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Matthew Townsend



Townsend Matthew
Matthew Townsend



Matt is co-head of the International Environmental, Climate and Regulatory Law Groups at Allen & Overy and one of the founders of the firm’s Global ESG Group. He also co-heads the International Trade Group. Matt advises on a wide range of regulatory and compliance matters including sustainability and ESG; climate transition programmes; decarbonisation; environmental risk management; product compliance and safety; carbon pricing/trading; corporate reporting and disclosure; governance and risk management; international trade law; sanctions and export controls. He has worked extensively with clients to develop compliance programmes across a broad range of regulatory and risk areas.

Matt has practised in environmental and climate law for over 26 years and has been recognised as a leading practitioner in his field for many years. He is a regular commentator on new and emerging developments. 

Matt works with major international clients across jurisdictions and in multiple sectors including financial services, energy, industrials, chemicals, technology and many more. 

He is widely recognised as one of Europe’s leading regulatory compliance lawyers.

Related articles

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Publications: 12 January 2022

The UK National Security and Investment Act 2021: the impact on M&A

The mergers and acquisitions (M&A) landscape in the UK changed on 4 January 2022 when the National Security and Investment Act 2021 (the Act) came fully into force. The following article has been…

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Publications: 04 January 2022

National Security and Investment Act 2021: implications for lenders and security agents

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Publications: 22 December 2021

European Chips Act: towards EU semiconductor autonomy

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Publications: 22 December 2021

Update on UK government and FCA regulatory developments - ESG and climate change

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Experience highlights

Other noteworthy experience 

  • He is a member of the FLMC’s ESG Working Group, the City of London Law Society’s environmental working group and UKELA, a member of an Advisory Board to the EBRD on ESG guidelines for companies in the CEE region, advising Editor of Environmental Liability journal and a member of the Executive Committee of the Legal Sustainability Alliance.

Pro bono 

  • Ambassador for Hope and Homes for Children
  • Executive member of the Legal Sector Alliance

Published work

  • Co-editor: "REACH - Best Practice Guide to Regulation 1907/2006" (Hart/Beck)
  • Contributor: "Project Finance" by G. Vinter (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Contributor: "EPC Contracts and Major Projects" by N. Pritchard (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Matt is a regular speaker and commentator on business compliance issues.


Awards & accolades

Global Elite Thought Leaders for Environment – Climate Change

Who’s Who Legal EMEA, 2021

Hall of Fame

Legal 500 UK (Environment), 2022

Band One

Chambers UK (Environment) 2021

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