Sunday 31 October 2021 marked the official start of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). World leaders, climate negotiators, members of the press and media, and representatives of observer organisations descended on Glasgow to join an event which many believe to be the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control.
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COP26 has so far consistently delivered important "side deals" and the fourth day of the summit was no exception. On Thursday, when the focus was on the energy transition, more than 40 countries agreed to move away from coal-fired energy over the next two decades.
COP26: Mobilising private capital and setting the UK on the path to become "the first ever net zero aligned financial centre"
On Wednesday morning the Chancellor of the UK, Rishi Sunak, reiterated at the start of COP26's Finance Day the UK's plan to become the "first ever net zero aligned financial centre".
The UK's Corporate Justice Coalition ("CJC"), an organisation made up of various UK and international Civil Society Organisations ("CSOs") including Anti-Slavery International, Friends of the Earth and Business Human Rights Resource Centre has recently recommended the implementation of a potentially wide-reaching corporate "failure to prevent" regime targeting negative human rights and environmental impacts. Such a regime would track similar EU proposals relating to the diligence of 'value chains' for ESG failings and malpractice.
With climate change dominating the headlines, at the end of last week, the Government published its response to the March 2021 consultation on mandatory climate-related financial disclosures. The consultation set out proposals for certain publicly quoted companies, large private companies and LLPs to disclose climate-related financial information in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures ("TCFD recommendations"). The response summarises feedback the Government has received on its proposals and confirms that the changes will be implemented largely as set out in the consultation.
Tuesday's big announcement, following swiftly from Monday's commitment to end deforestation by 2030, was that over 100 countries have signed up to dramatically reduce their emissions of methane by supporting the Global Methane Pledge. Though carbon dioxide is often the greenhouse gas that grabs headlines, methane has more than 80 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it is emitted, making its reduction important for short term management of temperature rises. Major sources of methane are the fossil fuel energy sector, agriculture and waste.
Early this morning it was announced that more than 100 world leaders will commit to halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030 at an event due to be convened by the UK at COP26 on Tuesday 2 November 2021.
On 19 October 2021 the UK Government published its eagerly anticipated net zero greenhouse gas emissions strategy (the "Net Zero Strategy"). With just a week to go until COP26, the Net Zero Strategy is in the process of being scrutinised in detail by stakeholders in the UK and from other signatories to the Paris Agreement to gauge how serious the UK is about reaching the agreed goal to limit global warming to well below 2 (preferably to 1.5) degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. In this article we look at some of the key policies and commitments outlined in the Net Zero Strategy and consider how its publication has been received.
A regular briefing for the alternative asset management industry.
A regular briefing for the alternative asset management industry.
"Sustainable finance" continues to dominate the legal and financial agenda for many asset managers at the moment, driven by multiple factors, including an emphasis on the climate crisis and an influx of legislation, particularly from the European Union, mandating financial organisations to demonstrate their sustainability credentials.
The environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of a business is both a financial matter and an ethical one. As a result, responsible investment is right at the heart of the private equity investment agenda.
ESG litigation trends: Australian financial disclosure claim may pave the way for a new claimant toolkit
Shareholders in Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Australia's largest bank, have applied to the Federal Court of Australia to compel the CBA to furnish them with documents pertaining to its decisions to finance certain energy projects.
It has been reported that two German NGOs (Greenpeace and Deutsche Umwelthilfe) have written a letter of claim to Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz and independent oil and gas company Wintershall Dea, alleging that the companies need to put in place measures to reduce their CO2 emissions by 45% (as against 2019 levels) by 2030.
English courts are seeing an increasing number of claims brought against UK companies who are said to be responsible for harm to claimants who live outside of the UK, even though the company was not directly involved in the wrongful conduct alleged.
The climate emergency has had a profound impact on political and economic agendas globally. Sustainability considerations are now firmly embedded in the legal and regulatory environment in which businesses operate, and in the expectations that investors and customers increasingly place on corporates.
ESG: from policies to practice, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) ESG Conference 2021
In this session from the PLSA's inaugural ESG Conference (July 2021), Pensions Partner Andy Lewis, Partner and Head of Financial Services and Markets Tim Lewis and Senior Consultant Simon Witney discuss key questions that can arise for pension schemes looking develop their ESG policies and beliefs and translate these into practical action. How can schemes fit these specific regulations into the bigger picture of their overall duties and operations without getting lost in the detail?
On 2 August 2021 various amending measures were published in the EU Official Journal which will require EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers, EU UCITS management companies and EU MiFID investment firms (including portfolio managers and adviser/arrangers) to integrate sustainability risks and factors into their policies and procedures.