Knowledge Notes

Knowledge Collection | The future of hydrogen, greenwashing enforcement risk, and the Procurement Bill

Published on 29th Jul 2022

Welcome to this week's Knowledge Collection

The rapidly expanding international hydrogen generation market is projected to be worth US$201 billion by 2025. In September, we are running a webinar series on the legal and regulatory landscape around hydrogen and its role in the drive to net zero in Europe. In the UK, the government published its hydrogen sector development action plan, reiterating its view that hydrogen is a central part of the UK's future energy security and its commitment to reach net zero by 2050. The plan builds on the government's existing policies and strategies for hydrogen, focusing on four areas: investment, supply chains, jobs and skills, and exports.

The focus on net zero targets means that increasing attention is being paid to sustainability claims that businesses make. In the UK financial services sector, activist shareholders, investor groups and pressure groups are exploring legal and regulatory avenues to hold "greenwashers" to account. The regulatory regime is evolving, with increasing scrutiny not only of products being marketed as green but also a push for regulated firms to publish climate-related financial disclosures.

Meanwhile, the Procurement Bill, which is making its way through Parliament, is poised to introduce a range of changes to the public procurement regime, including in relation to the exclusion of bidders. The changes are intended to simplify the exclusion regime, and will increase the degree of scrutiny of past offences or misconduct of suppliers throughout the supply chain.

This month's Regulatory Outlook reports on this and other developments, including the launch of the UK Register of Overseas Entities on 1 August, the European Parliament's adoption of the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act, and the introduction of the UK Data Protection and Digital Information Bill to Parliament.

Changes in the data regulation landscape offer particular opportunities for legal teams working within data-driven business models. We explore this in an Insight that draws on our expert panel discussion at the recent launch of our report with the European Company Lawyers Association.

Insights 

How in-house legal teams can seize the opportunities of data-driven business models

Data-related legal and regulatory developments can be viewed as an opportunity for unlocking future markets – and repositioning the role of in-house counsel within businesses.

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UK government publishes hydrogen sector development action plan

The action plan sets out how government hopes to continue to understand and develop investment plans to support the UK hydrogen economy, by engaging both industry and investors.

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UK Procurement Bill overhauls rules for exclusion of suppliers

The concepts of mandatory and discretionary grounds for exclusion are set to continue under the new regime but are overlaid with the new concepts of "excluded" and "excludable" suppliers.

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Enforcement risk rises for UK financial services firms over 'greenwashing'

Increasing attention is being paid, by both regulators and activists, as to whether environmental claims are inaccurate or misleading.

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The Regulatory Outlook

High level summaries of important forthcoming developments covering a range of regulatory areas, including health and safety, sanctions and consumer law.

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Events

Hydrogen markets and regulation

12 September | 09:00-10:00 BST

Osborne Clarke lawyers across a number of European jurisdictions will explore the current regulatory landscape and the standards that are required in the market and will be joined by Pablo Borondo, Senior Associate, European Hydrogen from Aurora Energy Research, Europe's largest dedicated power analytics provider, who will discuss the current hydrogen market against the backdrop of foreseeable and long term market opportunities.

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Developing and financing a hydrogen project

13 September | 09:00-10:00 BST

This webinar will explore the legal challenges and opportunities for developers and funders of hydrogen projects across Europe. Ikigai Capital, which has been appointed to deliver a hydrogen investment strategy for the Thames Estuary, will discuss its experience of conducting hydrogen projects.

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The future of hydrogen projects

14 September | 09:00-10:00 BST

From policy aims to the use cases for hydrogen in various European jurisdictions, the session will look at the long-term future for hydrogen and its role in Europe's journey to net zero. Michal Kubicki, a policy advisor in the European Commission, will explain how hydrogen will feature in the future of sustainable transport across Europe.

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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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