The SEC and the Conflict Minerals Rule: What You Need to Know about the Latest Developments

It is clear that Michael Piwowar, Acting Chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is not a fan of the conflict minerals rule. Earlier this month, the Acting Chairman and the Division of Corporation Finance released two statements regarding rule, both of which clearly state that the regulation will not be an enforcement priority.

By way of background, the statements were published after long-running litigation regarding the conflict minerals rule finally reached a formal conclusion.… More

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely

It’s Friday iStock_000011057325XSmalland time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring.

This week’s post includes: an effort by Twitter to enjoin U.S. Government demands for information regarding a user account critical of the Trump Administration; an announcement that seven telecommunications companies have joined the Global Network Initiative; and a decision by EITI to make project-level payment reporting mandatory.… More

Alien Tort Case Development: The U.S. Supreme Court Will Review the Question of Corporate Liability

On Monday, April 3, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by plaintiffs in Jesner v. Arab Bank, No. 16-499. The case may once and for all determine whether companies are appropriate defendants in cases filed pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”).

The petition was filed after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims in five consolidated cases against Arab Bank,… More

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely

It’s Friday iStock_000011057325XSmalland time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring.

This week’s post includes: the European Parliament’s adoption of a new conflict minerals regulation; the French Constitutional Council’s review of the proposed duty of vigilance legislation; the dismissal of the Doe v. Nestle litigation; and the release of a new Corporate Accountability Index by Ranking Digital Rights.… More

Investors Don’t Think That Climate Change Is A Hoax: BlackRock Is Losing Its Patience

This post, written by Seth Jaffe, a Partner in firm’s Environmental practice, was originally posted on the firm’s Law and the Environment blog.

BlackRock, which manages more than $5 trillion in assets, has released a statement on how it “engages with climate risk.”  The statement has three main elements.  

  • Support for the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Disclosures
  • Engagement with companies over assessment on climate risks
  • An indication of potential support for shareholder resolutions on climate risk, where such resolutions “address a gap in investment-decision and stewardship”, and “management’s response to our prior engagement has been inadequate.”

The statement emphasizes BlackRock’s long-term approach to investing, which is the source of the best line in the statement.  In summarizing letters from BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink, to CEOs, BlackRock notes that:

While we are patient investors, we are not infinitely patient.

I’m picturing James Earl Jones as Darth Vader saying that.  I wonder what energy executives are hearing.

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely

It’s Friday iStock_000011057325XSmalland time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring.

This week’s post includes: new reports on the U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct, corporate disclosures pursuant to the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, and shareholder proposals on social and environmental issues; the second discussion paper published by the Thun Group of Banks;… More

Corporate Human Rights Benchmark to Release Inaugural Results

On Monday, March 13, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (“CHRB”) will release its inaugural results.

As previously discussed, the CHRB will rank 100 companies on their human rights performance as part of an initial pilot. The companies chosen for the pilot include members of the extractive, apparel, and agricultural sectors. Companies will be assessed in the following areas: governance and policy; systems and processes;… More

French National Assembly Adopts Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law

This post was prepared by Corentin Chevallier, an attorney in Foley Hoag’s Paris office. A French language copy is available here.

On February 21, 2017, the French National Assembly (Assemblée nationale) adopted proposed legislation defining a duty of vigilance for parent companies and their subcontractors.

The law provides that multinational firms carrying out all or part of their activity on French territory shall establish mechanisms to prevent human rights violations and environmental damages throughout their supply chain.… More

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely

It’s Friday iStock_000011057325XSmalland time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring.

This week’s post includes: a federal court decision holding that U.S.-based companies may be obligated to turn over customer data stored outside the United States; an amicus brief opposing President Trump’s Executive Order establishing an entry ban on individual from seven Muslim-majority countries; and new guidance from the OECD with regard to due diligence in apparel and footwear supply chains.… More

SEC Issues a Call for Comments on All Aspects of the Conflict Minerals Rule

On January 31, the Acting Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), Michael Piwowar, issued an call for comments with regard to the conflict minerals rule. The rule was originally adopted by the SEC in August 2012 and published in September 2012. It was drafted pursuant to Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Sending a strong signal as to the rule’s potential fate,… More