There is much interest from corporate directors and officers, investors, other stakeholders, and the general public in ensuring that businesses and governments promote sustainability, the circular economy, and pursue social good including reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Beyond traditional business measures, organizations and their projects are now measured against Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria:

  • environmental: pollution reduction, climate change, conservation, stewardship, sustainable development, carbon footprint, net zero, and the circular economy
  • social: employee well-being, employee diversity and inclusion, community wellness, charitable giving, human rights, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
  • governance: good corporate governance, sustainable business models, avoiding conflicts of interest, promoting transparency, and whistle-blower protections.

Why is ESG important?

ESG relates to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the two share many of the same attributes. ESG and CSR have been shown to contribute to a positive reputation. In turn, ESG and CSR can help to increase interest from investors and foster positive relationships with corporate and community stakeholders.

While establishing and maintaining ESG criteria may be challenging, doing so can ultimately lead to long-term benefits for our environment, communities, and the economy. Promoting the principles that underlie ESG also translates into compliance with securities regulators by enhanced financial transparency which is much in demand by many corporate stakeholders.

ESG expertise

ESG law and financial transparency

At Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers, our lawyers advise clients about ESG considerations and their influence on environmental and resource management decisions, including in building and managing relationships with Indigenous communities. We are intimately familiar with environmental law including environmental permissions and approvals, impact assessments, extended producer responsibility, and Indigenous consultation. Our lawyers leverage their knowledge to help clients create and implement plans, protocols and procedures to ensure that decisions transparently factor in ESG considerations. On the contrary, lack of transparency can lead to product liability and greenwashing claims that can, in turn, give rise to brand and reputational risk.

ESG risk management

Ignoring or neglecting ESG considerations carries serious risks for businesses and governments. These risks can include negative media attention, backlash from stakeholders, and pressure from investors and consumers. Our lawyers advise clients about ESG risks and management of those risks including ways to mitigate through establishing protocols for proper corporate and financial disclosure, and proactive collaboration with all relevant stakeholders.

Contact our environmental lawyers today

Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers has offices in Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, and Yellowknife. Our lawyers are called to the Bar in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Ontario.

To speak with an environmental lawyer, contact us today.