Background - Practices (Details)

Environmental, Social, and Governance

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Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations offer businesses significant opportunities to position themselves as forward-thinking organizations that provide long-term value to their shareholders, investors, and customers, and produce meaningful impact within their corporate culture. At the same time, ESG policies can create or crystallize risks that must be identified and minimized. For companies to be recognized as ESG-focused—meaning that both their policies and their behaviors demonstrate an emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility—they must concentrate on the myriad areas where environmental, social, and ethical concerns intersect, notably in terms of:

  • Supply Chain and Procurement Transparency. Environmental impacts (including supply chain and lifecycle decarbonization), human rights (including environmental justice and equity concerns), and anti-corruption measures.
  • Climate Change. Transitioning to renewable or clean energy, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, net-zero emission and discharge goals, and related financial risks and opportunities.
  • Workplace Issues. Labor rights, diversity and inclusion, gender equity, and board ethics and compensation structures.

Crowell & Moring’s ESG advisory team, comprising 35 lawyers supported by more than 70 lawyers, directors, and consultants, helps organizations understand and manage the potential risks of ESG issues and take advantage of the opportunities that arise as businesses formulate corporate strategies and implement ESG-focused best practices. As new legal and regulatory frameworks replace the previously voluntary reporting standards issued by non-governmental organizations and require that businesses proactively address ESG matters, our team draws from its extensive global government experience to provide our clients a unique perspective in successfully navigating rapidly evolving ESG-related policy, regulatory, and legislative developments, maximizing opportunities while minimizing risks.

Areas of Service

Investors, boards, management, employees, consumers, and regulatory agencies are among the stakeholders worldwide for whom ESG issues are becoming a top priority. With an eye toward the often disparate needs of this wide spectrum of stakeholders, our global ESG advisory team offers comprehensive services to help companies protect their interests, promote good stewardship, and establish reporting initiatives that will directly enhance their organization’s leadership role as global citizens, while increasing their growth potential and other measures of success. We work with key opinion leaders outside of industry and build partnerships with respected organizations so that our initiatives and messages are trusted and welcomed by governments. Our ESG team offers businesses counsel on:

  • Policy, regulatory, and legislative developments. Analyzing issues ranging from environmental compliance and corporate governance to public company disclosures and government contract procurement, and advocating for our clients’ interests in response to proposed regulatory and legislative requirements.
  • Legal requirements and best practices. Evaluating the policies and practices that organizations implement to comply with relevant legal and regulatory frameworks and, increasingly, assisting clients in adopting and implementing ESG policies voluntarily due to stakeholder pressure. This includes voluntary disclosure practices, supply chain management, executive compensation policies, data privacy, and cybersecurity measures.
  • Transactional risks and compliance. Working with organizations to identify, understand, and manage governance risks and liabilities in transactions by conducting due diligence across a broad array of areas, including environmental law compliance, executive compensation, and employment practices, and by negotiating the appropriate allocation of those risks and liabilities amongst all involved parties.
  • Complex Commercial Contracts. Negotiating complex agreements such as engineering, procurement, and construction contracts and operation and maintenance agreements, and counseling clients on related issues with respect to subcontractors, vendors, customers, and other third parties.
  • Crises, investigations, litigation, and alternative dispute resolution. Representing clients in responding to and managing environmental, energy, and employment incidents, data breaches, and white-collar investigations matters.
  • Public Affairs. Creating platforms to enable organizations to shape ESG discussions and their brand narrative as well as developing initiatives and partnerships with trusted institutions to achieve results and show sustained action and progress towards public commitments.