What is ESG and what does it mean for law firms?
ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance and is a set of factors that assess how an organisation impacts on the environment and society. These three criteria are considered key factors for assessing the sustainability and ethical impact of an investment, as reported by both McKinsey and Deloitte.
- “83 percent of C-suite leaders and investment professionals say they expect that ESG programs will contribute more shareholder value in five years than today.” - McKinsey’s Global Survey
- “89 percent of investment managers…indicate their firms will devote more resources to this area in the next two years.” Deloitte
It’s no surprise many mutual funds, brokerage firms and other financial service advisors are now looking for products that inform investments through ESG criteria.
But what does each area of ESG encompass? It’s a complex subject, so this article just covers the main areas and looks at some ways you can address them within your firm.
As you would imagine, this first pillar of ESG focusses on the effects on the physical, natural environment. Across the globe, how we produce, consume and discard has a significant adverse impact on the natural world.
- Potential climate risk
- The extraction and use of raw materials
- The effects of human activity on biodiversity
It’s not only nature we need to consider. How employees and local communities are affected also must be taken into account.
- Are human rights respected?
- Is the end consumer protected from unsafe products or practices?
- How is the personal data of individuals protected?
Governance is to do with making sure there are systems in place to ensure accountability within a corporation.
- Transparency of processes and procedures
- Clear anti-bribery and corruption policies
- Ensuring boards are composed of independent members
How to simplify and structure your ESG process
Given the wide spectrum of areas that fall under ESG, putting a process into action can seem daunting. However, because Landmark recognise the importance that ESG reporting will have in the future, we are offering a platform and reports that allows anyone - regardless of ESG knowledge, experience or qualifications - to kick off their ESG due diligence.
The RiskHorizon ESG Screen report has been designed to simplify ESG risk management for law firms. By providing a framework for ESG due diligence it allows you to quickly focus on main ESG risks of a particular sector.
Simply answer a number of questions, which become more specific as you drill down into the sector or location of the target firm, and get instant access to a clear, concise overview of ESG risk and recommended next steps for that company.
This report uses data from:
- 90 industries
- Over 45 global risks, with coverage for 175 countries
- Up to 30 data sources including The World Bank, Unicef and the Global Child Forum, Freedom House, and United Nations Development Programme
- All of these are benchmarked against the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
You will be provided with a list of due diligence questions which frame the whole ESG due diligence process and can inform any further legal advice including next steps around the potential investment.
- Pre-screen target companies for risk
- Easy question-and-answer format focuses due diligence from the outset
- Conduct deeper investigations by a sector/geography specific list of questions
- A clear, numerical ESG score is easy to digest and explain
- Internal benchmarking means you can not only review potential investments, but improve existing ones
In addition, you will have access to an experienced consultant for to answer any questions on the report results.
You can find out more about RiskHorizon here.