Companies face increasing scrutiny from investors, consumers and government entities that extends beyond the bottom line to the manner in which they operate in the areas of sustainability, human rights and internal governance. Fox Rothschild’s multidisciplinary team of attorneys helps companies evaluate and mitigate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risk relating to their business practices and the multiple methods of disclosing their efforts in these areas.
Failing to respond to demands for corporate social responsibility can result in significant business risk. Reporting on positive efforts in these areas or participating in ESG rating frameworks can enhance a business’s reputation. But such disclosures, no matter how well-intentioned, may carry risks of their own.
Businesses face a growing threat from litigation brought under deceptive business practices, securities fraud and product labeling laws that seeks to hold them accountable for their activities — or for misleading claims made in advertising, annual reports and rating agency disclosures. A small, but increasing number of states and international jurisdictions are also adopting ESG-related regulations, such as factoring ESG performance metrics into the investment of public funds and requiring gender diversity on corporate boards. In addition, the SEC has announced plans to "enhance its focus" on public companies' climate change disclosures.
ESG-conscious consumers and investors demand that companies conduct business in ways that are sensitive to climate change, preserve human rights and promote diversity, and use suppliers that adhere to similar standards. Our team includes attorneys across a broad range of practice areas, including environmental law, labor and employment law, privacy and data security, manufacturing, international law and corporate law, who can help companies determine how to adjust operations in these areas, screen business partners for ESG practices and require suppliers to meet ESG standards
Companies face growing pressure to promote their ESG objectives, practices and achievements. However, the manner in which businesses make these disclosures can mean the difference between notching a hard-fought reputational win, and exposure to costly and potentially damaging litigation from consumers or investors. Our attorneys help companies make smart ESG disclosures, avoid reporting pitfalls and evaluate the risk of potentially sensitive statements included in press releases, product packaging and literature, investor communications and annual reports.
- Compliance with state and international ESG reporting regimes
- Review and drafting of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Integrated Reporting Framework (IRF), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) submissions and disclosure documents
- Supplier and contractor reviews and requirements
- Vetting of company statements and reports
- ESG-related contract clauses
- ESG litigation defense