“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.
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