Shoosmiths has a wide client base including corporates, pension funds and investment funds and this gives it an excellent overview of ESG and sustainable finance.
There have been national and international efforts in moving towards net zero economies which have led to climate change and sustainability becoming important points of focus for the government, regulators, financial firms and investors. Consumers are also putting issues such as social and governance matters at the forefront of their concerns.
UK regulators are aligning their efforts to ensure that market participants are fulfilling their disclosure requirements to improve transparency amongst firms and consumers, such as the reporting requirements in the ESG sourcebook. There has also been increased focus on stewardship and investors are encouraged to engage in exercising their voting rights attached to shares in investee companies, amongst other things, as articulated in the second Shareholder Rights Directive and the UK Stewardship Code.
ESG crosses over a number of practice areas such as the rules applicable to listed companies, where in-scope companies are required to disclose details of their governance, strategy and risk management in their reports. Certain PRA-regulated firms have also been required to embed consideration of climate change risks in their governance arrangements.
The Pensions Regulator has also issued investment guidance for certain types of pension schemes where the extent to which non-financial matters impact financially material considerations needs to be reported on. Stewardship has also been a consistent theme for pension funds, where ESG is included as part of trustees’ investment decision-making.
More broadly, sustainability is very much embedded in construction, real estate and private equity as part of due diligence and BAU processes. Given that ESG cuts across different business areas, Shoosmiths as a full-service firm is well-placed to render impactful advice in such areas.
Our Corporate, Investment Funds, Pensions, Banking & Finance, Construction and Real Estate teams are all able to advise on ESG matters relevant to their sectors.
Shoosmiths has its own ESG vision; to be the leading UK law firm famous for its positive contribution to society. The firm believes businesses should lead the way to collectively combat climate change, to address the causes and the effects of inequality and to nurture talent and believe it can come from anywhere.
Shoosmiths is committed for its operations to achieve net zero emissions by 2025 and has made a commitment to set emissions reduction targets across the entire value chain that are consistent with keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Our ambition is to build a diverse and ambitious workforce that reflects all backgrounds and talents and create a workplace that is supportive and inclusive, which recognises and nurtures talent, and has a strong sense of community. This approach underpins everything we do, and how we work with our colleagues, clients, and communities.
Shoosmiths has led the way with incremental reporting on ESG factors for the last decade and we bring elements of this together in our inaugural annual impact report.