Australian ESG legal outlook: 2023

By Jillian Button, Rachel Nicolson, Emily Turnbull, Anthony Hallal, Alexander Batsis, Billy Hade
Environment, Social, Governance

ESG is continuing to gain momentum across the Australian landscape 5 min read

There is now an expectation that businesses will engage proactively with ESG principles and reporting trends, including in their operational and strategic decision making, even in the absence of so-called 'hard laws'. Propelling this is an expanding suite of ESG-related standards that are influencing stakeholder expectations and the development of laws.

Climate and environmental issues remain at the forefront of ESG-related litigation, with social issues gaining prominence as modern slavery, sexual harassment and discrimination attract greater regulatory attention. Litigation that tests the veracity of businesses’ ESG commitments will continue to increase in 2023, with more bluewashing and greenwashing claims by stakeholders, including regulators and civil society organisations.

In this Insight, produced with Linklaters, we look at recent trends and likely developments in 2023. In particular, we focus on climate and biodiversity, regulatory responses to greenwashing, human rights and modern slavery, data breaches and cybersecurity, and anti-corruption, bribery, and sanctions matters, as well as ESG regulation and disclosure.

We take you through the three key components of ESG:

  1. 'E' – Environment
  2. 'S' – Social
  3. 'G' – Governance