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European Commission refuses to let the dust settle on the EU Taxonomy

On 5 April 2023, the Commission launched a consultation on its draft of the long-awaited technical screening criteria ("TSC") for the four remaining Taxonomy objectives, sometimes known as "TAXO4"1.  The TAXO4 TSC were initially intended to be in place by 1 January 2023, a year after the TSC for the first two environmental objectives, but have been significantly delayed. Therefore, the draft's publication finally provides a fuller picture of the Taxonomy and gives those with ambition to align to the remaining environmental objectives an idea of the scale of that task.

Further guidance for effective TCFD reporting

In 2020, the UK outlined its roadmap to implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures ("TCFD"). With the first wave of premium listed companies already having prepared reports, the second wave will see standard listed companies, the largest asset managers and very large companies issuing TCFD reports or TCFD-aligned reports under the Companies Act this year. Smaller asset managers with over £5bn of assets under management will already be thinking about how to make their first firm-level reports next year.

New Q&As from the European Commission on the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation

The European Commission (Commission) has issued further guidance on the interpretation of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).  This is in the form of responses to questions put to it in September 2022 by the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs).  The responses include guidance on the definition of sustainable investment, disclosures around the reduction of carbon emissions and principal adverse impact disclosures.

Mapping the social audit trail: what the Tesco and LBMA claims tell us about the direction of ESG litigation in the UK

Businesses with overseas operations, and firms that provide social audit support services to those businesses, need to be cognisant of attempts by claimant law firms to extend the existing boundaries of tort law and bring novel and ambitious value chain liability claims against them. Several claimant law firms (and litigation funders) have explicitly pivoted towards bringing these claims in the ESG space.

The future for UK environmental initiatives: CMA's green light to be part of the solution?

In line with its public commitment to promote environmental sustainability and help accelerate the transition to a net zero economy, the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") has recently published its draft guidance on the application of the Chapter 1 prohibition to environmental sustainability agreements ("Guidance"). If implemented, the Guidance will provide business with greater comfort in assessing the legality and risk profile of their environmentally focussed agreements – at least in the UK.

Late payment clauses: time for a review?

The recent announcement of the UK Government's Payment and Cash Flow Review has once again put the spotlight on late payment clauses and other payment practices. Larger businesses in particular may be criticised for failure to comply with legal requirements or "best practices" in relation to their purchasing activity.

Supermarket and retailer litigation risk: Claimants using novel Value Chain Liability concepts to target household names

Value chains are under the spotlight with the increase in so-called value chain liability claims in the UK: businesses operating in high-risk sectors need to carefully take stock of their potential exposure to this type of litigation risk. The retail sector (most notably larger retailers and supermarkets) needs to pay particular attention to these developments, given the size of their value chains and public profiles (and therefore the breadth of their potential legal and reputational exposure).  

Landmark High Court Decision on Supply Chains and Human Rights

The British Government has defended a claim brought by the World Uyghur Congress ("WUC") and the Global Legal Action Network ("GLUN") (together, the "Claimants") over the alleged failure to tackle imports of Uyghur forced-labour cotton into the UK. Findings from the case create important milestones that have the potential to impact international trade and the use and import of forced labour goods across a wide variety of sectors.

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