ESG Watch is S-RM’s new bulletin, providing you with the latest regulatory and policy updates relating to ESG from around the globe.
Key news in this edition:
- The European Union reaches a deal on corporate sustainability reporting;
- The American Bankers Association releases a proposal for USA ESG regulation; and
- The Swiss Federal Council launches new investment guidelines the ‘Swiss Climate Scores’.
UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE LAUNCHES CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION PILOT PROGRAMME
On 3 June, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (‘USPTO’), the US agency responsible for registering trademarks and granting US patents, launched the Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Programme. Under the programme the agency will accelerate the review of technologies that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the aim of incentivising innovation in technology areas related to climate change mitigation.
THE EUROPEAN UNION REACHES A DEAL ON CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY REQUIREMENTS
On 21 June, the European Union reached a provisional political agreement on corporate sustainability reporting requirements for large or public companies to disclose reports on ESG risks and opportunities. The first phase of this regulation’s application take place in 2024. Under the new requirements, companies’ reporting will need to be certified by an accredited certifier or independent auditor.
The European Commission Proposes the Implementation of a Nature Restoration Law
On 22 June, The European Commission proposed the implementation of a Nature Restoration Law, which sets binding targets on member states, to work towards the restoration and repair of 80% of European habitats. The proposal aims to: counter the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss; and help prevent an ecosystem collapse. Among the targets of the proposal are the reversal of the decline of pollinator populations and the restoration of marine habitats such as sediment bottoms. The Commission also issued a second proposal, to reduce the use of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030.
The American Bankers Association releases a proposal for USA ESG regulation
On 23 June, the American Bankers Association (‘ABA’) published a letter addressing Congress and federal regulators in relation to ESG regulatory framework implementation. The letter, entitled ‘the impact of ESG guidance and regulatory proposals on banking’, lays out “key principles” to guide policy makers in the banking industry in their formulation of regulatory proposals.
The Federal Council launches the ‘Swiss Climate scores’ in a push for climate transparency in the financial sector
On 29 June, the Swiss Federal Council announced the launch of the ‘Swiss Climate Scores’, a set of guidelines that aim to assist institutional and private investors, in identifying if and how their investments align with the goals and obligations set out in the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change, which Switzerland ratified on 6 October 2017. The Swiss Climate Scores are “voluntary guidelines” at present, but the Swiss Federal Department of Finance and the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications will be monitoring their voluntary uptake and will be reporting back on their findings by the end of 2023, when a revision of the guidelines and their implementation will be considered.