ESG—or environmental, social, and governance—criteria seems to be everywhere these days. With social issues more visible than ever in our interconnected world, consumers and investors alike are paying more attention to how the businesses they support will help or hinder greater progress for society as a whole. With new metrics for assessing social and environmental impact evolving and targets being embedded into corporate strategy, ESG data is informing decision-making around the world. In this episode of Law, disrupted, John and his guests discuss navigating the evolving ESG legal landscape.
This episode features Andrew Malk, the Managing Partner of Malk Partners, a consulting firm focused exclusively on advising private equity firms and investors to create, protect and monitor value through ESG management. John also welcomes Anthony Alden and Julianne Hughes-Jennett, Partners in Quinn Emanuel’s Los Angeles and London offices.
During their conversation, John’s guests share insights on how we got to where we are today, what to expect in the future, and what they are seeing from a reputational, regulatory and litigation perspective. They discuss whether society is expecting more accountability from businesses, and highlight a potential shift in the way we view the social contract between businesses, corporations, and individuals.
With the rise of concern over sustainability and climate change, companies are experiencing increased pressure to make “green” claims and commitments. The three explore the emergence of various ESG rating systems that aim to meet such demands for transparency and discuss the inherent challenges in simplifying and standardizing comparable metrics. They then consider the SEC’s landmark proposal, which would require public companies to disclose extensive climate-related information in their filings, and debate what matters, and what should be measured.
In this conversation, John and his guests detail how ESG considerations are surfacing in the US legal landscape compared with that of the UK and Europe, and highlight an uptick in greenwashing claims as we look to the future wave of ESG litigation.
Published: Apr 13 2022