Going forward, not back, to the gold standard

I hate to disappoint, but this is not an article about (un)stablecoins or currency exchange risk...

As I am sure you are aware, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has made it clear that firms it regulates can and should be at the vanguard of initiatives on 'climate change'. The FCA has mooted, in addition, codifying the responsibility to be at the vanguard in its Handbook.

There are two Calls for Evidence live currently; the one to which the link is supplied (chaired by John Glen MP) and an update to the UK Government's Green Finance Strategy.

These initiatives are laudable and change must come. However, for all those which will find themselves with obligations (to the FCA) under any 'climate change' related Handbook rules, I draw our collective attention to the issue that the "aim of the Sector-Neutral Framework is to enable companies to develop 'standardised and meaningful plans' to support the transition of the economy to net zero" differs significantly from the concept of an expected or mandated adherence to a gold-standard framework.

A neighbour of mine is currently collecting data on behalf of a trans-national quasi-governmental body to examine whether there are any objective benefits to companies in being at the vanguard of ESG initiatives. The dataset he is gathering is huge and incomplete. However, he does believe that eventually the data will demonstrate a statistically significant correlation between a company's profits and its positive ESG position.

I relate this only to show that even a disclosure (or a 'comply or explain') obligation on firms might have the same outcome as mandated compliance - lenders, shareholders, consumers, counterparties, staff, suppliers may all seek to do business only with those who reach these gold standards. The only difference may be that the worst they can do is to cease to do business with a firm which does not reach those standards: they cannot fine or censure them.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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