The Competition and Markets Authority recently published the Green Agreements Guidance to provide businesses with additional clarity on how competition law applies to agreements that address climate change and environmental sustainability and, more specifically, how Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 applies to agreements between businesses. The CMA reports that the guidance follows the environmental sustainability advice that the Sustainability Taskforce provided to the UK government in March 2022.
According to the CMA, the guidance, which was published on October 12, 2023, provides businesses with key principles and practical examples that they can use when working with other companies on environmental sustainability initiatives. The CMA also indicated that it does not expect to take enforcement action against agreements that comply with guidance principles. On the same day, the CMA launched a video and roadmap that focuses on different categories of risk and should be viewed before reading the guidance document or seeking legal advice. The CMA also emphasized that it has an open-door policy that enables the CMA to provide tailored informal guidance to businesses, non-governmental organizations and charities on proposed environmental sustainability initiatives.
The Financial Conduct Authority also announced the publication of the CMA’s environmental sustainability guidance. The FCA confirmed that, under section 234J of the Financial Services and Market Act 2000, it had concurrent powers to enforce competition law in the financial services sector and, in doing so, will apply the principles in the CMA’s guidance.