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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

Bridge at night time

Publications: 27 January 2023

The National Security and Investment Act 2021: reflections on the first year

The UK's National Security and Investment Act 2021 (the NSIA) came fully into force on 4 January 2022, with retrospective effect on certain transactions entered into or completed on or after 12…

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Publications: 26 January 2023

Environmental and sustainability outlook 2023

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Publications: 24 January 2023

EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive: The countdown has started

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Publications: 18 January 2023

EU agrees on new deforestation-free regulation

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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

Thought Leader Global Elite

Who’s Who Legal 2022 (Environment, Climate Change and Trade & Customs)

Hall of Fame

Legal 500 UK 2022 (Environment)

Band One

Chambers UK 2022 (Environment and Climate Change)