Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

Our dedicated Environmental, Social and Governance Advisory Group comprises lawyers with relevant, specialist expertise drawn from across the firm to assist clients with their sustainability journey – including environmental, workforce, social and regulatory commitments.

ESG considerations are now at the top of many Board agendas, amid increasing reporting requirements and pressure to demonstrate commitments. From 2023, financial institutions and companies with shares listed on the London Stock Exchange will be required to publish their net-zero transition plans. 

Our ESG Advisory Group, led by partners Louisa Knox (Pensions) and Gordon Downie (Regulation and Markets), supports clients on all aspects of ESG on a daily basis. Recently, this has included:

  • assisting clients active in a variety of sectors in developing their ESG strategies;
  • advising regulators and energy businesses on innovative energy projects and providing fundraising and corporate advice;
  • supporting clients with health and safety and data protection compliance;
  • working closely with clients to ensure their employment policies and their initiatives to encourage diversity and inclusion are robust; and
  • advising pension trustees and sponsors to ensure they meet their detailed regulatory requirements while delivering against the expectation of their schemes’ members.

A robust ESG strategy is built around three key sustainability pillars which set out how an organisation lessens its impact on the environment, treats its employees, evaluates its supply chain and governs its business. Shepherd and Wedderburn’s ESG Advisory Group specialists are well placed to support organisations on their strategic aims relating to ESG by providing clear and practical advice.


The environmental aspect of ESG focuses on minimising an organisation’s impact on climate and nature. Organisations are working to demonstrate meaningful change by setting and achieving targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, better managing waste and energy consumption, and engaging with suppliers to encourage more sustainable ways of doing business. There are a multitude of reporting measures available to gather data and chart success, but whichever method is used these targets should reflect that organisation’s goals and aim to be readily quantifiable. 


Social considerations reflect an organisation’s ethics – its values and how it conducts its business. What initiatives are in place to care for the health and welfare of its people? What actions is it taking to promote a more diverse, inclusive, and socially and ethically responsible culture? If an organisation is already demonstrating best practice, then there may be benefits in collaborating with others, where appropriate, to share best practice for the good of society as a whole. 


Compliance with regulatory standards is vital to the success of any organisation, however rapidly shifting laws and regulation during the Brexit transition and COVID-19 pandemic have left businesses in many sectors grappling with short-notice compliance changes. Additionally, businesses in all sectors face challenges related to ever-increasing regulation, and demonstrating and measuring compliance is now part of the overall ESG factor review. 

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s ESG commitment

As a business, Shepherd and Wedderburn already embeds ESG considerations into its operations. Walking the walk on ESG allows our solicitors to have a clear insight into the practicalities of the ESG journey. Our ESG Statement underpins the way we work and the process of assessing our ESG credentials has deepened colleagues’ understanding of the part we all need to play to achieve our objectives, as well as enhancing the advice we give to clients. Read our ESG Statement.