Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues have long been core values of many of the world’s leading companies and asset managers. Today more than ever, asset managers, along with institutional and individual investors, are using ESG ratings and other metrics to guide their investment decisions.
Perkins Coie’s ESG Advisory Team understands that translating ESG values into actionable corporate policies, procedures, and behaviors that can be measured, monitored, quantified, and reported is challenging. Our ESG attorneys draw on exceptionally deep experience in multiple practice areas including Corporate & Securities, Investment Management, Environment & Natural Resources, and White Collar & Investigations to help businesses across industries realize benefits, while avoiding the risks associated with implementing and reporting on ESG issues.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is signaling that changes are on the horizon for public companies. Their March 2021 announcement on the creation of a Climate and ESG Task Force within the Division of Enforcement, the Division of Examination’s focus on ESG issues in its 2021 priorities, and the advent of the European Union’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation are just a few indicators of how these risks to, and opportunities for, public companies are evolving.
How Perkins Coie Can Help:
- Developing ESG strategic priorities, policies, practices, and procedures.
- Identifying priority ESG factors for your business.
- Creating frameworks to assess ESG implementation, measure progress, and report for purposes of accountability.
- Developing sustainability programs and assisting with sustainability reviews and ESG ratings processes.
- Preparing compliance audits/gap analysis.
- Preparing and advising on SEC and other investor-facing disclosures.
- Preparing for SEC examinations.
- Advising on green bond and sustainability bond offerings.
- Managing ESG fund formation.
- Managing supply chain compliance.
- Advising on anti-corruption and anti-fraud.
- Counseling on industry or sector-specific ESG topics.
- Advising on business continuity and incident and crisis response.
- Defending against claims of misconduct or enforcement actions.
- Litigating ESG-related claims.
- Counseling on and analyzing human capital/employee satisfaction.
ESG Practice Tips:
- Conduct an ESG assessment in order to understand current alignment with your core values, disclosures, industry standards, and regulatory requirements (existing and anticipated).
- Prioritize a subset of ESG issues specific to your company with an eye toward matching your internal goals, increasing value for your company, and reducing risks.
- Determine whether you are prepared to publicly commit to ESG factors, guided by core values, industry standards, and regulatory requirements.
- Monitor, measure, and report on progress.
- Prepare investor-facing ESG disclosures with the same internal controls and diligence as reporting on financial results.
- Stay current on ESG regulatory developments through our blog, the Asset Management ADVocate, and other client updates.