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COP26: Week 1 - key highlights

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.

Business & Human Rights: Proposals for a New 'Failure to Prevent' Regime

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.

New mandatory TCFD reporting for more UK companies

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.

COP26: 100+ countries sign up to the Global Methane Pledge

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.

The UK's Net Zero Strategy: Cop out or COP26 ready?

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.

ESG litigation trends: the Milieudefensie claim expands beyond the Netherlands

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.

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?

Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR): Commission Guidance

The European Commission has published its long-awaited guidance regarding some of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation's (SFDR) known unknowns. The Guidance provides some additional clarity on the application of the SFDR, but unfortunately does not clearly answer all the outstanding questions.

Firms will need to continue to navigate uncertainty in the absence of clear law, guidance or a developed market practice.

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