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As a top producer of numerous critical mineral commodities, Africa is set to benefit from the rapid increase in the rate of global energy transition, with the continent’s mining industry playing a role in sourcing and supplying these critical minerals for use in clean energy initiatives. Exporting these critical minerals as raw materials, however, reduces Africa’s trading position to one of price takers, and the current disruptions in global supply chains are hampering the trade of these commodities in Africa, with mining companies subject to long delays and higher costs. The African Continental Free-Trade Area, implemented in 2021, acts as a strong impetus for African governments to address their infrastructure gaps, streamline their supply chains, boost their manufacturing capacity and overhaul regulation relating to trade, cross-border initiatives, investment-friendly policies and capital flows.

In November 2022 the UK Government announced a new, temporary 45% levy on “exceptional” receipts generated from the production of wholesale electricity and published a “technical note” on the operation of the levy. Despite heavy criticism of the move by many clean energy market participants, on 20 December 2022 the UK Government confirmed its intention to press ahead with the EGL by publishing a supplementary technical note and draft legislation outlining the details of how the new tax would operate. The EGL has been introduced from 1 January 2023 and will have an impact on existing and potential investors in the UK clean energy market.

In the period between 2020 and 2022, the new Law on Environmental Protection and its guiding Decree No. 08/2022/ND-CP were promulgated, providing a fundamental legal framework for extended producer responsibility (EPR). EPR-related regulations impose a number of obligations on manufacturers and importers of certain types of products and packaging in Vietnam. Nonetheless, the EPR legal framework is not yet complete.

In May 2022, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) was launched between Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the US and Vietnam. On account of its specified focus on labor standards and issues, IPEF is likely to have an ongoing impact on labor regulations and trends among partner countries, including Vietnam.

ESG disputes pose one of the top risks to organizations in the coming year, particularly the increasing concern of governance disputes. Join Baker McKenzie’s global team on 31 January 2023 as they discuss key risks to your organization as well as how to manage these and adapt to changing demands.

Our latest sustainability guide, ESG Policy Guide – The Future of Sustainability Legislation for Luxury, has been developed in collaboration with Positive Luxury, the company behind the Butterfly Mark, a unique mark awarded to luxury lifestyle brands, retailers and suppliers in recognition of their commitment and verified actions to creating a positive impact on our world. It features recent and upcoming developments in ESG legislation and policies in the US, UK and the EU and explains how these impact the luxury, fashion, and cosmetics industries.

A recent Prime Ministerial Decree No. 4664 of 2022 was published on 25 December 2022, incorporating new provisions to the executive regulations of the Capital Markets Law No. 95 of 1992. The Decree provides for the establishment of a voluntary carbon market platform within the Egyptian Stock Exchange for the trading of carbon emissions reduction certificates (CERs). The CERs are tradeable financial instruments for greenhouse gases and are to be issued in favor of entities establishing projects reducing greenhouse gas emissions after obtaining the approval of the relevant authorities which are not currently specified. Each CER unit shall represent the equivalent of one metric ton of carbon dioxide reduced.

On 1 March 2023 at 1.00 pm GMT, we will be holding a demystifying ESG webinar on the topic of “Getting to net zero and a circular economy through smart investment strategies”. The more common the understanding of imminent climate risk is, the more investors embrace investment strategies that seek to achieve net zero, circularity, energy transition and other changes advancing 2050 goals, alongside financial returns, such as ESG-driven M&A and impact investing. Regulations and government policies help to scale up the impact investing trend, and with capital markets and big PE players lining up to adapt, the odds of reaching the net zero targets look brighter. Yet, many challenges remain: fragmented regulations, an abundance of reporting standards, and discussions around measuring impact vs. financial returns.

The Government of Indonesia issued Government Regulation in lieu of Law No. 2 of 2022 on Job Creation on 30 December 2022 (“Job Creation GRL”). This opens the second act of the Omnibus Law following the scrutiny by the Constitutional Court of the formalities in the creation of the original Job Creation Law which was issued in 2020. Content-wise, the 1,117-page Job Creation GRL is a non-identical twin sibling of the original Job Creation Law with substantive changes on halal certification, employment, taxation, and regional government as well as some non-substantive changes in other sectors such as water resources.

Looking to the year ahead, Baker McKenzie commissioned a survey of 600 senior lawyers across the globe and uncovered that corporations expect more disputes this year, driven by economic uncertainty, global trade shifts and altered business models. Disputes around cybersecurity/data and ESG rank as emerging risk areas, while tax and employment disputes remain a constant consideration for organizations. To help stay abreast of emerging challenges and prepare to navigate the changing disputes landscape, join our experts across the globe in a series of webinars as they unpack findings from our latest report, The Year Ahead: Global Disputes Forecast 2023, and uncover a practical, actionable way forward.