent for NFR despite there being a number of key drivers for the publication of this information (set out below) and so, although the purpose of this research is not to endorse a specific framework, BEIS hopes that it may support future studies exploring potential changes to policy in this area.

ICLG: ESG and UK pension schemes - challenges and opportunities

Derivatives & Structured Products Partner, Jonathan Gilmour, and Pensions Partner, Andy Lewis, have jointly contributed to the recently published International Comparative Legal Guide on Environmental, Social & Governance Law 2021, with a chapter on the economic rationale behind ESG investment and the key challenges and opportunities which flow from ESG-related pensions law and regulation

Post-Brexit plans for UK financial services and fintech: overly ambitious or a phoenix from the ashes?

It has been just over a week since Chancellor Rishi Sunak made a statement to Parliament setting out the Government's approach to financial services following the UK's imminent departure from the EU on 31 December; a statement that has since sparked much debate, intrigue and (cautious) excitement in the fintech, market infrastructure and payments space. 

ESG - TCFD and SFDR disclosures: a fork in the road?

The UK government and regulators have jointly announced their approach to implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures within the next five years. Notable by its absence is any explicit mention of the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation which comes into force in March 2021.

Cap on public sector exit payments

The Government has introduced a cap on public sector exit payments which took effect from 4 November 2020. Under the cap, payments by a public sector body in respect of an employee's termination of employment must not exceed £95,000 in total for that employee.

FRC review of 2020 UK Stewardship Code reporting

Following the publication of its 2020 Stewardship Code (which took effect from 1 January 2020), at the end of September the FRC released its review of the early reporting which has taken place under the new Code. While the FRC notes that some firms have made 'good attempts' at early reporting, it says there is more to be done to ensure that investors meet the high standard of reporting on stewardship activities undertaken and outcomes achieved, rather than just stating intent or policy.

Due diligence on forest risk commodities

The UK Government launched a consultation on 25 August 2020 seeking the views of stakeholders on whether they should introduce a new law aimed at preventing forests and other important natural areas globally from being illegally converted in to agricultural land, following a recommendation from the Government's independent Global Resource Initiative taskforce.

Consultation on Mandatory Climate Reporting – The building of a "new, sustainable financial system"

The Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA")'s proposal requires UK premium listed entities to state whether they comply with the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures ("TCFD") and/or to explain any non-compliance. Although the TCFD already has more than 500 supporters (including 457 companies and 56 other organizations e.g. industry associations and governments), the proposed changes reflect the view that further active intervention is needed in order to accelerate climate change reporting.

The European Green Deal - overview and status report

The European Green Deal, announced by the European Commission in December 2019, commits the EU to becoming climate-neutral by 2050 whilst promising to help companies to become world leaders in clean products and green technologies. The ambitious and wide-ranging measures set out in the plan are aimed at achieving significant reductions in carbon emissions and a net zero target will be given legislative force in a new Climate Law.

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