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ESG

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Introduction The UK, US, and Canadian governments have recently announced a range of new measures in relation to human rights violations alleged to be taking place in Xinjiang, China. The new measures include enhanced due diligence requirements for companies with links to the region in order to identify and remove the use of forced labor from their supply chains. The move further underlines the importance of effective supply-chain risk management for companies with complex global…

On 5 January 2021 the European Commission (“Commission”) published the roadmap for the upcoming consultation on the EU’s “strategy for sustainable textiles”. The textile sector was previously identified as a priority sector in the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan and the Industrial Strategy where the EU seeks to develop a carbon neutral, circular economy (see our previous article Strictly Sustainable Products Only for further analysis) and, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,…

On November 29, 2020, Swiss voters opted for the introduction of EU-style ESG reporting and due diligence requirements and against the so-called Responsible Business Initiative. While the initiative would have added teeth to the civil liability regime for the violation of international human rights and environmental standards across the supply chain, the substantive requirements regarding ESG reporting and due diligence across the extended enterprise are not any lighter under the chosen approach. We expect that…

Although good practices related to Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) have caught the attention of consumers and public opinion over the past few years, the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has certainly pushed that trend forward. Throughout the course of the public health crisis, we have seen consumers demanding that companies implement sustainable practices in their business operations, including those related to environmental sustainability, labor and workplace safety, and human rights. In Latin America specifically, this…

Yesterday U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued its first finding of forced labor in 24 years (Finding) against importation into the United States of certain goods from a Chinese company.  The Finding was made pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1307, which prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor.  Building upon the withhold release order issued in May…

As companies increase their environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting and statements in response to market and shareholder demands, plaintiffs have pursued with growing success legal challenges to company claims and disclosures related to ESG performance. Similarly, inventive theories are being put forward to directly attack companies for alleged ESG-related performance and operational deficiencies. In both arenas, there has been a recent growth in efforts to hold companies accountable for supplier misconduct. The expanding growing misstatement and performance litigation…

Employees – including supplier workers – are the backbone of any business. Protecting worker safety in the supply chain is a complex undertaking, and COVID-19 has introduced additional complexities regarding employee safety and remote work. While this blog has touched on modern slavery and trafficking in prior posts, the following are a few of the most recent developments in other areas of worker safety and related considerations to help employers navigate the ever-evolving laws that…

Overview On July 20, 2020, Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri introduced the Slave-Free Business Certification Act (“the Act”). If passed, the Act would require every “covered business entity” — defined as any issuer under section 2(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 that has annual, world-wide gross receipts of $500 million — to audit and report on instances of forced labor in their supply chains. Companies that deliberately violate the Act could be liable…

Financial regulatory and enforcement momentum focusing on environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) issues is building up from recent activities by US, EU and UK financial regulators. As a result, we anticipate that asset managers and financial intermediaries will increasingly seek to obtain and analyze ESG-related data and information from companies in which they directly or indirectly invest. The companies themselves, particularly publicly traded companies, will be expected to provide more ESG-related disclosure. As a result,…