Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
Dechert provides sophisticated and practical advice to clients across the U.S., Europe, Asia and other jurisdictions on ESG matters. We understand that our clients are facing increasingly complex and far-reaching calls from regulators and stakeholders such as investors, employees and communities to meet ESG goals. ESG is at the global intersection of law, regulation and market developments, and effective ESG counseling is grounded in multidisciplinary and multijurisdictional experience and deep knowledge of a client’s business.
Dechert’s global, multidisciplinary team – including representatives from all of our major practice areas in the U.S., Europe and Asia – monitors for and provides actionable advice related to legal, regulatory, enforcement, market, business and other ESG trends and developments in jurisdictions around the world. Because of our experience in working with a broad and deep set of businesses and industries, Dechert is well positioned to help our clients anticipate and respond to emerging ESG trends and developments in a comprehensive and cost-effective manner.
If you have any questions, please contact any member of our ESG practice.
OnPoint: SEC Proposes Comprehensive Climate-Related Disclosure Rules (March 29, 2022)
Webinar: SFDR and Taxonomy Regulation: What the Regulators Did Next (February 23, 2022)
Publication: Trends in SEC ESG Comments: Registered Funds (February 2022)
Webinar: Rising Tide of ESG: Session Two | ESG in Debt and Equity Investing (November 4, 2021)
OnPoint: EU Commission Publishes Final Draft RTS Under SFDR (November 3, 2021)
Webinar: Rising Tide of ESG: Session One | Core Principles: ESG Five Ws (October 21, 2021)
Podcast: Dechert Partners Featured on S&P Global’s ESG Insider Podcast (August 10, 2021)
OnPoint: EU Commission Publishes Q&A on the application of SFDR (August 3, 2021)
We provide sophisticated and practical advice to asset managers across the U.S., Europe, Asia and other jurisdictions on ESG matters. Our long history representing leading asset managers on cutting-edge and business-critical matters in the major global markets means that we are well positioned to help our clients navigate the complexities of the rapidly evolving ESG market and multiple regulatory frameworks.
ESG investing is an increasing and rapidly developing priority for investors, asset managers, portfolio companies and, increasingly, regulators. Investors’ consideration of the social and environmental impact of their investment activities is transforming the proposition offered by many asset managers and the ways in which they operate that both includes and transcends regulatory considerations. Emerging ESG trends and issues also affect the way that asset managers think about investment objectives, methodologies, processes, performance and disclosure. Understanding legal, regulatory, market and business considerations and requirements that apply to ESG is crucial for not just legal and compliance professionals but also investment professionals and other business personnel.
For more information and additional resources, please visit our ESG for Asset Managers page.
A cross-section of experienced, trusted and diverse Dechert lawyers, including from our internal investigation and labor and employment groups, have developed a novel audit program in response to demand from the market, public and regulators for companies to bridge racial, gender and equity gaps. Dechert’s lawyers have a track record of working with clients on diversity issues and can ensure that any review is covered by privilege, tailored to the needs of our clients, and identify areas for improvement. Our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) audits are phased and provide a blueprint for measurable organizational improvement, while also mitigating legal risk mitigation and strengthening compliance outcomes.
This work is more important than ever as companies need effective DEI programs to minimize legal risk, boost employee recruitment and retention and increase cultural competency. DEI programs also strengthen companies in many ways, including responding to due diligence questionnaires regarding diversity issues.
Visit our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion page for more information about Dechert’s DEI culture and strategy.
A substantial portion of available global investment capital is held under private U.S. pension and other employee benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). For a variety of reasons, in recent years investors (and thus investment managers) are increasingly focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations in connection with the formulation of their investment strategies. There has been additional focus on the role of ESG in connection with investment of the assets of employee benefit plans as a result of two significant regulatory initiatives of the U.S. Department of Labor in 2020. Dechert’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice provides guidance to clients addressing questions concerning regulations that may impact the use of ESG factors in the context of investment decisions by fiduciaries of employee benefit plans.
Dechert’s environmental lawyers advise clients on the ever-changing and complex environmental parameters surrounding environmental, social and governance (ESG) mandates. No matter the industry or jurisdiction, business dealings can be mired in complex environmental matters. With the rise of ESG directives around the globe, our lawyers are working diligently on behalf of clients to spot risk factors and opportunities from the outset in order to establish effective mitigation strategies and ensure an effective market solution.
Our lawyers have been trailblazers for the new enthusiasm to integrate sustainability values into antitrust thinking. For many years a point of debate in academic circles, our team has shone a light where regulators and practitioners are now actively moving forward. Safe harbors are being identified in which businesses are able to cooperate in pursuit of environmental and social goals, without fear of being accused of collusion.
