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Category Archives: Environment

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China’s Pilot Programmes Welcome Announced Launch of Emissions Trading System

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate Chinese policymakers have indicated that the country’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) — which will be the largest system of its kind globally and the centerpiece of Chinese climate change policy — is likely to launch in November 2017 “at the very earliest”. The delay will enable China to announce … Continue Reading

PRI’s Private Equity Terms Guidance Focuses on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Factors

By Paul Davies and Michael Green On 13 July 2017, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) launched guidance on incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) provisions in private equity fund terms. The publication, Incorporating Responsible Investment Requirements into Private Equity Fund Terms (the Guidance), followed a year-long consultation period with PRI signatories, expert counsel, and industry … Continue Reading

Proposed Draft Legislation Clamps Down on Soil Pollution in China

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate On 22 June 2017, Chinese legislators released draft proposals to combat soil pollution in China at a bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The legislation complements the State Council’s ambitious plan to address soil pollution – an area not specifically covered by Chinese environmental law … Continue Reading

A New European Standard for “Green Finance”

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The High Level Expert Group on sustainable finance  (the Group), which the European Commission (the EC) established, published its interim report on 13 July 2017. The report sets out the key steps required to create a financial system that supports sustainable investment, as well as identifying areas for financial … Continue Reading

G20 Advances Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth

By Paul Davies and Michael Green On 8 July 2017, the G20 summit in Hamburg issued a Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth (the Plan). The Plan reaffirms the commitment of the countries (excluding the United States (US) — which announced its intended withdrawal from the Paris Agreement) to work together to implement the … Continue Reading

Responsibility for German Nuclear Waste Shifts With Creation of State-owned Fund

By Paul Davies, Joern Kassow and Alexander Wilhelm In early July 2017, operators of German nuclear power plants initiated the next step in the process of decommissioning by transferring €24 billion to the new state-owned fund for nuclear power plant waste disposal. The German state established the Fund for the Financing of the Nuclear Waste … Continue Reading

Will Tougher Environmental Laws Mean Measurable Change for Pollution in China?

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate In reforming and updating its environmental laws, China has until recently been focusing on air pollution. Attention is now turning to addressing water and soil pollution as well. For example, the Chinese government is now considering more robust penalties for those responsible for water pollution, indicating that the government … Continue Reading

Will TCFD Final Recommendations Change the Landscape of Climate-related Financial Disclosure?

By Paul Davies and Michael Green On 29 June 2017, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) published its final recommendations. The TCFD set out information that companies should disclose to enable investors, lenders, and insurance underwriters to better understand how companies oversee and manage climate-related financial risk. Ultimately, the aim is to strike … Continue Reading

Bank of England’s Response to Financial Risks Arising from Climate Change

By Paul Davies and Michael Green On 16 June 2017, the Bank of England (BoE) published an article setting out its response to climate change, explaining that climate change and society’s response to it presents certain financial risks. These risks arise through two main ways: The physical effects of climate change such as droughts, floods … Continue Reading

European Commission Proposes Action to Streamline Environmental Reporting

By Jörn Kassow and Eun-Kyung Lee On June 9, 2017, the European Commission (EC) published its Action Plan to Streamline Environmental Reporting (COM(2017) 312), summarising the findings of its review of reporting requirements following the 2015 ‘Better Regulation Initiative.’ As part of this 2015 Initiative, the EC carried out a fitness check focused on assessing environmental … Continue Reading

Pharmaceuticals in The Environment: What will EU Environment Roadmap Mean for Pharmaceuticals?

By Paul Davies, Elisabetta Righini and Rosa Espin On 28 April 2017, the European Commission (the EC) published a “roadmap” on the strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment, particularly in the aquatic environment. Concurrently, the EC launched a 12-week open public consultation to address the environmental pollution caused by human and veterinarian pharmaceutical substances. … Continue Reading

China Increases Focus on Electronic Waste

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate As a world leader in the manufacturing of electronic devices, China is beginning to reform its rules and regulations to ensure that the resulting framework is able to keep pace with the rapid developments now taking place in this sector both in China and globally. Two recent developments in … Continue Reading

The European Commission Places Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Issues Centre Stage

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The European Commission has recently published plans to integrate sustainability considerations into decisions made by investors within the EU. More specifically, the EU is looking to spell out in legislation, that the consideration of ESG issues should be incorporated into the fiduciary duties of EU asset managers. The main … Continue Reading

“Spain United for Climate”: The Proposed New Climate Change and Energy Transition Law

By Paul Davies and Rosa Espin Spain is leading the fight against climate change with a proposed new Climate Change and Energy Transition Law. The Spanish government regards climate change as one of the greatest challenges facing the country. Since 22 April 2016, the Paris Agreement (which sets out a global action plan to avoid … Continue Reading

Another Key Decision on Corporate Separateness – High Court Finds That There is No Arguable Case for Unilever to be Held Liable for the Acts and Omissions of Kenyan Subsidiary

By Paul Davies, Michael Green, Samuel Pape and Charles Rae In a recent decision, the High Court has ruled that Unilever plc (Unilever), the ultimate holding company of the Unilever Group, does not owe a duty of care to protect the employees and residents of a tea plantation owned and operated by a Kenyan subsidiary … Continue Reading

Belt and Road Forum Positions China as Leading Proponent of Global Trade

By Paul Davies, Michael Green and Andrew Westgate Leaders from around the world, including 20 heads of state, attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on May 14-15. The attendees at the forum agreed on guiding principles for the initiative, and the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the New Development … Continue Reading

The OECD’s View on Integration of ESG Issues into Investments – What Next?

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a report (OECD Report) on investment governance and integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors on 2 May 2017. The OECD Report develops work already carried out by the organisation on the regulation of investment companies and pension fund … Continue Reading

Conservation Finance: An Increasingly Attractive Concept for Investors?

By Paul Davies and Michael Green Broadly defined, conservation finance is the raising of capital to support the conservation of land, water and resources. This concept started with “debt for nature” swaps during the 1980s and 1990s whereby developing countries agreed to protect ecosystems using revenues freed up by sovereign debt relief (such deals usually … Continue Reading

Ministry of Environmental Protection Steps-up “War on Pollution”

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate Earlier this month, during a round of surprise inspections, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection Zhao Yangmin publicly shamed the city officials of Langfang, a city in Hebei province, for failing to take action after a severe pollution warning was issued on April 2, 2017.  Deputy Minister … Continue Reading

Update: Stricter EU Environmental Performance Standards to Apply to Large Combustion Plants by 2021

By Jörn Kassow and Patrick Braasch Emissions from approximately 2,900 large combustion plants in the EU, including coal-fired power stations as well as peat, oil and gas power plants, are now likely to be subject to stricter environmental performance standards. These updated standards (“Best Available Techniques Conclusions for Large Combustion Plants” – BREF LCP), based on … Continue Reading
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