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The renewable energy sector is shining a bright light on the African continent’s M&A sector, with growing investment in the sector expected in the next few years. To improve direly needed access to power for all Africans and to fulfill net-zero commitments, public and private investment and the sourcing of innovative, alternative financing for the energy transition are ramping up in countries across the continent.

Draft discussion papers have been released outlining the purpose and functions of the new Commonwealth Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA is to be established by way of new standalone legislation which we anticipate will be released in 2024. Other legislation (such as the new “nature positive” legislation, expected to replace the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act)) is to confer powers and responsibilities on the new EPA Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
This article sets out what we currently know about how the EPA is to operate, how that varies from current arrangements and what this means for the future of project environmental assessment in Australia.

On 17 January 2024, the European Parliament adopted a proposal for a new EU Directive empowering consumers for the green transition introducing new rules to ban misleading advertising and to provide consumers with better product information. To achieve this, a number of marketing practices related to greenwashing will be added to the EU list of prohibited commercial practices. In addition, new rules on informing consumers on a product’s durability will be introduced.

On 28 December 2023, the decree which amends, supplements, and abrogates certain provisions of the Mexican Securities Market Law (Ley del Mercado de Valores) and the Law of Investment Funds (Ley de Fondos de Inversión), was published in the Official Gazette (Diario Oficial de la Federación), and entered into force on the following day to its publication, i.e., on 29 December 2023. The decree establishes that the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público), with the prior opinion of the National Banking and Securities Commission (Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores) (CNBV) and Banco de México, shall issue within a period of no more than 365 days, from the date of its publication, secondary general provisions, regarding sustainable development, in order to strengthen corporate governance, adoption of best market practices and gender equality in corporations, issuers and other participants that operate within the Mexican securities market.

Against a backdrop of economic stagnation and geopolitical conflict, businesses are preparing for a challenging year. Global disputes will continue at pace, according to insights from more than 600 senior lawyers at large corporations, with ESG and employment risks the greatest areas of concern. Our seventh annual report provides detailed analysis of disputes trends, as well as sectoral and region-specific developments, to prepare your organization for The Year Ahead.

The Doing Business in the Philippines handbook aims to equip both local and foreign entrepreneurs with a practical guide to navigating the ever-evolving business landscape in the Philippines. It provides information on the requirements needed when setting up and operating a business in the Philippines, including incentives under special registrations, taxation, employment, IP, dispute resolution, and industry-specific regulations.

On 17 January 2024, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA) launched a new clause library – this time for sustainability-linked derivatives (SLDs) – that sets out template contractual terms and related definitions for SLD transactions. The SLD Clause Library introduces standardized provisions for SLDs to meet the growing market demand for derivatives products linked to environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, enhancing the commercial viability of SLDs as an effective financial tool to facilitate the delivery of sustainable initiatives.

With the publication of a new guideline on green marketing, the Swiss Unfair Competition Commission has provided greater clarity in the assessment of the admissibility of marketing communications with environmental or climate-related content. In particular, the Guideline sets out clear rules on the requirements for admissible marketing communications with an environmental reference and the associated requirements for evidence. In a legal environment characterized by vague legal provisions and considerable discretion given to the competent authorities, this new Guideline provides important clarification.

On 21 December 2023, the Brazilian House of Representatives approved the new text of Bill 2.148/15, which aims to create the Brazilian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System, i.e., the regulated carbon market in Brazil. The text will still be sent to the Brazilian Federal Senate and could return to the House of Representatives if further changes are made.