Climate Finance Course Explores Transnational Policy + Law, Money, Geography Interrelationships

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Recognizing that lawyers increasingly need to know how business law involves issues of compliance and ESG (Environmental Social and Governance), Miami Law introduced a new concentration in Business Compliance and Sustainability in 2020. Many of the courses relate to international and comparative law, and one of these international courses is Professor Caroline Bradley’s Climate Finance class.

New Climate Finance Course

This class developed from a module within the course in International Finance which Professor Bradley has taught at Miami Law for many years, and which examines the relationships between law, money, and geography.

"As financial and non-financial companies increasingly focus on issues relating to climate change, and law firms are establishing ESG practice groups, students who are interested in business law would be well advised to learn about the ways in which climate change is affecting business law and practice," says Bradley.

For example, in the spring of 2020, when the class studied climate-related aspects of securities regulation and asset management. Whereas the E.U. has been developing detailed rules to require financial and non-financial firms to address ESG issues, the U.S. has not so far addressed these issues in a comprehensive way. At the same time, many U.S. institutions have been developing ESG investment products and advocating increased attention to issues of sustainability.

A Course That Adapts to the Times

Climate finance is a moving target, as international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and the Financial Stability Board are actively involved in developing policies relating to climate finance.

In December 2020, there was an important shift in the United States' involvement in these moves as the Federal Reserve joined the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System. This will affect areas of emphasis when the course is taught in spring 2021.

Bradley elaborates, “So, as the course begins again in the Spring of 2021, we will see a different comparison between the U.S. and the E.U., one in which actors in the U.S. Federal Government are participating in a transnational policy conversation about sustainability and finance. But it is also worth noting that the U.S. Department of Labor’s rules on Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments, published in the Federal Register in November, aim to discourage ESG investing by employee benefit plans.”

The Concentration in Business Compliance and Sustainability includes many other courses relating to the area of international law including Business and Human Rights, International Anticorruption Law and Practice, International Business Transactions, and Doing Business in Latin America. Marcia Narine Weldon is the Faculty Coordinator of the Concentration.

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