- A Brussels-based Dechert team was recognized by the Financial Times in its “Innovative Lawyers Awards for Europe 2021” for achieving changes in competition law to accommodate sustainability initiatives requiring industry-wide coordination, such as promoting good environmental practices or paying a living income to farmers. Acting pro bono for the Fair Trade organization, the team advocated for a shift in the way the issue is treated by European competition authorities, so as to reassure those businesses that feared antitrust repercussions for cooperating with rivals over joint initiatives.
For more information and additional resources, please visit our ESG for Antitrust page.
As concerns over climate risks continue to rise up the corporate agenda, so does consideration of the financing implications. Dechert helps keep organizations informed as they consider adapting their business models and ways of working in response to new technologies and customer needs. Issuers, underwriters and investors are putting greater focus on the economic impact of ESG, including leveraging our understanding of the evolving legal mandates to anticipate the changing markets.
Clients around the world rely on Dechert’s sustainable financings expertise, including the structuring of green bonds, formation of sustainable investment products and executing transactions involving credit facilities as well as social impact investments. We work closely with many innovative institutional lenders, including representing the loan seller involved with the environmental and social impact series of Freddie Mac’s K-Deal program and the company’s Green Advantage® program.
For more information and additional resources, please visit our ESG for Lenders and Borrowers page.
Dechert’s Global Tax practice monitors and provides clients with critical advice pertaining to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. As dynamic as ESG guidelines have become, our lawyers work with corporate clients to make sure that their tax strategy is in alignment with the latest ESG mandates. By being global in nature, our tax lawyers’ expertise of various jurisdictional tax laws allows us to provide clients with location-specific guidance to ensure tax compliance and optimization.
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations have been a key component of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements for many years and can have a long-term impact on global trade and investment. The recent EU-UK Brexit negotiations, the upcoming U.S.-UK trade negotiations and other trade discussions include considerations that can have a significant impact on businesses, such as sustainable investment disclosure rules, gender diversity for corporate boards, environmental rules and commitments to the workforce, including management and worker representation on corporate boards. Companies that maintain a strong ESG profile and awareness will be best prepared to compete in the global market. Dechert's international trade team regularly advises companies on the impact that these trade agreements can have on their business operations and evaluates their ESG risks and opportunities.
Human rights supply chain due diligence and ESG reporting principles that have been voluntarily adopted by asset managers and companies are now being embedded as minimum standards in global laws and benchmarks, with international policymakers and regulators pushing for more consistent ESG reporting and supply chain due diligence.
A suite of new and pending ESG laws in the EU and enhanced global regulatory focus on ESG reporting mean that businesses who have exposure to EU and global markets will need to take steps to identify their ESG risks and assess their ESG disclosure obligations and supply chain due diligence risks from a human rights perspective. Corporates are also facing increasing pressure from stakeholders to accurately disclose the ESG impact of their business. Businesses should act now to ensure they are ready for the new and impending legislation.
These new and prospective ESG legal obligations, combined with activist stakeholders increasingly holding companies to account and intensifying public scrutiny of ESG issues, will lead to increased litigation, enforcement and reputational risks for businesses, such as the risks of regulatory and investor actions for misleading and inaccurate ESG disclosures or “greenwashing” by issuers, and climate-related litigation brought by stakeholders and non-governmental organisations against companies for ESG failures.
Dechert’s leading global investigations, compliance and litigation lawyers help companies minimize their exposure to ESG-related litigation and enforcement risks by conducting ESG and human rights supply chain audits, enhancing compliance programs to manage ESG risks and advising on ESG reporting requirements and standards.
For more information and additional resources, please visit our ESG page on Litigation, Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement.
Public and private companies look to Dechert to provide guidance on navigating ESG matters generally, including the dynamic framework of various global ESG guidelines and the evolving regulatory disclosure requirements. With an ever-growing level of importance being placed on these mandates, operating companies are in need of counsel who can interpret and provide solutions for their global ESG needs. From benchmarking exercises to disclosures, governance and regulatory counseling, our multi-disciplinary group of lawyers are able to provide clear advisement on many of the fronts that are important to operating companies and their investors. In many instances, ESG-related pressure on operating companies comes from their institutional shareholders and other investors. Dechert has a substantial and experienced corporate governance practice and can therefore can bring to operating companies an insight into the needs and motivations of shareholders and other relevant stakeholders that operating companies increasingly need to address.
As ESG standards continue to evolve around the globe and greater focus is placed on environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities, private equity funds, their investors and portfolio companies are becoming more intertwined with these mandates. From setting up an ESG-focused fund to preparing the sale of a portfolio company with ESG implications, a global, multi-disciplinary team of Dechert lawyers, including those who focus on corporate transactions, fund formation, corporate governance, finance, litigation, environmental, labor and tax, are well versed in understanding local ESG mandates and how they affect investment strategies and objectives, due diligence, regulatory and other disclosure requirements. Our lawyers collaborate closely with private equity clients to provide sophisticated guidance on evolving market best practices in the industries in which they operate to address their ESG concerns and develop tailored solutions for ESG’s dynamic benchmarks and growing influence in capital raising and private investment transactions.