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Electronic charging stations on the rise in Switzerland: New legal implications?
In 2023, around a quarter of a million new passenger cars have been registered for the territory in Switzerland. More than 50 percent of those newly registered passenger cars are fully or at least partially electric cars (i.e. mild hybrids or plug-in-hy­brids). Switzerland's public charging network is not yet one of the densest in the world. Switzerland still remains behind the leaders in terms of e-charging stations per inhabitant like e.g. the Netherlands and Norway. In view of the increasing amount of electric cars, this status cannot be sustained any longer. Therefore, currently, an increase in the production and sales of e-charging stations can be seen. This increase offers new business opportunities for elec­tri­city/e-char­ging providers as well as third parties involved in the performance chain (e.g. gas stations or facility owners who are willing to provide their space for such charging stations as a new secondary business model).
CMS European M&A Study 2024
The CMS Corporate/M&A Group is pleased to launch the 16th edition of the European M&A Study
The EU Artificial Intelligence Act is almost ready to go!
The Artificial Intelligence Act is a legislative proposal by the European Commission to regulate artificial intelligence (AI). So far, unlike other countries or territories, the EU is the first legislator to present a comprehensive proposal for the regulation of AI. The EU is attempting a balancing act: To ensure that those affected by AI do not suffer any disadvantages while on the other hand to promote innovation and give AI as much scope of development potential as possible.
UK and Switzerland sign Berne Financial Services Agreement: Blueprint for...
With the signing of the Berne Financial Services Agreement on 21 December 2023, the UK and Switzerland are showing that, unlike in the EU, obstacles to the cross-border provision of financial services can be removed without harmonising legal systems.
Emerging Europe M&A Report 2023/2024
Despite geopolitical tensions, fears of recession and strong inflationary pressures across the EU, as well as the fiscal tightening needed to contain them, M&A in the CEE region has remained reasonably buoyant. Findings from the CMS Emer­ging Europe M&A 2023/24 report, published in cooperation with EMIS, demonstrate the resilience of the Emerging Europe deals market as activity holds firm against a backdrop of geopolitical tensions and strong inflationary pressures. Welcome to the 2023/24 edition of the Emerging Europe report.
Switzerland and the UK sign agreement on mutual recognition in financial...
On 21 December 2023, the Swiss Federal Council and HM Treasury in the UK announced the signing of an agreement on mutual recognition in specific areas of financial services between Switzerland and the UK referred to as the Berne Financial Services Agreement (the Agreement). The conclusion of this ground-breaking Agreement is the culmination of more than two years of negotiations following the signing of a Joint Statement on 30 June 2020 aiming at enhancing cooperation in financial services between Switzerland and the UK. 
Green claims - what needs to be considered
Consumers are increasingly focused on sustainability. Studies have shown that products with green claims sell better than others. But where are the limits of what is permitted when using green claims?
Diverse legal reference points for biodiversity
Biodiversity ensures the functioning of all the ecosystem services that humans depend on. It supplies us with drinking water, forms the basis for food production and provides energy sources. It regulates the climate and protects us from natural hazards. Biodiversity is, therefore, not only of importance to nature. It is a foundation for our society and the entire economy. A large proportion of companies depend directly or indirectly on biodiversity.
International Digital Regulation Hub
Following the EU Commission plan “A Europe fit for the digital age”, we have witnessed a lot of digital regulations in the EU including DMA and DSA, AI Act, Data Act and there is still more to come. Whilst presenting companies with a tumultuous landscape to navigate, the legal obligations imposed also present opportunities to develop their business in a new digital framework safeguarding responsible business practices, fair competition and personal data. The CMS Digital Regulation Hub is home to our Digital Regulation Tracker Tool, providing an overview of the key regulatory instruments for area of law, sectors and business activities which are critical for decision makers as they adapt to the increasingly digital landscape. In addition to this unique tool, we explore the impact this tsunami of regulation is having for businesses across a variety of industries and how GCs can ride the waves to stay ahead of the curve. Our latest re­port il­lus­trates the key findings across Platforms, Content providers, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Energy & Infrastructure, Banking & Finance and Automotive industries. To discuss how to cope with the challenges of Digital Regulations and to explore the opportunities for your business, please contact one of our International experts.
Legal Flash - The Federal Council Aims to Combat Greenwashing in Financial...
