Environmental, Social & Governance

We enable clients to articulate their purpose and hold themselves accountable.

Find out how we can help

Recent years have recalibrated what ‘good governance’ means. A deep appreciation and respect for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters is now a fundamental part of an organisation’s social contract. This is expected by stakeholders, civil society and political life; law and regulation is evolving rapidly to meet these expectations.
 

Helping clients in ESG matters is firmly embedded at Kingsley Napley. We are passionate about enabling clients to articulate their purpose and hold themselves accountable as a responsible business. 

In recent years we have:

  • conducted an international review of allegations of serious human rights violations made against a well-known charity; 
  • spoken with the Home Office to promote the Modern Slavery Act; and ,
  • intervened in the landmark environmental and human rights case of Okpabi at the Supreme Court; and,
  • founded the Business and Human Rights Practitioners’ Network.

ESG litigation expertise

We have genuine, local expertise in all aspects of ESG litigation and work regularly with trusted law firms in other jurisdictions to provide a seamless service on international cases. 

The cross-disciplinary ESG group is led by Sophie Kemp, our Head of Public Law who has deep experience in ESG matters, and Katherine Tyler, who is ranked as a Global Market Leader in Business and Human Rights Law by Chambers & PartnersOur range of ESG experience, across very different legal issues and sectors and often on the litigation frontline, enables us to uniquely understand the policy drivers and standards.

Our market-leading ESG group advises clients proactively and remedially. The market recognises us especially as ‘go-to’ independent investigators, commissioned to resolve high-stakes and ‘bet-the-organisation’ investigations for leading organisations and have specific experience of high-profile investigations in the E, S and G of ESG.

We are proud of our approach to ESG disputes, which protects your interests rigorously and sensitively, also ensuring “that clients do the right thing on the way to winning” (Chambers & Partners 2022). Where necessary, we have significant experience advising on regulatory and corporate renewal.

ESG policy advice

We work extensively with both the major organisations who navigate the standards, and also the civil society members and policymakers who shape the standards, on the frontiers of corporate responsibility. We give expert and tailored advice, knowing that ESG matters go to the heart of an organisation. We also understand the importance of approaching ESG issues holistically and are experienced in designing teams to best fit the exigencies of a particular case - be that with a domestic or international focus.

ESG transaction advice

We have transactional experience with purpose-led businesses and social enterprises, including in the ‘tech-for-good’ space. We help to ensure that our clients’ corporate purposes are properly reflected in their constitutions and that their commercial dealings reflect their values.

We are recognised thought leaders in ESG and business and human rights, recently launching a report into the future of corporate responsibility regulation with a coalition of NGOs, and speaking regularly at industry roundtables.

Some examples of our wide-ranging work in the ESG space is below.

Environmental

  1. Intervening on behalf of major NGOs in the Supreme Court about allegations of widespread corporate environmental harm from energy extraction in the Niger Delta.
  2. Advising clients on compliance with environmental law and prosecutions by the Environment Agency.
  3. Advising on mutual legal assistance requests and multi-jurisdictional Environment Agency criminal investigations.
  4. Advising on green leases.
  5. Advising upon access to justice and corporate responsibility issues in respect of a large-scale environmental catastrophe in a foreign jurisdiction, with allegations of corporate complicity.
  6. Advising on actions brought and undertakings sought by Trading Standards in relation to prohibited commercial practices under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

 

Social

  1. A major report on enforcement of business and human rights laws, commissioned by CORE, Traidcraft Exchange and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (see the report and related seminar).
  2. Acting in modern slavery investigations with both a national and international nexus brought by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.
  3. Advising on compliance with Modern Slavery legislation, best practice and emerging norms including advice on slavery and human trafficking statements.
  4. Advising on the range of employment and labour matters including where there is a possible overlap with criminal law, including sexual misconduct in the workplace, labour rights, hybrid working, discrimination and whistleblowing.
  5. Advising on the applicability of the United Nations Guiding Principles and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
  6. Advising upon the application of data privacy rights including compliance advice, ICO investigations and civil actions (including breach of confidence).
  7. Advising upon a group claim against a Government department in respect of personal injury sustained by servicepeople.

 

Governance

  1. Advising an international organisation on a highly complex global investigation, following media allegations of human rights abuses, involving collaboration with law firms across the globe.
  2. Advising proactively and remedially on business-critical governance issues, including complex independent investigations and corporate renewal. This includes the Levitt review into governance at RICS.
  3. Embedding ESG commitments into private sector clients’ constitutional documents and assisting with others providing transactional support and advice in the ESG space. 
  4. Acting in an advisory capacity – in particular to government, public bodies, and institutions – assessing operational compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998.
  5. Advising national and multinational organisations in internal investigations and those brought by law enforcement in relation to allegations of financial irregularities including fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption.
  6. Advising upon brand management, including dealings with the media, and shareholder relationships, including communications and legal claims.
  7. Advising upon directors’ duties, including in sensitive situations including insolvency and investigations.

 

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