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Oxford Sustainable Finance Summit 2023 – Legal innovations: what key legal strategies are being deployed to further sustainable finance?
20 July @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Sustainable finance is a rapidly developing area of legal innovation. Courts are being asked by shareholders to ensure that corporations are sufficiently ambitious in their climate targets and to rule on class actions alleging that companies’ ESG-related disclosures are inaccurate.
Outside the courtroom, corporate and finance lawyers have an important role to play in ensuring their clients are integrating sustainability considerations into their work. For example, The Chancery Lane Project creates climate-aligned and other environmental clauses for contracts. This has the potential to change the way corporate and finance lawyers give advice, with lawyers considering climate increasingly in their day-to-day work.
On the other hand, there are legal innovations that are being used to hinder efforts to take collective action on climate change. Legal issues have rocketed to the top of the sustainable finance agenda over the past 18 months, driven by growing questions around the legality of collaborative engagement and market-wide fossil fuel divestment. In the US, major investment names have been hauled in front of lawmakers to explain how they are ensuring they don’t flout anti-competition rules in pursuit of their environmental and social objectives. Companies feeling the pinch of government regulations on climate have brought claims alleging that such regulations breach investment treaties.
In this panel, Matthew Gingell, Chair and Founder, The Chancery Lane Project, Sarah Barker, Partner, Head of Climate & Sustainability Risk Governance, Minter Ellison and Vanessa Havard-Williams, Partner and Head of Environment and Climate Change, Linklaters explored some of the strategies being developed to support green and social objectives in financial markets and to combat legal challenges seeking to hinder the ESG movement. The panel discussion was moderated by Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker, Editor, Responsible Investor.