Background In 2022, sustainable investments worth around 1.98 trillion Swiss francs were made in Switzerland, according to the industry association Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF). The number of cases of greenwashing by banks and financial service providers around the world has increased by 70 % in the last 12 months, according to RepRisk. On 30 September 2023, the Asset Management Association Switzerland (AMAS) Swiss Self-Regulation for Sustainable Asset Management entered into effect. Such sustainability self-regulation represents a further step in the transformation of the Swiss regulatory framework to integrate sustainable concepts, principles and rules. In addition, AMAS together with the SSF published the Swiss Stewardship Code, a guide to the exercise of shareholder rights by investors in Switzerland, on 4 October 2023. These new initiatives follow the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) self-regulation on ESG integration issued by the SBA in June 2022, which entered into effect on 1 January 2023. From the perspective of the Swiss Federal Finance Department (FFD), however, these measures are currently not sufficient. The FFD has thus informed the Swiss Federal Council on 25 October 2023 that it intends to draw up a proposal for an ordinance for “prin­ciple-based state regulation” with regard to greenwashing in financial products by the end of August 2024, if the industry does not improve by then. Key Findings Swiss Self-Regulation for Sustainable Asset Management  The concept of “sus­tain­ab­il­ity” is of central importance for the application of sustainability self-regulation. A mere reference to individual elements or approaches to sustainability, such as exclusions of specific issuers or a simple ESG integration approach, is not considered a sufficient reference to sustainability. If reference is made only to the application of an ESG integration approach, it must be clearly stated that the collective investment scheme in question is not sustainable or is not managed sustainably. The same applies to a sustainable strategy that focuses exclusively on the exclusion approach. It is important to note that a reference to a particular approach, or a general reference to sustainability or ESG, can constitute a greenwashing risk irrespective of whether the sustainability self-regulation applies, if such reference is misleading, confusing or simply not appropriate to the nature of the assets or management. The application of comparable foreign standards – such as the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) – is sufficient to meet the sustainability self-commitment issued by AMAS. The sustainability strategy with an indication of the investment approach pursued (e.g. exclusions, impact investing, thematic investing, etc.) must be made available to investors. The asset management agreement (directly or via an annex) shall specify the minimum proportion of investments that must comply with the sustainability requirements defined in the investment policy. Investors are informed about the sustainability approaches at least once a year in a report. For impact investing strategies, the annual reporting must show the extent to which the stated sustainability goals have been achieved. Key Findings Swiss Stewardship Code  The aim of this Code is to promote the active exercise of shareholder rights by investors in Switzerland by developing a more sustainable economy and increasing long-term returns for investors, taking into account sustainability risks. The Code is not binding. It is applicable on a voluntary basis and only makes recommendations. According to AMAS and SSF, the principles of the Code are aligned with the Global Stewardship Principles of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN). The Guideline addresses investors, as well as their asset managers and other service providers that deploy stewardship activities for investors. The Guideline complements existing civil and regulatory obligations. In other words, the Code does not conflict with such obligations or requirements, and compliance with its principles does not relieve investors and/or service providers from their respective obligations. In total, the guideline consists of nine principles for effective stewardship: (1) governance, (2) stewardship guidelines, (3) voting, (4) engagement, (5) escalation, (6) monitoring investees, (7) delegation of stewardship activities, (8) conflicts of interest, and (9) transparency and reporting. More information can be found here. Although this Code remains prin­ciples-based, it contains several specific recommendations and a clear methodology that can be of useful assistance to investors, asset managers and other service providers engaged in sustainable investment and stewardship. Conclusion The entry into force of sustainability self-regulation is another step in the transformation of the Swiss regulatory framework to integrate sustainable concepts, principles and rules. AMAS will continue to promote solutions and initiatives for an appropriate sustainable framework for the Swiss asset management industry, such as the Swiss Stewardship Code developed together with Swiss Sustainable Finance SSF or the promotion of the already existing Swiss Climate Score. Considering the intentions of the Swiss Federal Finance Department to potentially implement state regulation on greenwashing, the coming months will be decisive for whether Switzerland will opt for self-regulation, tough regulatory provisions or, even, a combination of both approaches.
News in Sustainability Claims
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Global Life Sciences & Healthcare Forum 2023 – recordings & presentations
We were delighted to bring you this year’s Forum, “Blurring Boundaries - Exploring the convergence of life sciences and law”, from Amsterdam. The theme “Blurring Boundaries - Exploring the convergence of life sciences and law” aimed to:Uncover the latest breakthroughs: Dive into the forefront of life sciences advances, including biotechnology, genetics, pharmaceuticals, and medical devicesAddress the regulatory gap: Engage in interactive workshops to bridge the divide between rapid innovation and the development of legal frame­work­sNav­ig­ate global challenges: Explore the impact of globalisation, ethical considerations, privacy concerns, and societal implications on the life sciences sectorFoster collaboration: Connect with legal and scientific minds, exchange ideas, and build valuable re­la­tion­shipsP­resent­a­tions were delivered by fantastic industry speakers, including Annemiek Verkamman (Managing Director, Hollandbio), Charida Dorder (Member of the Dutch AI Coalition), Wouter Boon (Associate Professor, Utrecht University) and Marc Kaptein (Medical Director, Pfizer), as they shared their expertise, thoughts and insights on how the sector is “Blurring Boundaries”. We were also joined by Simon Neill (Senior Legal Director) at Johnson & John­son and Joep Rijnierse (Senior Medical Director) at Amgen in our workshops. This webpage has been designed to keep you updated on the Forum, our speakers, as well as provide you with the useful resources complementing the theme “Blurring Boundaries - Exploring the convergence of life sciences and law”. You will also find on this page details on how to stay connected with CMS through our upcoming webinar series, On the Pulse Webinar Series 2023 - Autumn (cms. law); free eAlert service, Law-Now; and social media channels.