Environment, Social, Governance

Embedding ESG best practice

Today, more than at any other time, corporations need social legitimacy to operate. The three pillars of ESG – Environmental, Social, Governance – require companies to exercise greater scrutiny and to conduct their businesses sustainably and responsibly. ESG aspirations (and compliance to these) are an increasingly important metric for investors and a broad range of stakeholders whose expectations continue to increase.

Building your ESG narrative means articulating what you are prioritising and why. Many companies ask themselves, 'what are the standards we should be looking to when setting the bar on ESG issues?' Fortunately, there is a clear answer to that: international law and soft law (denote agreements, principles and declarations that are not legally binding) standards.

Following a commitment to align with ESG-related international laws and standards, the next question is how to best shape a leading ESG risk and compliance culture? Embedding ESG means anchoring your best practices and standards across a broad range of areas.

Key steps for fostering best practice include:

  1. Thorough research and analysis to review current practices in place
  2. Assessing any gaps and risks
  3. Refreshing or creating ESG policies and redrafting commitments

Responsible business

ESG covers a broad spectrum, across the full gamut of issues. These span climate change and resource efficiency, human rights and community engagement, anti-bribery and corruption, cyber and privacy, transparency and disclosure, and accountability.

icons-esg-50px_environmental.png Environmental

A company's impact on the natural environment and the energy and resources it uses to operate.

Our areas of expertise:

  • Environment
  • Climate transition
  • Energy and natural resources
  • Green finance
  • Transport
  • Waste management
  • Green marketing

icons-esg-50px_social.png Social

How a company manages its relationships with employees, customers, communities and society in general.

Our areas of expertise:

  • Employment standards
  • Health and safety
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Business and human rights
  • Supply chain management
  • Native title and cultural heritage
  • Privacy and data protection
  • Consumer protection
  • Responsible lending

icons-esg-50px_governance.png Governance

How a company is governed by the internal policies and procedures created to make effective decisions for the wider good of the company.

Our areas of expertise:

  • Leadership and corporate governance
  • Ethics and culture
  • Shareholder management
  • Bribery and sanctions
  • Financial crime
  • Executive remuneration
  • Whistleblowing
  • Data governance
  • Risk management

How we can help in your ESG journey

Stakeholder expectations and shareholder activism on ESG issues have increased in recent years, and will continue to do so. It is now clear that having leading ESG commitments and practices that are embedded in a company's structures and processes are a real asset and can lead to substantial success. However, failure to have a strong ESG approach or deficiencies in an ESG approach can have significant commercial, operational and reputational consequences.

Climate Change

Explore the physical and transitional risks associated with adjusting towards a lower-carbon economy, such as regulatory changes or shifts in investor behaviour that may impact a company's business and future prospects.

Business & Human Rights

Explore how, in the last decade, the business and human rights space has seen immense movement at both domestic and international levels and the risks this creates.

Environment & Planning

Explore how to comply with environmental liability and pollution laws, including across a range of specialist areas: native title, heritage and endangered species requirements and compliance with environmental impact statements.

Risk & Compliance Advisory

Commitment to align with ESG-related international laws and standards presents a two-step approach. First, ensuring that the expected standard is set through the policies. Second, having systems and a culture in place that leads people in a business to use best practice standards as part of their everyday operations. A shared understanding of these expectations and infusing them into every part of the business will set the tone of a risk and compliance culture.

Head Office & Governance

Setting out the parameters for embedding a strong ESG culture across an organisation is key. Ensuring there is a clear framework, accountability and transparency for ESG management and decision-making is key. Stakeholder engagement and external reporting in particular are increasingly pinned to these best practice standards.

Data, Privacy and Cyber

All organisations create, collect and use a multitude of different types of data. Information is perhaps the single most important asset for organisations as they continue to innovate and grow.

A global perspective from Linklaters

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A Net Zero System 

Insight – commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 will only be achieved with significant new investment and a rapid change in the sourcing of some of our most fundamental commodities, energy and water. Read what infrastructure will have the biggest impact.

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Breaking down President Biden's Leaders Summit on Climate

Webinar – key takeaways from the Leaders Summit on Climate, where heads of countries discuss the urgency and the economic benefits of stronger climate action, and galvanize efforts to tackle the crisis.

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Implementing Human Rights Protections in International Supply Contracts 

Insight – American Bar Association Business Law Section's work on setting out a human rights due diligence regime and suggesting a framework for upholding human rights in supply chains.

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Human rights: What does it mean for businesses? 

Podcast – key business and human rights themes that businesses need to be aware of in the era of rising scrutiny