Environmental, Social and Governance

Overview

Approximately $30 trillion of the world’s assets are currently managed to account for environmental, social & governance (ESG)
risks and opportunities.


Note: The above are representative examples and not a complete list.

Institutional investors and operating companies big and small continue to see ESG issues as sources of risk and opportunity to their bottom lines. We are witnessing significant global legal developments, heightened regulatory scrutiny and greater stakeholder sensitivity to ESG issues.

Institutional investors, such as ERISA plans, registered investment companies, endowments, foundations and hedge funds, are under increasing pressure to take ESG factors into account in their investment decision-making, proxy voting and shareholder engagement processes. Investment advisers, broker-dealers, family offices and others are also now addressing ESG risks and opportunities with respect to their own firms in response to greater concern by clients and employees.

Operating companies are also sensitive to ESG. Whether it is pursuing renewable energy projects, managing environmental compliance, evaluating sustainable financing opportunities, shoring up their cybersecurity defenses, or embarking on diversity and inclusion initiatives, ESG is at the forefront for many operating companies across industries.

With ESG having gone mainstream, Stradley’s Environmental, Social & Governance Group offers clients a holistic approach to help them navigate this fluid landscape of legal and regulatory developments, stewardship codes, disclosure frameworks and nongovernmental organization (NGO) codes of conduct. Our four pillars are:

 Our ESG Experience Includes:

  • Advising asset managers and fund boards on ESG-related regulatory implications (e.g., disclosure requirements under federal securities laws) and on fund incorporation of ESG considerations into investment strategy and decisions.
  • Advising asset managers that are ERISA fiduciaries on their legal requirements under ERISA with respect to ESG.
  • Advising operating companies on environmental and energy-related compliance requirements.
  • Reviewing and drafting investment policies for trustees/board committees to invest in socially conscious investments.
  • Assisting energy companies in developing alternative energy projects in order to secure regulatory approvals and buy-in from stakeholders.
  • Advising on financing strategies that incorporate ESG.
  • Assisting real estate and other clients on environmental liabilities under US environmental law.
  • Counseling clients on environmental liability issues in bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Assisting clients to evaluate the feasibility of establishing or investing in opportunity zones.
  • Advising clients on federal tax considerations of renewable energy projects.
  • Advising clients regarding compliance issues related to anti-discrimination laws, including the draft of policies related thereto, as well as assisting clients with diversity training.

Click here for the digital brochure.


EVENTS

Compliance’s Role in ESG Investing and Corporate Engagement
October 21, 2020
As ESG investing is moving more into the spotlight, it is important for compliance professionals to ensure it incorporates a firm’s fiduciary duty to its clients. This session will include a discussion on how best to implement and manage ESG investing and corporate engagement topics at your firm. Read more here.

ESG Regulatory Lens – A Guide for Private Fund Managers
August 11, 2020
In the absence of clear regulatory guidance in many jurisdictions with respect to incorporation of ESG metrics into their businesses, what are the relevant considerations for private fund managers? Watch the Webcast.

ESG All Aboard!
July 23, 2020
Learn about issues that asset managers and fund boards should consider in this evolving area, including ESG nomenclature, U.S. and foreign regulatory frameworks for ESG, and issuer and fund ESG ratings. Watch the Webcast. 

INSIGHTS

Key Considerations: DOL’s New Final Regulation on ERISA’s Investment Duties (ESG-Related or Not)
November 11, 2020
DOL releases final rule that materially affects the investment duties of all ERISA fiduciaries, including those that consider ESG factors. George Michael Gerstein covers the rule and its implications. Read the Client Alert here.

NJ Governor Signs Environmental Justice Legislation Placing New Requirements on Facilities Operating in Overburdened Communities
September 21, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy signed environmental justice legislation intended to address the disproportionate impacts of pollution on communities by restricting certain industrial operations from entering or expanding in those communities. Read the Client Alert here.

New DOL Rule Proposal Risks Chilling Proxy Voting and Shareholder Engagement
September 02, 2020
George Michael Gerstein, co-chair of Stradley Ronon’s fiduciary governance group, provides key takeaways regarding the DOL’s long-awaited proxy voting rule. Read the Client Alert here.

NEWS

ESG trends of institutional investors
October 06, 2020
ESG factors on the rise for asset owners, managers. Institutional investors continue to incorporate ESG factors into investment decisions, with many non-adopters considering jumping on board. Read the Pensions & Investments article here.

SEC Raises Bar for Shareholder Resolutions
September 23, 2020
Critics say the move would chill corporate democracy by changing the rules for submitting resolutions for a vote at company shareholder meetings. Companies complain about costs caused by gadfly investors. Read The Wall Street Journal article here.

Proxy proposal angers institutions
September 07, 2020
George Michael Gerstein to Pensions & Investments: “I think there’s a real question as to whether long-term benefits that are not easily quantifiable in the here and now will pass muster under the proposal….” Read the Pensions & Investments article here

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