ESG: Environment – Social – Governance

BROAD-BASED EXPERTISE IN ALL AREAS

As ESG becomes a stronger strategic focus for companies, they are increasingly held to higher standards in terms of environmental awareness and social responsibility. There are many reasons for this: new legislative requirements in various countries, including Germany and at EU level; increased demands by investors on potential investments; and finally, the general public debate, which marks a change in societal attitudes.

ESG: Environmental, Social, and (Corporate) Governance

As ESG becomes a stronger strategic focus for companies, they are increasingly held to higher standards in terms of environmental awareness and social responsibility. There are many reasons for this: new legislative requirements in various countries, including Germany and at EU level; increased demands by investors on potential investments; and finally, the general public debate, which marks a change in societal attitudes. 

In the case of third party violations, companies and their directors face an increased risk of financial liability, administrative measures and sanctions or even criminal prosecution. This can also cause considerable reputational damage. As a result, small and large companies alike need to quickly ramp up their efforts in this area, setting up a system to ensure compliance with the relevant legal requirements as part of their corporate risk avoidance strategy. We help clients achieve this goal. Those businesses that succeed in proactively championing ESG not only face risks but can also help shape market standards and positively influence the public’s perception of their corporate brand. Companies are therefore wise to study the relevant rules and regulations regarding ESG as early and in as much depth as possible.

ESG spans a broad range of topics and continuously raises numerous and novel legal issues, in areas as diverse as climate protection and sustainability, human rights, EU taxonomy, green and sustainable finance, diversity & inclusion and health & safety. The European Green Deal adopted by the European Commission will also have a significant impact.

The Act on Corporate Due Diligence in Supply Chains (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz), which passed into law in Germany in June 2021, has also raised general awareness of another aspect of ESG. From 2023 onwards, the act will present companies with a whole host of challenges. Not only will they have to ensure compliance with human rights standards and certain supply chain sustainability goals, they will also face new reporting duties and documentation requirements as well as be responsible for implementing whistleblower systems. Supply contracts must include preventive measures and appropriate supplier selection and control ensured through regular and ad hoc risk assessments and controls. Current developments and important issues concerning the Act on Corporate Due Diligence in Supply Chains are regularly discussed in our specially created LinkedIn group (note: to join the group, a LinkedIn account is required).

We help our clients implement a wide range of ESG measures and activities: supply chain compliance, including the drafting of contracts and the establishment of appropriate compliance systems, defending against liability claims, dealing with authorities and contentious proceedings, data protection and whistleblowing issues, environmental protection and energy issues, sustainability targets in executive board remuneration and the development of sustainability strategies, as well as sustainability requirements in procurement processes or tax and state aid law options for promoting environmental friendliness. We also advise on green standardisation agreements in antitrust law, holistic IP management, the development of codes of conduct and the scope of reporting obligations, as well as on sustainable finance and ESG-linked investment.

ESG: Environment – Social – Governance News
16.08.2021
Gleiss Lutz advises Northern Data in connection with the acquisition of server systems with some 223,000 GPUs from Block.one for a total price of approximately EUR 365 million
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25.02.2021
Gleiss Lutz advises Northern Data on its acquisition of a green data centre for high-performance computing in Sweden
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Know-How
22.06.2021
“Green Deal” leads to radical changes: Commission’s new draft guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy
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08.06.2021
New EU standard contractual clauses for the transfer of data to third countries – what companies now need to do
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31.05.2021
IT Security Act 2.0 – Prohibition on the use of critical components to protect public security
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29.03.2021
GEIG – New requirements for developers and owners of buildings to create charging infrastructure
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