REUTERS | A bee searches for pollen among cherry blossoms on a sunny spring day in Lausanne, Switzerland March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

What’s on the agenda for in-house lawyers in September 2021?

Businesses will be continuing to digest the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report, which highlights the urgency for companies to achieve a net zero transition. In-house lawyers may also be interested in responding to two consultations by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on data protection and a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) consultation on diversity on boards and executive committees.

Climate change

On 9 August 2021, the IPCC published Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. The report finds a high probability of global warming increasing above the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to a 1.5°C increase level above pre-industrial levels by 2040. The report advises that limiting warming to close to 1.5°C, or even 2°C, will be beyond reach unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The report increases the urgency for companies to achieve a net zero transition as well as providing a clearer picture of the increasingly extreme weather events that businesses will face. It will, therefore, inform the adaptation measures that businesses need to put in place to deal with the changing climate. The report will be a key scientific input into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, from 31 October to 12 November.

The UK government has also published its hydrogen strategy, which sets out how it will support the increasingly important role of hydrogen in achieving the UK’s 2050 net zero target. The strategy includes significant funding commitments consultations on a:

  • Preferred hydrogen business model.
  • £240 million net zero hydrogen fund.
  • Low carbon hydrogen standard.

Data protection

The ICO has recently launched two consultations. The first focuses on how organisations can continue to protect people’s personal data when it is transferred outside the UK. The consultation closes at 5.00 pm on 7 October. The second looks at how the ICO can shape its new data protection and employment practices guidance and products. The closing date for responses is midnight on 21 October.

The ICO has also approved the first certification scheme criteria under the UK GDPR. Certification under the UK GDPR (Article 42) is a way for an organisation to demonstrate they are complying with their data protection obligations and show accountability. Certification providers must be accredited by the ICO or the UK Accreditation Service.

Diversity on boards and executive committees

The FCA has published a consultation paper seeking views on its proposals to amend the Listing Rules and the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules in relation to diversity on boards and executive committees. The amendments would apply to accounting periods starting on or after 1 January 2022. The consultation closes on 22 October.

Dates for your diary

1 September

3 September

Deadline for responses to the European Commission’s public consultation on its Data Act initiative.

6 September

Call for evidence on the inquiry into UK accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership closes.

9 September

Government summary and evidence paper on UK product safety review due.

10 September

14 September

FCA consultation on proposed changes to the listing regime closes.

17 September

24 September

HM Treasury consultation on the UK’s regime for wholesale capital markets closes.

27 September

Validity of European Commission Implementing Decisions (2001/497/EC) and (2010/87/EU) incorporating standard contractual clauses for the transfer of personal data from the EEA to third countries, ends.

30 September

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