Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
Businesses are increasingly responsible for the extended social and environmental impact of their economic activity.  This evolving responsibility is driven by the expectations of consumers and investors, governments, regulators and workers.  It is predicated on certain consensus views—that climate change is a material threat, that no business should benefit from slave labor, that racial justice is non-negotiable.
ESG challenges proliferate, propelled by emerging sources of hard and soft law obligations, the efforts of investors to quantify business characteristics not easily reduced to metrics, and pervasive interest in accountability.

At core, the myriad ESG issues are reducible to two questions—how should a company meet its own individual challenges of extended responsibility, and what should (or must) it say about what it does?

Our ESG team has decades of experience advising clients how to meet their own unique challenges of extended responsibility, from environmental, health and safety issues, to questions of pay equity and board diversity, to eradicating forced and child labor from supply chains.  We advise on the full suite of voluntary and mandatory sustainability and ESG reporting, advertising risks and opportunities, and government relations strategies.  We help design integrated solutions that safeguard corporate reputation, minimize risk and leverage opportunity.

How we can help:
 

Corporate Governance

Advising boards and management on the expectations of ESG-related regulatory requirements, crisis management, and the adoption and implementation of global governmental and industry standards.

Supporting clients in their responses to ESG-focused shareholder activism, including shareholder proposals.

Undertaking due diligence assessments on key ESG focus areas with a view toward advising and developing ESG governance strategies.
 

Reporting and Disclosures

Advising on mandatory and voluntary disclosures to investors and other key stakeholders including in SEC filings, sustainability reports and website pages.

Advising on mandatory disclosures including compliance with amendments to Regulation S-K regarding human capital disclosures, the UK Modern Slavery Act, non-financial reporting directives, executive and gender pay gap reports and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Advising on evolving metrics, financial reporting and other standards including calls to disclose additional information under the TCFD and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).

Reviewing advertising claims touting ESG accomplishments, such as green marketing claims.
 

Environment and Natural Resources

Preparing and analyzing facility-specific, corporate-wide, and industry sector-based environmental management programs, reporting protocols, and disclosure guidelines.

Assisting in the development of environmental compliance programs and conduct environmental, health and safety auditing of manufacturing and industrial facilities.

Advising manufacturers and extractive industries on the development of policies and practices for waste minimization, recycling, materials reclamation, water reuse, land reclamation, and impact mitigation.

Assisting companies and industry sectors in greenhouse gas reporting, developing emissions inventories, participating in emissions trading programs, and conducting greenhouse gas life-cycle analyses.

Leading clients through environmental response, crisis management, and engagement with regulators and governmental entities on natural resource and remediation issues.

Counseling national retailers, distributors, and manufacturers on compliance with Extended Producer Responsibility / Product Stewardship programs and regulations.
 

Labor and Work Force

Advising on business human right standards in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations Guiding Principles (NGPs) on Business and Human Rights, international principles, leading disclosure frameworks and guidance, and international laws and regulations.

Advising on sector-specific regulation, policy compliance and best practices, including work rules, health and safety compliance, and working conditions for the labor force.

Advising on compensation and benefits focused on identifying the right compensation and incentive arrangements, including executive and all-employee benefit plans, pension plans and different forms of cash or stock-based remuneration for national, multi-national and expatriate employees.

Advice on pay equity audits, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and employment counseling on ESG matters.

Advising on discrimination, bullying and harassment issues and conducting related investigations.
 

International Trade and Supply Chain Compliance

Advising on sustainable supply chain practices, including forced labor risk assessment and mitigation services.

Advising on navigating U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s enforcement of the U.S. forced labor import ban, 19 U.S.C. § 1307.

Advising on the structure and potential business impact of international treaties and proposed bills in the U.S. Congress, including carbon border tax adjustment, revisions and extensions to the U.S. forced labor import ban and proposals to link trade benefits with labor and environment protections.

Conducting global supply chain investigations and performing supplier due diligence analysis.
 

Sustainable Finance and Investments

Advising on all aspects of sustainable financing including ESG-linked loans, sustainability-linked or “green” loans, sustainable supply chain financing and renewable energy projects.

Advising asset and private fund managers on developing and implementing ESG-related investment policies.

Advising on ESG considerations in connection with IPOs and other capital markets transactions.

Advising potential targets and prospective buyers on ESG factors in M&A decision making, including due diligence, integration and corporate governance.

Developing and implementing ESG-tailored due diligence models.
 

Litigation and Regulatory Investigations

Representing companies in litigation based on historic manufacture and use of products and ESG issues related to them (e.g., climate change nuisance litigation, appealing or defending federal and state environmental and climate regulations).

Counseling and defending clients from governmental enforcement and prosecution of environmental contamination and natural resource damages matters arising from catastrophic releases, industrial discharges, and legacy contamination to important surface waters, groundwater, and other environmental media.

Representing clients in civil litigation (including class actions and securities actions) as well as criminal and administrative proceedings and regulatory investigations on matters such as the environment, supply chain and climate change, as well as misrepresentation claims for sustainable products (alleged “greenwashing,” for example).
 
