Here is this week's Commercial Awareness Update. Hope all is going well with your applications Covered in this week's update: BlackRock scold Siemens for questionable environmentally-responsible record (@Curtley Bale) The Petrol and Diesel Car Ban (@Alice Manners) Calisen’s IPO on the London Stock Exchange (@Rachel S) Coronavirus: An Act of God? (@Ayah) BlackRock scold Siemens for questionable environmentally-responsible recordBy @Curtley Bale The Story The world’s largest asset management fund, BlackRock, has scolded Siemens for its role in financing the controversial Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia. Siemens is one of Germany's largest industrial companies, yet BlackRock has suggested their A$2bn infrastructure deal highlights their lack of appreciation for climate change issues. Siemens’ decision to help finance the new coal mine in Australia sparked global campaigns and protests to force the German company to rethink their decision. What is means for Businesses and Law firms The asset management fund, with around $7tn in assets, issued its first warning following CEO Larry Fink’s recent commitment to climate change issues. Fink has suggested the company will drop some coal holdings due to the financial risk of climate change. BlackRock may have warned Siemens in this way as they aim to uphold their promises regarding climate change. Doing this becomes even more important after protests outside the HQs of both companies by climate change activists. For Siemens, being called out by such a huge name may cause reputational damage. This is because they have strict 'green action' protocols, yet BlackRock does not think they're doing enough. With the asset manager putting more pressure on companies, Siemens may have to disclose climate-related risk and climate-related discussions. Whilst this may be seen as a step in the right direction, it could be costly for Siemens if they are forced to comply, or are seen to be being slow in the green space. Law firms may have a role to play in situations like this in terms of helping to finance green projects. Moreover, both Siemens and BlackRock look set to drop out of some current commitments due to climate change risk. This could create potential litigation as the two firms seek an amicable exit from their standing agreements. Petrol and Diesel Car BanBy @Alice Manners The Story The government have announced that they are bringing forward the ban on the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans, from 2040 to 2035. This is part of the plan to ensure the UK produces net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a target legislated for in June last year. Impact on Businesses and Law Firms The decision to include hybrid cars in the consultation was unexpected and the announcement has been received with some negativity, particularly as the UK automotive industry suffered a decline in production and sales during 2019, with Brexit uncertainty taking much of the blame. However, the transformation in the market will provide opportunity both within and outside the industry. Expertise in both electric and autonomous vehicles will be in high demand as manufacturers follow in Tesla’s footprints, or risk becoming irrelevant. Law firms will be able to continue to assist manufacturers, insurers and businesses adapting to these new technologies as the market changes. Wide ranging practice areas including litigation, cyber security, data protection and intellectual property will all have a part to play. Car manufacturers may follow in Volkswagen and Ford’s footsteps, joining forces to collaborate and invest in new technologies, something law firms can assist on the regulatory implications of, predicting and managing the risk and regulations involved. The infrastructure surrounding electric cars will also need to be developed in order to manage the vast increase in electric cars on the road. This will include longer-lasting batteries, increased charging points and more power, including solar or wind farms. This provides opportunity for businesses, those investing into them and law firms as they assist in the process. Additionally, as the need for radical environmental change becomes more widely accepted, both law firms and businesses may feel heightened pressure to reduce and offset their own carbon footprint.