Consumer

On June 20, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to require cable operators and direct broadcast satellite (“DBS”) providers to display an “all-in” price for their video programming services in their billing and marketing materials.  The White House issued a press release that same day expressing its support

Those in the business of fast‑moving consumer goods (“FMCGs”) are likely aware of the plethora of environmental and product stewardship regulations applicable to the FMCG sector.  These laws are set to increase and expand in application.  What FMCG companies also need to get to grips with are a range of broader (and also fast‑moving!) environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) developments and consequent risks and opportunities.  Companies need to understand how the new world of ESG impacts their supply chains, key ingredients and components, consumer choice and confidence, competitive advantage, market accessibility, and marketing. 

Designed as a ‘primer’ for FMCG companies, in this piece, we cover a range of key trends in the emerging UK and EU ESG legal landscape as relevant for the FMCG sector, from farmers to Food Business Operators (“FBOs”) and from manufacturers to retailers.  We also discuss some key legal and reputational risks; as well as pointers to help companies decipher and prepare for the ESG storm.

We focus on the UK and the EU (first movers on many ESG issues), but the landscape in other jurisdictions (including, for example, the US) is also evolving and becoming more complex.

Key ESG Issues for FMCGs

We think there are four categories of key ESG developments for FMCGs to watch: (I) corporate reporting and disclosure regimes; (II) green/sustainability claims and labelling; (III) supply chain obligations; and (IV) product packaging and presentation.

Many emerging ESG frameworks cut across sectors.  This may be efficient for regulators, but can make identifying sector-specific risks and opportunities more challenging.  We have sought to do that below.Continue Reading Green Groceries: Key ESG Issues for the FMCG Industry (including FBOs)

On March 22, 2023, the European Commission published a proposal for Directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods (“Proposal”), which would grant consumers the right to request from producers the repair of products that under EU law are subject to “reparability requirements.”  The Proposal’s aim is to encourage producers to develop more sustainable business models by ensuring that their products are reparable.

The European Parliament and Council are now considering the Proposal for adoption and may introduce amendments.  Manufacturers should consider the impact of the Proposal on their products and suggest their amendments to Members of the European Parliament and Member States. If adopted, the Proposal’s requirements are not likely to apply in the different Member States before the end of 2026.

Contextual Background of the Proposal

The Proposal is intended to achieve the product sustainability and circularity objectives of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan of 2020, one of the main building blocks of the European Green Deal, that announced the Commission’s intention to introduce legislative initiatives aimed at “improving product durability, reusability, upgradability and reparability.”  Other initiatives affecting the durability, reparability and reusability of appliances and other products include: (i) a proposal for Regulation on Ecodesign Requirements for Sustainable Products (“Proposed Sustainable Products Regulation”), which will replace the existing Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC; and (ii) a proposal for a Directive amending Directives 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU as regards Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition Through Better Protection Against Unfair Practices and Better Information (“Proposal for a Greenwashing Directive”).Continue Reading European Commission Publishes Directive on the Right of Repair Proposal

In the past five years, loot boxes have been the focus of many gaming regulators worldwide.  While the regulatory status of loot boxes is still unclear in the EU, the Report of the European Parliament on Consumer Protection in Online Video Games: a European Single Market Approach, adopted on January 18, 2023, may bring some clarity on how loot boxes will be regulated in the EU in the future.

This blog post illustrates how loot boxes are currently regulated in the EU and explains why the gaming industry should already prepare for a possible ban on paid loot boxes.

Qualification of Loot Boxes in the EU

In its Study on Loot Boxes in Online Games and Their Effect on Consumers, in Particular Young Consumers of July 2020, the European Parliament broadly defined loot boxes as “features in video games which are usually accessed through gameplay, or which may be optionally paid for with real-world money.  They are ‘mystery boxes’ which contain randomised items, so players do not know what they will get before opening.  Players can access diverse types of in-game content through loot boxes such as cosmetic items for game customisation (e.g. skins and new looks for the player’s avatar) or items affecting gameplay (e.g. tools, weapons, levels, maps, in-game currency etc.) which could, for example, help players compete better or advance more quickly.”

Thus, loot boxes are usually characterized by the following features:Continue Reading Upcoming EU Legislation on Loot boxes?

Last year, Congress passed and President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which included provisions to allow Medicare to directly negotiate the price of drugs along with other cost control measures that, taken together, represented the most sweeping and impactful drug pricing policy reform in generations. “We finally beat pharma,” the President declared.

President Biden doubled down in his State of the Union address, repeating the mantra that Americans “pay more for prescription drugs than any major country on earth” – to back up his promise to veto any effort in Congress to repeal the IRA. Given the albeit slim Democratic majority in the Senate, the odds of legislation to repeal the IRA hitting the President’s desk in the next two years are nil. But putting political rhetoric aside, the reality is that the congressional environment for pharma remains threatening on a number of fronts.

Democrats in Congress continue to see drug pricing as a winning issue. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Wyden has essentially already rejected the idea of amending the IRA to put small molecule drugs on the same timeline for negotiation as biologics.  Wyden also recently sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to make certain that the IRA’s inflation rebate provisions are timely and completely implemented. At the same time, as a counter balance, new House Energy and Commerce Chair McMorris Rodgers and others plan to use their oversight authorities to force transparency from Administration regarding the impact of the IRA on drug innovation and other issues.Continue Reading Drug Pricing Reform Efforts in DC: A Continuing Pill for the Biopharma Industry

May courts look beyond the face of a loan transaction to identify the “true lender”?  In a lawsuit filed by California’s financial regulator, a California state court recently answered yes, finding that a fact-intensive inquiry into the “substance” of a loan transaction was necessary to determine who the “true lender” is and declining to dismiss

The Connecticut legislature passed Connecticut SB 6 on April 28, 2022.  If signed by the governor, the bill would take effect on July 1, 2023, though the task force created by the bill will be required to begin work sooner.

The bill closely resembles the Colorado Privacy Act, with a few notable additions.  Like the

On June 30, President Biden signed into law a joint resolution to repeal the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) so-called true lender rule.  The rule was repealed under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to repeal new federal regulations by passing a joint resolution of disapproval that must be later signed by the president.  Federal regulations repealed under the CRA are treated as if they had never gone into effect.
Continue Reading Congress Repeals the OCC’s True Lender Rule