Shepherd and Wedderburn launches specialist Environmental, Social and Governance Advisory Group

8 November 2021

Shepherd and Wedderburn launches specialist Environmental, Social and Governance Advisory Group

Shepherd and Wedderburn has established a dedicated Environmental, Social and Governance Advisory Group to assist clients with their sustainability, workforce and regulatory commitments.

The ESG Advisory Group, comprising lawyers with relevant, specialist expertise drawn from across the firm, is already supporting clients active in a variety of sectors in developing their ESG strategies.

A robust ESG strategy that sets out how an organisation treats its employees, evaluates its supply chain, governs its business and lessens its impact on the environment is of vital importance, both for attracting investment and in determining relationships with other businesses.

ESG considerations are now at the top of many Board agendas. Under proposals announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the COP26 climate summit, financial institutions and companies with shares listed on the London Stock Exchange will be required to publish their net-zero transition plans from 2023. With increasing reporting requirements and pressure to demonstrate commitments, now is the time to act. 

In recent months, the work of the ESG Advisory Group, led by partners Louisa Knox (Pensions) and Gordon Downie (Regulation and Markets), has included:

  • 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.

Louisa Knox said: “Robust ESG credentials are becoming increasingly important in attracting investment and in determining who you will do business with, and who will do business with you. At Shepherd and Wedderburn, embedding ESG into the way we do business has been a hugely positive process. Establishing our ESG Advisory Group has benefitted our clients by allowing us to share our legal and practical experience with them to help achieve their ESG objectives.
“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 our advice to clients.

“Shepherd and Wedderburn is committed to being net zero for greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and we are working with clients with the common objective of stimulating a green recovery from the recession caused by the pandemic. In addition, we work hard to foster an inclusive working environment in which colleagues are happy and treated well, and diversity is celebrated.”

Louisa was recently appointed as a Non-Executive Board Director of Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE), the industry body for financial and professional services in Scotland, where her role will include acting as the SFE board’s sponsor for its journey to net zero.