 
 

Overview

Businesses are increasingly responsible for the extended social and environmental impact of their economic activity.  This evolving responsibility is driven by the expectations of consumers and investors, governments, regulators and workers.  It is predicated on certain consensus views—that climate change is a material threat, that no business should benefit from slave labor, that racial justice is non-negotiable.
ESG challenges proliferate, propelled by emerging sources of hard and soft law obligations, the efforts of investors to quantify business characteristics not easily reduced to metrics, and pervasive interest in accountability.

At core, the myriad ESG issues are reducible to two questions—how should a company meet its own individual challenges of extended responsibility, and what should (or must) it say about what it does?

Our ESG team has decades of experience advising clients how to meet their own unique challenges of extended responsibility, from environmental, health and safety issues, to questions of pay equity and board diversity, to eradicating forced and child labor from supply chains.  We advise on the full suite of voluntary and mandatory sustainability and ESG reporting, advertising risks and opportunities, and government relations strategies.  We help design integrated solutions that safeguard corporate reputation, minimize risk and leverage opportunity.

How we can help:
 

Corporate Governance

Advising boards and management on the expectations of ESG-related regulatory requirements, crisis management, and the adoption and implementation of global governmental and industry standards.

Supporting clients in their responses to ESG-focused shareholder activism, including shareholder proposals.

Undertaking due diligence assessments on key ESG focus areas with a view toward advising and developing ESG governance strategies.
 

Reporting and Disclosures

Advising on mandatory and voluntary disclosures to investors and other key stakeholders including in SEC filings, sustainability reports and website pages.

Advising on mandatory disclosures including compliance with amendments to Regulation S-K regarding human capital disclosures, the UK Modern Slavery Act, non-financial reporting directives, executive and gender pay gap reports and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Advising on evolving metrics, financial reporting and other standards including calls to disclose additional information under the TCFD and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).

Reviewing advertising claims touting ESG accomplishments, such as green marketing claims.
 

Environment and Natural Resources

Preparing and analyzing facility-specific, corporate-wide, and industry sector-based environmental management programs, reporting protocols, and disclosure guidelines.

Assisting in the development of environmental compliance programs and conduct environmental, health and safety auditing of manufacturing and industrial facilities.

Advising manufacturers and extractive industries on the development of policies and practices for waste minimization, recycling, materials reclamation, water reuse, land reclamation, and impact mitigation.

Assisting companies and industry sectors in greenhouse gas reporting, developing emissions inventories, participating in emissions trading programs, and conducting greenhouse gas life-cycle analyses.

Leading clients through environmental response, crisis management, and engagement with regulators and governmental entities on natural resource and remediation issues.

Counseling national retailers, distributors, and manufacturers on compliance with Extended Producer Responsibility / Product Stewardship programs and regulations.
 

Labor and Work Force

Advising on business human right standards in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations Guiding Principles (NGPs) on Business and Human Rights, international principles, leading disclosure frameworks and guidance, and international laws and regulations.

Advising on sector-specific regulation, policy compliance and best practices, including work rules, health and safety compliance, and working conditions for the labor force.

Advising on compensation and benefits focused on identifying the right compensation and incentive arrangements, including executive and all-employee benefit plans, pension plans and different forms of cash or stock-based remuneration for national, multi-national and expatriate employees.

Advice on pay equity audits, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and employment counseling on ESG matters.

Advising on discrimination, bullying and harassment issues and conducting related investigations.
 

International Trade and Supply Chain Compliance

Advising on sustainable supply chain practices, including forced labor risk assessment and mitigation services.

Advising on navigating U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s enforcement of the U.S. forced labor import ban, 19 U.S.C. § 1307.

Advising on the structure and potential business impact of international treaties and proposed bills in the U.S. Congress, including carbon border tax adjustment, revisions and extensions to the U.S. forced labor import ban and proposals to link trade benefits with labor and environment protections.

Conducting global supply chain investigations and performing supplier due diligence analysis.
 

Sustainable Finance and Investments

Advising on all aspects of sustainable financing including ESG-linked loans, sustainability-linked or “green” loans, sustainable supply chain financing and renewable energy projects.

Advising asset and private fund managers on developing and implementing ESG-related investment policies.

Advising on ESG considerations in connection with IPOs and other capital markets transactions.

Advising potential targets and prospective buyers on ESG factors in M&A decision making, including due diligence, integration and corporate governance.

Developing and implementing ESG-tailored due diligence models.
 

Litigation and Regulatory Investigations

Representing companies in litigation based on historic manufacture and use of products and ESG issues related to them (e.g., climate change nuisance litigation, appealing or defending federal and state environmental and climate regulations).

Counseling and defending clients from governmental enforcement and prosecution of environmental contamination and natural resource damages matters arising from catastrophic releases, industrial discharges, and legacy contamination to important surface waters, groundwater, and other environmental media.

Representing clients in civil litigation (including class actions and securities actions) as well as criminal and administrative proceedings and regulatory investigations on matters such as the environment, supply chain and climate change, as well as misrepresentation claims for sustainable products (alleged “greenwashing,” for example).
 
