What is ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance)?
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors are non-financial performance indicators that stakeholders use to assess companies.
Although originally used in the context of investment strategies and driven by institutional investors, the concept of “ESG” and its use has recently broadened to encompass expected management structures, disclosure practices and commitments that companies are making to promote sustainability and improve their environmental, social and governance profiles.
With offices across Canada, in London, England and in Johannesburg, South Africa, Fasken helps organizations work through ESG considerations that impact their sustainability over the long term. We bring together lawyers who are uniquely qualified to assist you on all types of ESG issues specific to your industry. Whether you’re an institutional investor, public or private company, an NGO or government agency, and whatever your role (Board Chair, CEO, Chief Investment Officer, General Counsel or Sustainability Officer), Fasken can assist you.
Our wide range of experience encompasses business and human rights, anti-corruption, corporate governance, cybersecurity, social license to operate, climate change and renewable energy and spans many of our practice areas - from dispute resolution and labour and employment to financial institutions and corporate law.
The array of ESG and sustainability issues with which we can assist includes:
Capital Markets & Sustainable Finance
- Helping clients take advantage of emerging corporate finance opportunities (e.g. sustainability-linked lending and creating ESG focused financial products) and comply with existing and developing ESG obligations (e.g. Equator Principles).
- Working with clients to engage institutional and activist investors and other stakeholders in respect of ESG-related matters.
- Integrating ESG in M&A due diligence, private equity portfolios and investment funds policies, including green investment strategies (e.g. cleantech development).
- Advising boards on all governance matters such as board composition, executive and board compensation, stakeholder engagement, public disclosure, business ethics, cybersecurity and privacy issues, and oversight of ESG risks and opportunities
- Developing ESG policies and practices, compliance registers, management plans and codes of conduct for organizations, projects and transactions
- Education and training to directors and officers of public companies and institutional investors about ESG, including how to carry out ESG engagements with shareholders and other stakeholders
- Public relations and reputation risk management
Global Supply Chains
- Advising clients on developing and implementing strategies, policies and procedures to address workplace issues (e.g. health and safety matters, freedom of association, sexual harassment, modern slavery legislation)
- Assisting companies in managing “publish what you pay” obligations, anti-bribery and corruption risks and transparency demands throughout their global supply chains
- Assisting clients with internal investigations and external due diligence in respect of global supply chain issues
Community Engagement & Security
- Advising clients on how to engage with local and Indigenous communities to obtain consent and maintain support for major project development, including through negotiating project-related community benefit agreements and establishing operational-level grievance mechanisms
- Advising clients on developing and implementing strategies, policies and procedures to ensure company and security personnel comply with human rights expectations
- Representing clients facing legal claims alleging liability for human rights violations abroad
Responses to Climate Change
- Advising clients on legal aspects of greenhouse gas emissions disclosures and corporate climate change strategies, including governance, strategy, risk management and metrics
- Assisting clients in their efforts to achieve carbon neutrality, whether through operational improvements, renewable energy projects, fuel-switching or carbon offset transactions
- Government relations including exploring public funding opportunities for climate-related projects