International: Bite-size Briefings – Latest ESG developments

In brief

A series of briefings that take a bite-size look at international trends in different jurisdictions, drawing on Baker McKenzie’s expert financial services practitioners with local market knowledge.

This edition takes a bite-size look at the latest environment, social and governance (ESG) developments in Brazil, the European Union, Belgium, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. 

Since we looked at ESG in our July 2021 edition, significant progress has been made internationally on creating a regulatory framework. 

  • As was the case then, there are still widely different rates of progress, but international standards are now firmly entrenched and many jurisdictions besides the EU have either enacted compulsory rules on reporting and disclosure or are in the process of doing so. 
  • We are now seeing actual implementation and firms dealing with the complexities, such as over how green to label funds. 
  • Other areas coming to the fore include a focus on the quality of ESG data from corporates on which financial institutions rely to make their disclosures. 
  • That said, leaders in the financial sector are without doubt most concerned about the risk of litigation and enforcement action arising out of allegations of green washing. Terms such as “green hushing” and “green bleaching” have emerged where businesses choose to remain silent about or downplay their firms’ or products’ ESG attributes. The US, where regulation is enforcement-led, is out in front but other jurisdictions are starting to see cases being brought. 
  • While ESG potentially brings financial institutions opportunities to grow their business, the risks require careful governance and management.

Click here to access “Bite-size Briefings”.


Caitlin McErlane is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Financial Services & Regulatory Group in the London office.

Caitlin’s practice focuses on advising a range of global financial institutions on complex and high value regulatory matters. She advises banks, major corporates, payment institutions and asset managers on navigating UK and EU financial services regulation. She has particular experience in advising clients on regulatory implementation projects, day-to-day compliance issues, and regulatory issues arising in the context of large-scale transactions. She also expertise in the areas of banking and wholesale financial markets regulation, in particular in the FX and fixed income space, alongside experience advising market infrastructure providers, including major international exchanges, trading platforms, clearing systems and payment services providers, on a variety of compliance issues.

Caitlin is also a member of the Baker’s ESG and sustainability taskforce, and advises a range of clients on the drafting and implementation of ESG policies and the implications of becoming a signatory to the UNPRI and the Stewardship Code. Caitlin is an authority on regulatory reforms in the sustainability space and sits on a number of trade association working groups. She has recently been interviewed by Climate Action on her work and is a frequent speaker on the subject.

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