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Environmental, Social and Governance

Today’s investors are looking for ways to put their capital to work in a sustainable way, one focused on avoiding harm to people and the planet and creating long-term value through socially desirable activities.

Financial services, insurance and other professionals must now find their way around a rapidly evolving landscape of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and assess businesses according to their ESG characteristics in order to support investors who wish to make socially responsible investment decisions. Allen & Overy has the subject matter expertise to guide you safely through the increasingly legal ESG landscape.

Our ESG team’s advice is informed by decades of collective experience in environmental, social and governance matters, and by tracking the latest developments in ESG-related regulation and litigation around the world.  We bring together global expertise in specialist practice areas in Environmental Law, Business and Human Rights, Sustainable Finance, Corporate Governance, Employee Engagement and Data protection and Cybersecurity, as well as Consulting Services.

The group's experience will enable you to take advantage of ESG-related business opportunities by helping you find ways to integrate ESG factors into your due diligence practices, portfolio analysis and investment decisions; design and roll out financial products that have a positive social or environmental impact; and monitor and report on your successes in a manner that meets regulatory requirements. 

We can also help you navigate the ESG landscape and help you find ways to identify risks across your portfolio; avoid involvement in adverse ESG impacts; assess the ESG related credit and other risks of your potential clients; gain a competitive advantage as regulation and litigation develops; design and roll out compliance processes and contractual mechanisms to mitigate risks; and obtain assurance and develop reports on your ESG performance. 

News & insights

Nuclear power plant after sunset

Publications: 07 AUGUST 2020

Irish Supreme Court ruling on FIE vs. Ireland – increasing pressure for European governments to bolster climate ambitions

On 31 July 31 2020, the Irish Supreme Court quashed the national plan for tackling climate change adopted by the Irish Government in 2017. In the wake of the December 2019 Urgenda landmark ruling in…

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Publications: 05 AUGUST 2020

Will climate change go up the boardroom agenda following Covid-19?

We believe that the global Covid-19 pandemic will lead to society at large taking climate change much more seriously. While parts of the business and financial community, and governments and…

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Business and Human Rights Law and Policy - What's in store for 2020?

Publications: 17 JANUARY 2020

Business and Human Rights Law and Policy - what's in store for 2020?

The start of a new year is a good time to reflect on developments in global business and human rights (BHR) law and policy. There were significant changes in the relationship between business and…

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Allen Overy consulting

Publications: 03 DECEMBER 2019

Whistleblowing – a litmus test of a firm’s culture

Having a culture which encourages employees to speak up in a safe environment is a stated aim of most organisations, globally. How a firm deals with whistleblowing is therefore a litmus test of the…

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Areas in which we assist clients

Risk management and strategy

Risk management and strategy

  • Assist in developing ESG policies and practices
  • Draft ESG management plans and codes of conduct for projects and transactions
  • Design bespoke contractual mechanisms and dispute resolution clauses to permit leverage and exit
  • Advise Board and C-Suite on regulatory landscape and litigation risks
Due diligence

Due diligence

  • Scan transactions and lending to identify potential ESG impacts throughout value/supply chain
  • Conduct structured ESG due diligence and impact assessments on high-risk projects, transactions and lending


  • Assess effectiveness of responses to ESG impacts, provide metrics and analysis and design alternative strategies
  • Draft strategic reports, sustainability and modern slavery reports
Dispute resolution

Dispute resolution

  • Design grievance mechanisms as early warning systems and remediation processes
  • Dispute resolution: we represent clients before courts and tribunals, where they face claims involving alleged environmental, social and governance abuses
Sustainable finance

Sustainable finance

  • Advise on all aspects of sustainable finance, from corporate green loans or bonds and sustainable supply chain financing, to financing renewable energy projects
  • Develop standards for products such as green or social impact bonds and loans

Awards & accolades

  • Best Green/SRI Law Firm, Global Capital Sustainable and Responsible
  • Capital Markets Awards 2017
  • European Regulatory Team of the Year 2018, IFLR Europe 2018
  • Tier One for Disputes Resolution, Chambers Global 2020
  • Tier One for Regulatory – Environment, Chambers Europe-wide 2019


Directors' Liability Report

Directors' Liability Report

We explore the personal accountability faced by company directors at a time when regulators and enforcement agencies have management in their sights.