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Novice and junior miners struggle to raise traditional debt capital when acquiring or developing a mine. However, the successful implementation of a variation on the streaming contract theme provides an interesting alternative for miners lacking the requisite balance sheet capacity to attract traditional debt finance. This form of alternative financing can ensure that junior miners have sufficient cash upfront to acquire, operate and generate profit from a mine. As such, the possibility arises that the ideals laid out in the Preamble of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act can be realized, specifically that the minerals of South Africa can be used as vehicle for socio-economic upliftment.

On 21 September 2021, the European Commission published its proposal for a new EU scheme of generalised preferences, also called GSP. The GSP provides preferential access for products to the EU market originating in developing countries without the need for these countries to open their markets to EU exports in exchange. This preference shall be granted in accordance with the “Enabling Clause” set in Article 2a of the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade, which provides a permanent exemption from the Most Favoured Nation (non-discrimination) for developed countries to unilaterally grant elimination or reductions of the tariff paid on imports from developing countries which share the same trade, financing and development needs.

In this article, we will discuss the underpinnings of the European Union’s ambitious plan, the “European Union Green Deal”, an agenda to advance the sustainability of member economies and have far-reaching implications for Asia Pacific and Thailand in particular. Given the stringent environmental, sustainability, and other regulatory standards in the EU Green Deal’s Sustainable Products Initiative, it is essential that businesses in Asia Pacific monitor the targets and ambitions of the EU Green Deal to be prepared to comply with higher standards for imports into the EU.

At the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow known as COP26, countries agreed to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement and accelerate its action plans to cut global greenhouse gas emissions. Along the line of this endeavor, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, announced Thailand’s enhanced ambition towards a low carbon society, aiming to reach carbon neutrality in 2050, and Net Zero GHG Emissions in or before 2065.

In this update, we set out the extent to which new Swiss ESG reporting, disclosure and due diligence requirements apply to Swiss companies and foreign companies operating in Switzerland. We also provide further details about the due diligence requirements in relation to conflict minerals and child labor, and give an overview of developments outside of Switzerland that are relevant for Swiss companies doing business abroad, including the recently proposed EU Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence and the German Supply Chain Act. Finally, we share some of the key points senior leadership should consider as extended ESG reporting and due diligence obligations take shape in Switzerland and abroad.

As part of the measures to help ease the impact of the rise in fuel prices, the Cabinet, on 29 March 2022, approved, in principle, the reduction of the contribution rate to the Social Security Fund. This new measure, once the regulations are issued, will reduce the monthly contribution rates of employers and employees from 5% to 1% of wage applicable for three months starting from May until July 2022, to help reduce the cost of living for employees and costs for employers through the SSF system.

The position and safety of Muslims in civil society is once again the subject of debate as a result of Marine Le Pen’s recent proposal to ban the headscarf in all public spaces in France. Notwithstanding that Le Pen lost the election and with Ramadan underway, it is timely to explore the employment implications of Islamophobia in the workplace and practical steps employers can take to create a more inclusive and thriving working environment for their Muslim employees, to ensure they maintain their ’employer of choice’ status.

On 23 February 2022, the European Commission gave the green light to the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence and amending Directive (EU) 2019/1937. The Proposal aims to promote sustainable business behavior with regard to supply chains, in particular activities affecting human rights and the environment. To this end, the Proposal introduces a legal obligation to conduct due diligence in the field of human rights and the environment.

On 25 April 2022, the Anti-Corruption Office approved the System for Monitoring Private and Public Activities Before and After the Exercise of Public Function, with the purpose of collating and verifying compliance with public ethics regulations of individuals who enter and leave high-ranking public positions in the National Executive Branch.