ARTICLE
31 March 2023

Issue 20: March 22, 2023

SJ
Steptoe LLP

Contributor

In more than 100 years of practice, Steptoe has earned an international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in structuring business transactions. Steptoe has more than 500 lawyers and professional staff across the US, Europe and Asia.
DWS, a leading German investment fund manager, has settled a greenwashing lawsuit that alleged it misled investors by claiming that its climate technology...
United States Finance and Banking
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Litigation

DWS, a leading German investment fund manager, has settled a greenwashing lawsuit that alleged it misled investors by claiming that its climate technology fund excluded companies active in sectors such as coal or defense equipment. The lawsuit, which was led by consumer protection group VerbraucherzentraleBaden-Wuerttemberg, has been settled under a cease-and-desist declaration that requires DWS to refrain from marketing certain features of the fund as sustainable in the future.

Legislation

President Biden has issued the first veto of his presidency, frustrating Republican attempts to overturn a recently enacted Department of Labor rule allowing fund managers for ERISA plans to include ESG considerations in the investment process. President Biden stated that the rule would not result in fund managers sacrificing financial returns to pursue a political agenda and would allow retirement plan fiduciaries to take ESG factors into account that could impact investment returns.

Supply Chain

The European Commission is looking to establish a critical raw materials club with international partners to secure access to these strategic and, at times, scarce commodities. Essential to the technology underpinning the net zero transition as well for use in defense and high-tech consumer electronics, the Commission also has proposed a Critical Raw Materials Act. The initiative's goal is to reduce dependency on supplies from a handful of countries, including China.

Standards

The latest report from the Parker Review Committee into ethnic minority representation at UK companies has extended its expectations for businesses by calling on FTSE 350 companies to set a percentage target for senior management positions that will be occupied by ethnic minority executives by 2027. 50 of the UK's largest private companies also have been asked to have at least one ethnic minority director on the board by the end of 2027.

Statement

"In the near term, monetary and fiscal policy will be the major driver of returns. Over the long run, investors also need to consider how the energy transition, among other factors, will impact the economy, asset prices, and investment performance. ... For years now, we have viewed climate risk as an investment risk. That's still the case."

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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