The following interview originally appeared in the National Law Journal.
What you need to know
- One of the significant issues many of their multinational clients have is the growing divide between how they operate and what’s expected of them in the U.S. versus Europe.
- At the same time the legal field has experienced this anti-ESG backlash over the last year in the U.S., the EU has moved full speed ahead on many ESG initiatives with significant consequences for businesses, including the EU Taxonomy, the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, and the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive.
- There is also growing litigation risk because with so much more scrutiny, and so much more information in the public domain, there are a range of stakeholders and potential plaintiffs on ESG issues, from state officials to NGOs
The Biden administration has set clear policy goals to establish effective corporate net-zero strategies on the one hand, yet there has also been growing pushback against the climate aspect of ESG in many red states. How do you advise clients on climate regulation in this very fluid environment?
Jayni Hein: We are all witnessing this summer, yet again, record-breaking land and ocean temperatures and pervasive wildfire smoke. It’s undeniable that climate change is affecting how we live today and how businesses operate. How both the government and the private sector respond is critically important.