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Anti-bribery update: SFO enters into £103m DPA with Amec Foster Wheeler

On 1 July, which marks the 10th anniversary of the UK's Bribery Act coming into force, the Serious Fraud Office ("SFO") secured court approval for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement ("DPA") with Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited ("AFWEL"). This latest DPA concludes yet another significant multi-year corruption probe and highlights the importance of continued ABC compliance measures for multinational organisations.

COP26: New US and EU greenhouse gas reduction commitments

On 22 and 23 April 2021, US President Joe Biden hosted a global two-day international climate summit to formally mark the US' return to the Paris Agreement (the "Climate Summit"). The Climate Summit's focus was on starting conversations around how to address the climate crisis in practice, including emission reductions, carbon trading, finance, innovation and job creation, in advance of more formal talks at COP26 later this year. It was the first time in four years that the US government has hosted a major international climate discussion, sending a strong signal to the rest of the world that the US is serious again about tackling climate change.

COP26: The UK leads by example?

On 20 April the UK Government announced that it would significantly increase its climate ambition, ahead of the COP26 international climate summit in Glasgow in November. The UK's Climate Change Act commits it to net zero by 2050, and it recently adopted a new Nationally Determined Contribution ("NDC") under the Paris Agreement of 68% reduction against 1990 levels by 2030.

Taxonomy reporting under the Non-Financial Reporting Directive

On the eve of the first requirements under the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) coming into force, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) released its final advice to the European Commission on Taxonomy reporting for companies in the scope of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD). While there is some overlap between the companies covered by these two sets of requirements, certain large listed companies who are not obligated under the SFDR will be interested to read ESMA's advice which will inform the requirements applicable to them from 1 January 2022.

COP26: What is it and why is it important?

What is COP26?

COP26 is the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The summit will be attended by the heads of state of the countries that signed the UNFCCC, as well as a variety of climate experts and campaigners, in order to agree and accelerate action on the Paris Agreement. The UK, in partnership with Italy, is hosting the summit this year in Glasgow from 1 - 12 November 2021 after it was delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COP26: Impact on business

While the Paris Agreement certainly represents the most important part of the international effort to alleviate the impact of climate change, there is also increasing recognition that the business world needs to play a central role in meeting net zero, as industrial activities are the biggest contributor to rising temperatures on the planet. The World Bank estimates that $4 trillion of finance needs to be mobilised annually to invest in mitigation and resilience in the Global South, and most of this needs to be financed by the private sector.

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