Fifty Shades of Green: How ESG Colors the Future of Legal Work
August 11, 2022

Fifty Shades of Green: How ESG Colors the Future of Legal Work
“Certainly, for our younger colleagues,” ESG-related topics “are going to color legal work for probably the entire course of their careers,” Alexandra Poe, a partner at Hughes Hubbard, said at a recent roundtable discussing the firm’s How to ESG guide. “We are well past the point where you can argue that you don’t need to think about whether this is a material, economic or operational risk,” she asserted.

Poe noted that insurers are paying attention to ESG risks, and that is a significant indicator of its importance. “If you don’t believe in climate risk, you don’t have to believe a tree hugger like me – you should go talk to other property and casualty insurers and see how they’re writing their property casualty insurance these days and which industries and businesses are having their insurance premiums hiked way up or their condition of insurance changed dramatically.” 

Who handles this increasingly significant risk inside the company? “Some of our clients who are in positions as chief compliance officers and those with similar responsibilities are seeing some part of the ESG remit, or maybe all of it, coming into their work scope,” Poe’s partner Bryan Sillaman said at the event. This shift may unwelcome for some compliance officers with full plates and limited resources, or it may be a new opportunity, as we discuss in our article about managing compliance scope creep.

In a series of guest articles, Sillaman and Poe laid out five steps to establishing a corporate ESG policy and shared advice on taking advantage of the intersection of ESG and compliance. We also have insight from Dechert attorneys on how to adopt anti-corruption tools to manage ESG risks, as well as advice from Winston & Strawn, Alix Partners and Kirkland & Ellis on taking a forward-looking approach to ESG

As we look ahead to the various SEC rules coming down the pike (and the spirited comments on the proposals), let us know your clients’ ESG concerns.

Rebecca Hughes Parker
Global Editor in Chief

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