Embedding ESG into the legal function of the future
As environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues take top priority for global companies and society more broadly, today’s legal teams are under fire from many directions. From geopolitical tension, trade disputes and supply chain disruptions, to climate change adaptation, remote working and diversity and inclusion issues, legal professionals are being challenged to understand how ESG is changing their company’s priorities and manage all of the various legal implications.
With the focus on ESG getting sharper across their organizations, leading in-house legal functions are also finding new ways to add value and derive opportunities from ESG in all of its dimensions.
From geopolitical tension, trade disputes and supply chain disruptions, to climate change adaptation, remote working and diversity and inclusion issues, legal professionals are being challenged to understand how ESG is changing their company’s priorities and manage all of the various legal implications.
Leading legal teams are helping their colleagues in the wider business understand ESG risks and work with other functions, such as finance, treasury, procurement, IT and HR to manage them.
A number of factors are making legal considerations arising from ESG more acute, requiring legal teams to advise on a wide range of matters. These include directors’ legal liability, sustainability reporting, access to capital and insurance, talent management and climate change.
Legal teams can act as joiners of dots, helping to develop the right policies across functions and developing the governance frameworks (simple rules, clear codes of conduct) to implement them.
The companies that are furthest ahead in the ESG area are those that can go beyond strategy and adopt a purpose- driven approach, aiming to make sustainable contributions for the benefit of their communities and the environment.
In an ESG-led legal function, legal professionals are business partners who understand the business they’re advising on, so they give the right advice to help sustain the business, implement the required changes and grow it responsibly over the long term.
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