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As climate crisis reshapes business, board directors must rethink legal duties – New Legal Primer examines 20 jurisdictions and European Union

24 June 2021 – A new legal Primer produced jointly by the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative and the Climate Governance Initiative (CGI), examines the fast-changing landscape of climate risks and opportunities for business, and the implications for board directors’ legal obligations. The Primer on Climate Change: Directors’ Duties and Disclosure Obligations, which examines 20 countries and the European Union, is the first-ever legal primer that takes a cross-jurisdictional view across such a broad sample of major civil law and common law systems. The Primer shines a spotlight on a set of core universal principles, as well as notable variations in breadth and stringency between the leading jurisdictions and the broader group.


This Primer follows the publications of expert legal opinions by independent counsel on climate change and directors’ duties, the earliest of which was in 2016 in Australia (Hutley Opinion, subsequently updated in 2019 and 2021), followed by Canada in 2020 (Hansell Opinion) and Singapore in April 2021 (Chan Opinion). As these opinions began to gain prominence in specialist legal circles and spark further such initiatives in other common law countries, the CGI reasoned that board directors needed to be in a position to understand and act on their findings.

Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative
The CCLI examines the legal basis for directors and trustees to consider, manage, and report on climate change and broader environmental risks, opportunities and impacts, and the circumstances in which there may be liability for failing to do so. We also work to advance knowledge on effective sustainable governance practice.
Contact

The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 11813153 and with registered office at 128 City Road, London, United Kingdom EC1V 2NX.

Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative

The CCLI examines the legal basis for directors and trustees to consider, manage, and report on climate change and broader environmental risks, opportunities and impacts, and the circumstances in which there may be liability for failing to do so. We also work to advance knowledge on effective sustainable governance practice.

Contact

The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 11813153 and with registered office at 128 City Road, London, United Kingdom EC1V 2NX.

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