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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.

Other noteworthy experience includes:

  • 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.

Experience highlights

News & insights

Climate change mitigation; climate change adaptation; net zero; decarbonisation; COP26; CBD COP15

Blog Post: 20 OCTOBER 2021

UK Greening Finance Roadmap

The long-awaited successor to the 2019 UK Green Finance Strategy, the UK Greening Finance: A Roadmap to Sustainable Investing was published this week, just in time for COP26.  The Roadmap is a blend…

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System of pipes

Publications: 19 OCTOBER 2021

Carbon transport and storage in the UK

Today the UK Government has announced which two carbon transport and storage clusters have been successful in the initial phase of the UK Government's carbon capture, usage and storage cluster…

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Close up of an orange flower

Publications: 18 OCTOBER 2021

Podcast: What business needs to know about the EU’s Taxonomy Regulation and its reporting requirements

The European Union’s Taxonomy Regulation, which provides a common classification framework for defining the environmental sustainability of business activity, is intended to help promote ‘green’…

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Hedge maze

Publications: 15 OCTOBER 2021

SFDR and Taxonomy Regulation deadlines – A compliance checklist for private banks, wealth managers and advisers

A number of deadlines are looming for private banks, wealth managers and advisers as the next stage of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and Taxonomy Regulation begins to apply…

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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.

Pro-bono experience

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



Allen & Overy LLP
One Bishops Square
E1 6AD

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Admitted as solicitor, England and Wales, 1996

Admitted as solicitor, Ireland, 2018


BA (Hons), University of Birmingham, 1992

Diploma, Law, The College Of Law, York, 1993

Diploma, Legal Practice, The College Of Law, York, 1994


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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