On July 14, the European Commission presented its legislative proposal for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”).  This long-anticipated tool is intended to make importers pay for the greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions embedded in the covered goods that they market in the EU.  A Covington webinar on the main elements of the proposal and related policy considerations is available here.
Continue Reading Will the EU CBAM Cover More Than What You Think? Complex Goods, System Boundaries, and Circumvention Under the Commission’s CBAM Proposal

The European Commission has presented a package of key enabling legislation on sustainable finance (the “Sustainable Finance Package”).  This includes the much-awaited first technical screening criteria under the Taxonomy Regulation — outlined in the Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act (“TCDA”) — and a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD”), which significantly revises and expands on the existing Non-Financial Reporting Directive’s remit and disclosure rules for corporates. While the former is directly aimed at financial institutions and investors, and the latter at large and listed entities, the package has broader implications for all corporates.

Sustainable Finance Package: Context and Comment

The Commission’s intention with its Sustainable Finance Package is twofold: (1) in the short term, to set a clear regulatory framework to encourage investments that will contribute to a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and (2) in the long term, to ensure the transition to a carbon neutral EU economy by 2050, in accordance with the 2020 European Climate Law.  Following the adoption of the EU Taxonomy Regulation (explained further below), the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, and the Benchmark Regulation, which enhances the transparency of benchmark methodologies, the Commission has in this legislative package laid out the next building blocks for its envisioned sustainable finance ecosystem.


Continue Reading The EU’s Green Capitalism Takes Shape: Taxonomy Screening Criteria and Corporate Sustainability Reporting

On April 21, 2021, the European Commission approved “in principle” a Delegated Regulation establishing the criteria under which different economic activities substantially contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation under Regulation 2020/852 on the Establishment of a Framework to Facilitate Sustainable Investment (“Taxonomy Regulation”).  Among other things, the Delegated Regulation defines the climate mitigation and adaptation criteria that the manufacture of hydrogen must meet to be considered a “sustainable investment” in the European Union.
Continue Reading The European Commission Approves the EU Criteria on Sustainable Hydrogen Activities

In December 2020, the European Commission presented a proposal for a new Regulation on Batteries and Waste Batteries (see Covington’s webinar on the proposal).  The proposed Regulation seeks to achieve the objectives set out in the European Green Deal and subsequent strategies, such as the transition to a carbon neutral and circular economy and the growth of renewable energies and clean mobility.  The European Parliament and Council are currently considering the proposal for its adoption through the ordinary legislative procedure, which is not likely to be completed before mid-2022.
Continue Reading Upcoming EU Environmental and Human Rights Supply Chain Due Diligence Requirements for Rechargeable Industrial Batteries and E-Vehicle Batteries

Last week, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the possible adoption of a new EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”).  This consultation is yet another of the initiatives that the Commission is taking to roll out its ambitious European Green Deal (for a recent overview webinar see here).  Manufacturers in virtually all industrial sectors and their trade associations would be wise to assess the potential impact of the CBAM on the products they market in Europe and to consider participating in the public consultation and comment process.
Continue Reading The Green Deal at the Border: Public Consultation on the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism Launched

The COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on the need for resilient supply chains, including perhaps most importantly, the critical need for sustainable supplies of healthy food.  In line with this, the European Commission (the “Commission”) has published a Communication on a Farm to Fork Strategy (the “Strategy”) where it announces a series of legislative and policy initiatives intended to place sustainability at the center of EU food law and policy by ensuring fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food systems.  The Strategy is one of the main pillars of the European Green Deal that, in December 2019, the European Commission announced as its policy flagship for the next five years.
Continue Reading The European Commission Announces a Sustainable Food Strategy for Europe