Shielding consumers from greenwashing and misleading environmental claims constitutes an important aspect of the European Union’s strategy to cultivate a more environmentally sustainable economy. A European Commission study in 2020 revealed that more than 50% of environmental claims within the EU were unclear or misleading, with 40% lacking substantiation.
WR ESG Alert: Key decisions by Norwegian and French courts relating to the environment and crimes against humanity
In this month's ESG alert, we describe the recent decision by France's highest court which paves the way for charges to be brought against Lafarge for complicity in crimes against humanity and a decision by Oslo District Court which invalidates three Norwegian oil and gas field permits on environmental grounds.
Norwegian media has recently published a number of stories on the alleged poor working conditions at Turkish shipyards. Norwegian shipowners contracting with foreign yards must be prepared to provide information on their efforts to ensure decent working conditions pursuant to the Norwegian Transparency Act.
WR ESG Alert: EU agreement on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and updates to and expansion of a range of environmental obligations
In this month's ESG alert, we highlight that political agreement has been reached at EU level with respect to the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation as well as new rules to strengthen the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. We also describe an expanded scope for sustainability disclosure obligations following a report by the European Supervisory Authorities and revisions to the Norwegian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Act.
On 14 December 2023, the European Parliament and the European Council informally agreed on a new directive on corporate sustainability due diligence (the "CS3D" or the "directive") obliging firms to integrate their human rights and environmental impact into their management systems. The directive has been called a historic breakthrough in the way companies are now responsible for potential abuse in their value chain. Subsequent to the negotiations, the Lead MEP said that this was a starting point for shaping the economy of the future.
This week, the Investment Control Commission – appointed by the Norwegian government in 2022 – delivered its report concerning Norway's foreign direct investment laws. The report proposes significant changes to the current system, ostensibly in order to protect national security interests, and would bring Norway's rules on FDI more in line with some of its European neighbours.
WR ESG Alert: New climate lawsuit against the Norwegian government and expansion of the EU Emissions Trading System
In this month's ESG alert, we highlight that shipping activities have been incorporated into the EU Emissions Trading System, and that provisional agreement has been reached at EU level with respect to the Critical Raw Materials Act, the EU Nature Restoration Law and an EU Regulation to reduce energy sector methane emissions. We also report on the latest climate lawsuit against the Norwegian government.
WR ESG Alert: Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism enters transitional phase, EU taxonomy news, proposed increase in fines for violations of the Working Environment Act
In this month's ESG alert, we highlight that the EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism has entered its transitional phase, we note the publication of various recommendations and reports calling for a more environmentally sustainable future and update on public consultations on proposed legislative amendments to the Working Environment Act and the Lawyers Act. We also provide an update on the EU taxonomy and mention Europol's Financial and Economic Crime Threat Assessment.
We are pleased to announce the launch of our monthly ESG alert service, where we will provide updates on key developments on topics of relevance under the ESG umbrella. The WR ESG alerts intend to offer a focused perspective on environmental and social issues, emphasising material developments and their implications. However, this may not encompass all aspects of the broader ESG spectrum and will generally not cover governance-related updates.
On 10 July 2023, the European Commission adopted its adequacy decision for the United States.
On Friday 31 March, the Government submitted a bill proposing amendments to the Norwegian Security Act. The proposed changes may mean that far more transactions will be subject to FDI screening, and changes in the procedural rules may have a major impact on deals, not least with respect to deal timetable.
On Thursday last week, we kicked off the first anniversary seminar of the year with our Sanctions and Money Laundering Day at the National Museum.
The massive and unprecedented sanctions imposed against Russia have required significant efforts to manage the risks and impact of sanctions, particularly in view of creative attempts to circumvent by some parties. In this article we explain why you should update your sanctions clause, and how to ensure that it is fit for purpose.
Proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive: extensive due diligence requirements
On 23 February 2022, the European Commission adopted its proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (the "CSDD Directive"). The proposal has been called a game-changer in the way companies operate their business activities throughout the global value chain, and sets out extensive sustainability due diligence requirements as well as introducing new corporate governance obligations for in-scope companies.
In order to fully implement the EU Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, Norway is soon to establish the necessary legal basis for a Beneficial Ownership Register. The EU Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive article 30 provides that companies in Member States should obtain and hold information relating to their “Beneficial Owners” and that this information should be reported to a central register.
In this article, we discuss the first UK case dealing with the scope of a sanctions exclusion clause in the context of the re-imposed US sanctions on Iran and the EU Blocking Regulation. We also provide some pointers for in-house counsel drafting sanctions exclusion clauses.
A High Court decision limiting privilege in relation to advice prepared for a company regarding claims of fraud and corruption has recently been overturned by the Court of Appeal in London. The decision widens the scope of protection for disclosing documents created by internal investigations and should give comfort to organisations facing such allegations.
Privilege against self-incrimination is a fundamental principle that protects witnesses from revealing information which might expose them to an accusation or criminal charge. Many legal systems recognise this privilege, and in Norway the right to protect oneself against self-incrimination is a rule of law. The privilege derives both from the right to a fair hearing as defined in article 95 of Constitution and article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights in addition to article 14(3)g of the United Nations Convention on Civil and Political Rights. In the US the privilege is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
An effective compliance program is essential for any business and it needs to be strong, both on paper and in practice. It addition to providing measures to assist companies to prevent, detect and respond to violations of laws and regulations, such programs have an important role to play as part of any defence against corporate criminal investigations and prosecutions.
At last month's State of the Union address, President Trump called on Congress to "address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal". Trump has been attacking the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the "JCPOA"), since he began campaigning for the presidency. But this latest statement, made at one of Washington's most important political events and coming on the heels of Trump's January 12 threat to withdraw from the JCPOA, suggests that the president may be closer to taking action. If Trump does decide to end US participation in the JCPOA, how will he do it? And what will this mean for Norwegian companies considering business in Iran?
On May 8, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.