Sustainability and ESG
  1. Sustainability and ESG

    Sustainability as an overarching term has been with us for some time, but with the increasing focus on social responsibility what it actually means in practice differs from client to client and the industry sector they operate within. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria have developed as a way of focusing a business’s sustainability programme and measuring its success in a more transparent way.

    We understand that the emphasis of focus on each of the ESG pillars will vary for our clients. We can use our industry expertise to help clients nuance their sustainability programmes, carry out gap analyses and put in place metrics to measure success.

    We want to help our clients deliver on their sustainability goals by proactively suggesting ways in which we can help them manage risk and embed change both within the organisation and with external stakeholders. We understand it is about action, not just words, and the need for accountability. We work with a number of external experts to assist clients wishing to obtain valuable environmental accreditations and sustainability benchmarking.

    ESG audit

    We can support you from the very beginning of your sustainability journey by working with you on an ESG audit. This assesses current compliance against key areas, existing measures and metrics and provides a gap analysis which will help to inform your overall strategy.

    Other key areas where we can help:

     

    • Environmental

      The importance of our environment and management of climate change is ever increasing and we can help with a number of issues in this area including:

      • Sustainable, environmental and climate change warranties and due diligence in property acquisitions, disposals and lettings
      • Property development obligations with a focus on the environment, nature conservation, sustainability, climate change and modern slavery
      • Energy efficiency clauses including Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES), Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) clauses, as well as Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) clauses
      • Electric vehicle charging leases
      • Modern, Off-site and prefabricated construction methods; design liability in the context of emerging and novel building technologies; and design life requirements and limitation issues
      • Green dispute resolution procedures for construction disputes and sustainability commitments in construction settlement discussions and agreements
      • Compliance with climate change considerations under the Pension Schemes Act 2021
      • Climate and environmental taxes and reliefs
    • Social

      We can advise on a range of areas to help you manage the societal impact your business has on communities, employees and other stakeholders, including:

      • Reward and incentivisation schemes including equity-based incentives
      • Diversity, equality and inclusion metrics including polices and implementation
      • Grievance and whistleblowing polices and employers' duties
      • Modern slavery statements and underlying policies
      • Corporate responsibility and sustainability reports and policies
      • Data protection polices and advice (including GDPR), subject access request handling and cyber security advice
      • Managing criminal liability risk for tax evasion committed by others
      • Social investment tax reliefs
      • CSR programmes and charitable donations
      • Supplier code of ethics and contractual provisions to apply sustainable values
    • Governance

      We can assist you in ensuring compliance and managing risk as a responsible business, including in the following areas:

      • Directors’ duties in considering ESG impact on corporate decisions
      • Reviewing and amending articles of association to include ESG values
      • B Corp status, community interest companies and other social enterprises
      • Business/share values (including COVID-19)
      • Managing shareholder activism and shareholder rights
      • Derivative actions, deadlocked boards, D&O/E&O insurance and litigation funding
      • Investor/buyer due diligence and investment warranties
      • Investment strategies and interplay with pension trustee duties
      • Advice to lenders and borrowers on ESG-based covenants, KPIs and sustainability-linked debt pricing
      • Tax strategy and reporting regimes
      • Tax compliance, for example in relation to external contractor PAYE obligations
      • Anti-bribery and corruption policies and training
      • Commercial contracts and procurement scrutiny
      • Advertising campaigns, green washing and adverse publicity advice
  2. Our People

    Partners

        • Corporate
        • Entrepreneurs
        • Franchising
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        • Sustainability and ESG
        • +44 (0)1483 401232
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        • Commercial
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        • +44 (0)1483 734228
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        • +44 (0)1483 734285
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        • Automotive
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        • +44 (0)1483 406971
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        • Banking and finance
        • Brexit
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        • +44 (0)1483 401233
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    Consultants

        • Energy
        • Insurance
        • Real estate
        • Sustainability and ESG
        • +44 (0)1483 401226
        • Guildford
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    Managing Associates

        • Fashion and luxury
        • Franchising
        • Hospitality
        • Intellectual property
        • Retail
        • Sustainability and ESG
        • +44 (0)1483 401263
        • Guildford
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    Senior Associates

        • Dispute resolution
        • Life sciences
        • Sustainability and ESG
        • +4 (0)1483 734276
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        • Construction and engineering
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        • Sustainability and ESG
        • +44 (0)1483 734256
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        • Corporate tax
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        • Taxation
        • +44 (0)1483 406994
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    Associates

        • Employment
        • Sustainability and ESG
        • +44 (0)1483 401231
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        • Banking and finance
        • Sustainability and ESG
        • +44 (0)1483 406475
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        • Real estate
        • Sustainability and ESG
        • +44 (0)1483 406461
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  3. Articles

    Publications

    Business Bridge - Autumn 2020

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