Sustainable Finance Regulatory Update: November 2022

COP 27 set the stage for lofty climate change aspirations to be realised. In the end, nation states hurriedly wrapped up negotiations to confront geopolitical realities. The most notable outcome of the summit was a ‘loss and damage’ fund to assist developing countries with the management of nature-related adversities. Despite the lackluster results of the summit, regulators around the world have been working hard to formulate economic policies through a sustainability lens.


EU adopts Corporate Sustainability Disclosure Reporting Directive (CSRD)

A majority of the European Parliament voted in favour of adopting the Corporate Sustainability Disclosure Reporting Directive (CSRD). The rule is an outcome of an ambitious package of legislative measures under the European Green New Deal and Sustainable Finance Agenda. It will further corporate social responsibility obligations set by the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) by helping to align companies’ key performance indicators with environmental and social objectives. The reporting of sustainability information will be phased in over time depending on company size, turnover and geographical presence. In the first phase of implementation, CSRD requires all large companies to report ESG-related matters starting June 2024. The European Council has also welcomed the passing of CSRD, marking a landmark shift in the region’s sustainability reporting regulation landscape. Read more

EFRAG publishes first set of draft ESRS

Following the approval of CSRD by the European Parliament, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) delivered the first set of draft supervisory reporting standards (ESRS) based on feedback for Exposure Drafts (EDs). EFRAG has addressed key concerns relating to the intersection of disclosure regulations and international reporting standards, materiality assessment and reducing the reporting burden on corporates and investors alike. Read more

ESMA launches consultation on fund labelling proposals

ESMA has launched a consultation on a new set of ESG fund labelling guidelines which would require any fund with a suggested sustainability/ESG focus to allocate a minimum percentage of holdings accordingly. Funds that are labelled ‘ESG’ or ‘impact-related’ (examples include climate change, sustainable water, biodiversity, global impact etc.,) should invest 80% of assets in the implied environmental or social category of that fund. If a fund is labelled ‘sustainable’ (or the name is derived from the word sustainable) at least 50% within the 80% minimum threshold should be invested sustainably. ESMA is seeking feedback from stakeholders on the quantitative thresholds for thematic and sustainable investing and will review all submissions after the consultation period closes on 20 February 2023. Read more

ECB sets deadlines for banks to adapt to climate and environmental risks

The European Central Bank (ECB) conducted a thematic review of the supervisory processes for the management of climate-related risks in the banking sector. The key findings reflect gaps in granular information and inadequate methodologies for considering the impact of climate and environmental risks on financial strategy and performance. ECB has concurrently published best practices to equip banks with an informal set of risk-assessment guidelines. The regulator will start cracking down on banks failing to meet ‘institution-specific’ deadlines. Banks must conduct a full assessment of the impact of environmental risks and appropriately categorize such risks by March 2023. The next deadline in 2024 would enforce the articulation of climate and environment considerations in a bank’s strategy, risk management and governance practices. Read more

ESAs Call for Evidence on greenwashing by the financial services sector

European Supervisory Authorities have invited comments from relevant stakeholders on identifying greenwashing risks that could distort the efficacy of sustainable finance regulations. The consultation will shed light on the scale of industry-wide greenwashing and address key concerns from the perspective of supervisory processes. Read more

Swiss government issues ‘Ordinance on Climate Disclosure’

Switzerland will require public companies and the entire financial services sector to identify and report on climate-related risks. The reporting rule requires companies to set quantifiable targets for positive outcomes and develop a plan for the management of climate risks. Covered entities must also assess the environmental footprint of its operations and publicly disclose Scope 1&2 emissions. The ordinance, which borrows from TCFD recommendations, will apply to companies with over 500 employees and revenue equivalent to or more than CHF 400. Reporting will be mandatory from 2025. Read more

United Kingdom

FCA to create a voluntary code of conduct for ESG data and ratings providers

The UK’s financial services regulator (Financial Conduct Authority) has convened a group of industry experts and stakeholders to formulate a code of conduct for ESG ratings providers. In line with their respective objectives, the FCA, the Bank of England and other significant financial regulators and government entities will act as observers to the working group.
It is already known that the group will be co-chaired by M&G, Moody’s, London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) and Slaughter and May. It will be composed of key stakeholders including asset managers, ESG ratings and data providers, and corporate entities.  Read more

UK Transition Plan Taskforce publishes disclosure framework

Aligning with the onset of COP27, the UK’s Transition Plan Taskforce (“TPT”) – a taskforce mandated by His Majesty’s Treasury to enable private sector actors in the UK create resilient climate transition plans to fulfil their net-zero commitments, released its new Disclosure Framework for corporate entities to disclose their climate transition plans. The Disclosure Framework is supplemented by the TPT’s Implementation Guidance, which outlines concrete measures enabling the private sector to develop climate transition plans, as well as details on when, where and how to publish such plans. The Disclosure Framework and Implementation Guidance are open for public consultation until 28 February 2023. Read more

