Environmental, Social & Governance

Drawing on the strengths of integrated practice groups across the firm, Willkie’s Environmental, Social & Governance practice provides clients with cross-disciplinary advice on their ESG strategies. By partnering with our clients, our ESG practice navigates complex legal and business issues across this dynamic and growing landscape. We efficiently deploy teams spanning our transactional, litigation, asset management and regulatory capabilities to advise public and private companies; boards of directors; asset managers; private fund sponsors; investors; financial institutions (including insurance companies and banks); energy market participants; and industry associations, among others.

Willkie’s commitment to leading-edge service on ESG matters aligns closely with our long-standing commitment to corporate citizenship and sustainability, and members of our practice are actively involved in community and industry-wide efforts to support ESG-related initiatives.

For example, Willkie is a co-founder of the Renewable Energy Alliance of Houston and a firm partner serves as General Counsel of the organization on a pro bono basis. Our firm lawyers have also advised numerous nonprofits in related areas, including the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Center for Applied Environmental Law and Policy. Our lawyers’ service appointments include positions on the Futures Industry Association’s climate risk working group, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee of the Market Risk Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the Carbon Markets & Investors Association, the Environmental Law Institute Leadership Council, the Strategic Advisory Council of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, and the Board of Regents of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

Our attorneys have experience advising:

Private equity sponsors, investors, financiers and others on the creation and implementation of ESG policies, procedures, programs, management system adoption, and implementation and execution of related initiatives, including climate change-related aspects, at both the fund and portfolio company levels.

Public company boards on ESG-related considerations, such as exchange rules for diversity and inclusion standards; policies to protect against reputational risk; net zero carbon emissions targets; internal emissions trading and water use initiatives; and disclosure and reporting requirements under applicable regulations and in accordance with international standards and voluntary codes.

Fund managers on the structuring, organization and formation of registered and private funds with ESG strategies and reporting requirements.

Fund managers and other financial market participants on disclosures that are required under EU regulations relating to sustainability/ESG risk with relation to the financial market participants themselves and to the investments that they make.

Issuers on ESG-related capital markets transactions, including green bonds and corporate bond offerings, for example those managed exclusively by minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned business enterprises (MWVBEs).

Clients on investigations and compliance efforts involving a wide range of ESG-related matters, including labor laws and regulations; climate change disclosure; miss-selling/greenwashing; governance matters including anti-bribery and corruption matters; and supply chain considerations.

Clients on all aspects of climate change law and management strategy, including transactional and regulatory counseling, GHG diligence, carbon/environmental standards, disclosure and reporting, international treaty regimes, stakeholder engagement, and project development.

Clients on all aspects of carbon offset acquisitions and documentation, the development and certification of carbon offset projects, and the trading of carbon and other environmental commodities including renewable energy credits (RECs), wetlands mitigation bank credits, and ecosystem services.

  • For more information on our Power & Renewable Energy capabilities and experience, please see here.

Our attorneys also represented the ISDA drafting committee in the development of the ISDA emissions annex, which is used for the purchase and sale of emissions allowances, such as CCAs, RGGI allowances, and others.

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