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    ESG and Sustainable Business

    Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors play an important part in determining a company’s long-term financial performance. How companies approach social responsibility and sustainability issues is not just of reputational importance but is becoming increasingly material against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as society looks to “build back better” in an uncertain post-COVID-19 world.

    We have a dedicated global cross-practice ESG group, connected to both policymakers and significant institutional investors, which is committed to providing solutions to our clients, both in addressing risks and opportunities within the ESG framework, as well as ESG-related litigation and international dispute resolution.

    Learn more on stakeholder pressures and how we can provide support.

    Our Taking the Lead podcast series interviews business leaders on how they steer their businesses, people and communities towards better outcomes and build a resilient and sustainable future.

    Our ESG Approach

    We help clients navigate ESG risks and provide solutions to ESG-related needs through an approach that is thematic, systematic and pragmatic.

    • Thematic – We help clients identify and prioritise ESG-related risks along common “themes” arising from different classes of stakeholders. This risk-based approach ensures our approach is fully scalable and provides value for legal spend.
    • Systematic – We offer due diligence on ESG-related risks and recommend mitigation strategies that complement and build on existing ESG-related frameworks and objectives.
    • Pragmatic – We offer practical solutions and systems that our clients can readily implement and monitor across their organisations. Members of our team have experience working at senior levels of government, national regulatory authorities and as senior private sector executives.

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    Tackling climate change has become a global priority as governments and private sector organisations rally around net-zero commitments and other targets set by the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As governments set net-zero targets, so the expectation on corporates to do the same will grow. The Biden presidency in the US is likely to accelerate this trend, on both sides of the Atlantic.

    The expectation on corporates to manage and account for their environmental practices in a way that aligns with these goals is not only driven by regulation, but also by stakeholders, including customers, the workforce, suppliers and investors. How well a business is able to do so has become a driver of value and will determine its competitive edge. 

    Our highly regarded multidisciplinary team of lawyers and policy experts advises on the full breadth of issues, including meeting ESG-related compliance and legal obligations, such as energy efficiency targets, corporate governance and risk assessment and management, sustainable finance, supporting clients in their decarbonisation goals and wider sustainability objectives, and supply chain procurement processes, as well as addressing externalities and management of wider stakeholder groups, such as employee and community engagement. We are adept at helping our clients manage arising reputational and political issues, and advocating on our clients’ behalf to achieve best outcomes for all.

    Contact: Anita Lloyd

    Corporates are under increasing pressure to account for how they manage their people, as well as the impact they have on the communities and society around them. Whether they pay fairly, develop and look after their workforce, are inclusive and diverse, and ensure integrity in their supply chains in relation to human rights and business ethics, the scrutiny comes from all quarters and is fast becoming a competitive driver.

    We advise employers across the range of human resource issues, from the policies, procedures and training that support best practice, for example on inclusion and diversity, mental health and wellbeing, work-life balance, pay and reward mechanisms, to supply chain integrity, as well as investigations into workplace issues, such as bribery and corruption, discrimination and harassment, and other issues of reputational importance.

    Our Global Employer’s Playbook is a compliance tool we are developing that helps employers build their ESG profile in relation to their workplace policies and practices, in particular as they relate to the various UN Sustainable Development Goals and principles of the UN Global Compact. It is just one aspect of the holistic approach we take in supporting our clients through the myriad tricky issues that arise on the “S” in ESG.

    Contact: Caroline Noblet

    The responsibility of the board and other decision-makers has never been more all-encompassing and important than under the ESG lens. The robustness of a company’s governance framework to navigate risks, assess opportunities and withstand exogenous shocks, especially of the unexpected kind, is one that will not only hold it in good stead, but is also an indicator of resilience and long-term viability that will attract investment and yield returns. 

    We have a cross-disciplinary team that supports organisations across the full range of issues, from directors’ duties, board structure, remuneration, business ethics, risk and crisis management, data security, supply chain management and tax strategy, to investor relations. We help our clients navigate complex regulatory regimes and develop robust compliance programmes – for example,  our Integrity and Ethics Framework helps businesses assess their compliance against a number of business integrity risks.

    We leverage our policy expertise to go beyond compliance and can provide practical insights on how reputational issues play into commercial operations, both from a strategic and operational perspective. We can also provide large-scale independent governance reviews that enable businesses to uphold their reputation and good governance.

    Contacts: Matthew Kirk & Hannah Kendrick