Governance News 7 June 2023

50 minute read + (PDF download)  07.06.2023 Mark Standen, Siobhan Doherty, Kate Hilder

This week's issue has a strong ESG focus.  In his address to the AFR ESG Summit this week, ASIC Chair Joe Longo again underlined ASIC's continued focus on tackling greenwashing (and issued a warning to companies against greenhushing).  Looking to the US, new analysis confirms the volume of shareholder proposals continues to increase, but support is down on last year with the sharpest drop in support for environmental proposals.  On the financial services front we cover the release of the government's five point plan for the overhaul of Australia's payment system and the launch of two new consultations under the plan, we also cover ASIC's latest DDO enforcement actions and the findings from the regulator's review of BNPL DDO compliance and more….

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Diversity  Navigation Show below Hide below

  • Workforce diversity: US academics conclude market forces aren't enough to persuade all firms to disclose their workforce diversity data, suggest that mandatory requirements may be necessary 
  • Board Diversity: Bursa Malaysia says companies that have failed to meet minimum diversity requirements will face 'regulatory actions' 

Shareholder Activism Navigation Show below Hide below

  • More shareholder ESG proposals (and anti-ESG proposals) filed this year, but support is down 
  • Plastic reduction proposal at Yum! Brands secures 36% support, lobbying proposal secures 41% support 
  • Chevron shareholders vote down Scope 3 shareholder proposal, back directors at annual shareholder meeting 
  • Exxon shareholders reject all three Climate Action 100+ flagged proposals 

ESG  Navigation Show below Hide below

  • GFANZ consults on draft guidance on financing coal phaseout transactions in the Asia Pacific 
  • Net zero transition: IIGCC releases new ten point net zero standard and assessment framework for banks 
  • Investor support for a global campaign calling on high emitters to disclose through the CDP continues to gain traction 
  • Lifting board ESG capabilities: New mandatory sustainability training requirement introucted for directors of companies listed on Bursa Malaysia 
  • Global search for head of Environment Information Australia commences 
  • In Brief | Ocean protection: Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek has announced that an extra 385,000 square kilometres of Australia’s oceans will be placed under high protection (ie completely closed to fishing, mining and other extractive activities), tripling the size of Macquarie Island Marine Park and bringing 48% of Australia's oceans under protection 

Disclosure and Reporting Navigation Show below Hide below

  • Top Story | ASIC Chair warns against 'Greenhushing' 
  • ASIC flags key areas of focus for 30 June 2023 Financial Reporting, flags that auditors 'may need to report' suspected greenwashing 
  • New GHG reporting guidance for accounting and finance professionals released 
  • Paving the way for new sustainability requirements: Senate Committee report into Treasury Laws Amendment (2023 Measures No 1) Bill 2023 
  • In Brief | The Science Based Targets Network has released the first science-based targets for nature, together with accompanying guidance. A pilot group of 17 companies are planning to set the first nature targets this year 

Markets and Exchanges Navigation Show below Hide below

  • CHESS replacement update | ASX releases reports into how it will support existing CHESS, confirms it is still planning to announce the 'final solution design' for the CHESS replacement program by Q4 2023 

Regulators Navigation Show below Hide below

  • ASIC could use regtech to 'identify and assess poor market disclosure by listed companies': Project progresses to 'proof of concept' 
  • Key takeaways from APRA Chair's opening statement to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee 
  • In Brief | APRA has released a new Statement of Intent in response to the government's Statement of Expectations, outlining how it will meet the expectations set 

Financial Services Navigation Show below Hide below

  • Treasurer releases five point plan to overhaul Australia's payment system, launches two consultations 
  • Epayments Code subscribers to comply with the (voluntary) updated Code from 5 June 2023 
  • APRA says it is on track to release a new cross-industry operational risk management standard (CPS 230) 'in the next month or so' 
  • Planned CDR expansion into super, insurance and telecommunications sectors on 'pause' 
  • DDO enforcement | ASIC continues to take action to enforce DDO compliance, outlines findings of BNPL DDO review 
  • Risk management and oversight |  AUSTRAC and APRA accept separate court enforceable undertakings from bank 
  • APRA finalises 'minor' amendments to reporting standards for insurers 

Risk Management Navigation Show below Hide below

  • 'Safe and responsible AI in Australia': Discussion paper released for consultation 
  • In Brief | The EU and US are reportedly drafting a voluntary code of AI conduct, with a draft expected to be released shortly 
  • In Brief | Crypto trading platform Binance (and its founder) are facing multiple SEC charges over (alleged) engagement in what SEC describes as 'an extensive web of deception, conflicts of interest, lack of disclosure, and calculated evasion of the law' 

Other News Navigation Show below Hide below

  • Top Story | Changes to reporting foreign investments –Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets

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