Inner Hero banner Image

Environmental, Social & Governance

What is Environmental Social & Governance?

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors have become a regular item on boardroom agendas, with companies increasingly aware that a failure to address such issues can have significant reputational and financial consequences.

Given the importance of ESG issues, it is key for investors as well as fund managers, consultants and others along the value chain to keep consumer expectations in this area in mind. The same standards of discipline and rigour that businesses apply to reporting on financial information are now expected from investors and stakeholders on non-financial issues, risks and opportunities.

The increasing number of reporting standards and requirements in relation to sustainability, together with internal governance, investor pressure, workplace issues, and the need for ESG reporting, makes this a difficult area for businesses to manage.

Freeths has a long track record of assisting clients in these areas and our ESG team are on hand to steer businesses, boards, individuals, funds, investors, and other stakeholders through the changing route map of national and regional policies, regulations and frameworks.

Key contact

Get in touch

More about ESG

  • Environmental

    In recent years, it has become impossible to ignore the impact of climate change and environmental decline, and reporting on them has become a mainstay of daily news coverage. This increased focus has put climate change and the green economy high on the agenda for businesses and society alike. This has resulted in increased scrutiny as society calls out for more organisations to be held accountable for their actions.

    The management of climate change initiatives remains at the forefront of the political and environmental agendas and pose increasingly difficult and complex challenges for businesses. Such initiatives can provide opportunities for businesses but, equally, they can increase a business’ risk if its environmental challenges are not appropriately addressed.

    Freeths has a history of assisting businesses looking to improve their green credentials, including through green financing, renewable energy project development and investmentheat networks, green energy procurement, tackling waste and pollution, improving sustainability in supply chainsbiodiversity net gainnutrient neutrality and water neutrality, and carbon offsetting.

  • Social

    Social risks for businesses include actions that can affect the communities around them, as well as employee engagement, human rights within the workforce and supply chain, gender and diversity, health and safety, and anti-bribery and corruption. Public health issues can also be a concern as they can affect employee and contractor absenteeism and worker morale.

    Businesses that can demonstrate a positive impact through strong CSR policies, building closer relationships with local partners and stakeholders, increased transparency and reporting on social risks, and close monitoring of supply chains to co-ordinate and enforce their own policies. Engaging with social risks and being proactive in enforcing them can strengthen a company’s market position. On the other hand, not investing positively to mitigate these social risks can result in hard-won ESG credentials being quickly lost.

    Freeths advises on all aspects of social risks and helps businesses put in place policies to cover diversity and inclusion, family and flexible working, anti-harassment and discrimination, human rights, supply chain, modern slavery and working conditions.

  • Governance

    One of the cornerstones of a successful organisation is good corporate governance; it helps determine how the organisation operates and behaves both internally and to the market generally, and defines the relationship between the shareholders, management and the rest of the business.

    It is imperative that boards and other key decision-makers are visible in taking responsibility for risk management and are accountable for organisational governance. Corporations must have a purpose and set of values beyond profit generation, in order to guide governance, decision-making and strategy.

    Freeths has experience of advising businesses on the legal issues that arise around corporate governance, from executive contracts, board composition, competition and antitrustanti-bribery and corruption, shareholder relations and activism, to the broader corporate strategy of companies and how that operates within a legal framework. In the context of ESG, Freeths can help advise companies on how environmental and social risks translate into good corporate governance.

    We also have specific experience of advising companies seeking B Corp status. B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment. Any company that can demonstrate a positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment may be eligible to register.

Our accreditations

We are celebrating another year of accreditations and rankings.

Related news & articles

1 of 1
  • News

    Freeths’ achieves double accolade with two lawyers named in prestigious UK list of the most influential environmental professionals

  • News

    Freeths announces record growth in Liverpool

  • News

    Freeths secures planning permission for new state-of-the-art Care Home

  • News

    Freeths secures planning permission for new state-of-the-art Care Home, Centre of Excellence and Headquarters Office on behalf of Hallmark Care Homes

  • News

    Freeths’ Penny Simpson named in the 2023 Power List

  • News

    Freeths launches innovative scheme to improve biodiversity in the UK

  • News

    Freeths continues to bolster environmental services with senior hire

Get in touch

Contact us today

Whatever your legal needs, our wide ranging expertise is here to support you and your business, so let’s start your legal journey today and get you in touch with the right lawyer to get you started.


Get in touch

For general enquiries, please complete this form and we will direct your message to the most appropriate person.