FCA consultation on fund labelling rule

Britain’s financial regulator – The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – introduced a new set of rules that would apply from 2024 for the asset management industry.  The aim of the new rulebook is to prevent consumers from being misled by ‘greenwashing’ or embellished claims regarding the sustainability credentials of investments. The FCA proposed a package of measures, including a range of “sustainability labels” for investment products, and safeguards on how terms like ESG, ‘green’ or sustainable can be used. The FCA proposal comes at a time of heightened attention to the credibility of ESG labels, amidst efforts in the EU (SFDR) and the US (SEC fund labelling rule) to introduce more transparency and greater disclosure of financial products’ sustainability credentials. The proposal is open for consultation until 25 January 2023. Read more


Biden-Harris Administration Proposes Plan to Protect Federal Supply Chain from Climate-Related Risks

The White House unveiled a new plan which would require all federal contractors to disclose greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule will address 85% of emissions linked to the federal supply chain and determine transparency requirements for suppliers based on annual contract values. Federal suppliers regulated under the rule must also Identify climate-related risks and set Paris-Aligned emissions reduction targets. The plan seeks to protect the government from climate-change related supply disruptions and Is part of President Biden’s Federal Sustainability Plan – a national strategy to reach net zero by 2050. Read more

US DOL authorizes retirement plan fiduciaries to consider climate risks for investment decisions

On November 22, 2022, the Department of Labor finalized a rule that would allow fiduciaries regulated under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to consider climate risks when selecting investments. Although the rule does not reference or explicitly endorse ESG investing, it upholds the legitimacy of ERISA fiduciaries presenting an ESG-focused menu of investment options. By law, fiduciaries are bound by duties of loyalty and prudence and cannot subordinate the interests of plan participants. Therefore, all ESG investing must be backed by sound financial analysis that considers risk-return factors. The final rule also reinforces shareholder rights through proxy voting and requires fund managers to reconcile proxy voting policies for each investment plan. Read more

White House releases Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap

The U.S. announced a new strategy for scaling up nature-based solutions at COP27. The guidance will help “unlock the full potential of nature-based solutions to address climate change, nature loss, and Inequity”. To demonstrate the potential of its strategic recommendations, the administration has already allocated monies for federal agencies to invest in nature-powered infrastructure and set up a technical working group to study the benefits of nature-based options which would better Inform federal government’s development plans. The government will also support and finance pilot programs in military bases that utilize natural resources to improve resilience. Read more

John Kerry announces carbon-credit plan at COP to help decarbonize low- income countries

US Climate Envoy John Kerry announced the launch of the Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA), a carbon offset strategy that will allow companies to finance clean energy projects in developing countries and earn carbon credits that can be used to achieve national climate goals, at least partially. ETA upholds the principle of equitable transition through climate finance – one of the central themes at COP. In theory, the plan would accelerate the deployment of capital for renewable energy projects, however experts are divided on whether sufficient capital would be available for the developing world to achieve tangible outcomes. Read more

SEC finalizes Pay versus Performance Disclosure Rule

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Introduced a new rule that will require public companies to disclose the correlation between executive compensation and financial performance. ‘Pay versus Performance’ mandates financial disclosures to be expressed in terms of shareholder returns, net income and other financial measures of performance that are most relevant for the company. The amendment to the executive compensation reporting rule adds to the agency’s growing list of transparency measures aimed at providing decision-useful Information to Investors. Read more

Asia Pacific

Singapore launches Green Finance Taskforce

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced a new initiative for fostering green finance solutions in collaboration with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). The central banks will set up a Green Finance Taskforce that will support the alignment of the sustainable finance agenda across the ASEAN region through public-private partnerships. The Taskforce will mobilize capital for green finance investments in China and build on existing standards and definitions that form the basis of regulatory initiatives. Chinese stock exchange provider SGX (Shanghai Stock Exchange) and the SGZE (Singapore Exchange) also announced the launch of a new Low Carbon Index Family that may be used as a reference benchmark by product managers launching green funds in the region. Read more

Indonesia’s roadmap for decarbonization

Indonesia has entered the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), a coalition that enables countries to achieve decarbonization targets through investment initiatives. JETP will accelerate Indonesia’s pathway to net zero in the next 10 years through stricter regulation of the energy sector. To foster investment-driven transition, the plan requires emissions from the power plants to peak in 2030 and provides for the early decommissioning of coal-fired plants. Additionally, Indonesia has proposed 34% of energy production through renewable energy sources by 2030. Read more

Other News & Resources

  • The European Union has proposed rules for all packaging in the EU market to be recyclable by 2030. Read more
  • CDP will integrate ISSB’s climate-related disclosure standards into global environmental disclosure platform. Read more
  • Central Banks and NGFS launch blended climate finance initiative. Read more
  • TNFD collaborates with NGFS for nature-related scenario analysis proposals. Read more
  • ESMA has added ESG disclosures as one of Its priority areas in the Union Strategic Supervisory Priorities (USSPs). Read more

Have we missed anything?
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