Partner
Email (202) 342-8525(202) 342-8525
Wayne routinely works with clients on regulatory, permitting, compliance, and enforcement matters arising under the Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Nationa...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8413(202) 342-8413
John Foote concentrates his practice on international trade and customs matters with a particular focus on challenges involving forced labor in supply chains. John combines an in-depth underst...
Partner
Email (203) 351-8028(203) 351-8028
Richard Chargar advises public and private companies, institutions and other organizations, senior executives and boards of directors on complex benefits and compensation matters.  Richard ser...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8858(202) 342-8858
Bill Guerry co-chairs the firm’s Environmental Law group.  His practice focuses on environmental, renewable and alternative fuels and energy sources.  For over three decades, Bill h...
Partner
Email (858) 795-0426(858) 795-0426
Andrew Homer focuses his practice on litigation, permitting, compliance counseling, and transactional support related to federal and state environmental laws and regulations. Andrew handles hi...
Partner
Email (713) 355-5050(713) 355-5050
Bill Jackson is co-chair of the firm’s national Environmental Law practice group and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.  Bill has one of the most sophisticated and success...
Partner
Email (212) 808-7980(212) 808-7980
Pamela Kaplan chairs the firm’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation group.  Pam represents Fortune 500 companies, not-for-profit entities and other organizations on their empl...
Partner
Email (212) 808-7959(212) 808-7959
Mark Konkel is chair of Kelley Drye's Labor and Employment practice group.  Mark is committed to protecting and maximizing the interests of employers of all sizes, from the major multinati...
Partner
Email (312) 857-2630(312) 857-2630
Timothy Lavender serves as chair of the firm’s Corporate practice.  With three decades of global transactional experience, Tim is a deal maker and is regarded as a trusted advisor in mer...
Partner
Email (312) 857-7082(312) 857-7082
Jennifer Norkus focuses her practice primarily on mergers and acquisitions, finance, and general corporate matters. Jennifer has worked with clients in a wide range of industries, including transpo...
Partner
Email (312) 857-7086(312) 857-7086
Andrew Pillsbury chairs Kelley Drye’s Mergers and Acquisitions practice group.  His practice also focuses on finance, securities, joint ventures, technology matters, and corporate govern...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8485(202) 342-8485
Paul Rosenthal co-chairs the firm’s Government Relations and Public Policy practice.  Paul is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, and previously served as managing partner ...
Partner
Email (203) 351-8072(203) 351-8072
Carol Sherman practices in the area of corporate and securities law.  Her experience includes SEC reporting and compliance, equity and debt offerings, corporate governance and mergers and acqu...
Partner
Email (203) 351-8018(203) 351-8018
Merrill Stone’s corporate practice includes finance and securities law, banking, shareholder services and mergers and acquisitions.  Merrill represents banks, financial institutions, pri...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8633(202) 342-8633
Christie Grymes Thompson chairs the firm’s Advertising and Marketing and Consumer Product Safety practice groups.  She focuses her practice on consumer protection matters, including adve...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8423(202) 342-8423
A member of the firm’s Executive Committee, John Villafranco provides litigation and counseling services, with a focus on advertising law matters and consumer protection. John is highly respe...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8805(202) 342-8805
Kristi Wolff is chair of the firm’s Food and Drug Law and Cannabis Law practices.  Kristi focuses her practice on food, drugs, dietary supplements, medical devices, personal care and con...
Director of Government Relations
Email (202) 342-8608(202) 342-8608
Dana Wood co-chairs the firm’s Government Relations and Public Policy group.  Dana has been a public policy advocate for more than three decades, representing client interests before Con...
Special Counsel
Email (212) 808-7621(212) 808-7621
Victoria Anderson focuses her practice on employee benefits and executive compensation – namely, qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, deferred compensation arrangements under 409A, 4...
Special Counsel
Email (203) 351-8141(203) 351-8141
Wendy Clarke focuses her practice on corporate, finance and securities law.  Wendy represents global companies, private equity funds and other entities in connection with mergers and acquisiti...
Special Counsel
Email (202) 342-8849(202) 342-8849
Joe Green advises on complex environmental regulatory matters for large and small corporate clients and national trade associations.  He is particularly skilled in translating complex business...
Special Counsel
Email (212) 808-5076(212) 808-5076
Jason Katz advises clients on mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, debt and equity financings, strategic investments, joint ventures, and other corporate transactions.  He represents pu...
Special Counsel
Email (202) 342-8416(202) 342-8416
For more than fifteen years, Jennifer McCadney’s practice has included a mix of law and policy.  As both a lawyer and government relations and policy strategist, Jennifer helps companies...
Senior Associate
Email (212) 808-7697(212) 808-7697
Maria Biaggi is a senior associate in the Labor and Employment practice. Maria represents employers in a broad range of employment law matters, including litigation, dispute resolution, and counsel...
Senior Associate
Email (312) 857-7079(312) 857-7079
Courtney Kleshinski is a senior associate in the firm’s Corporate practice group and assists publicly traded, privately held and family-owned businesses in a variety of commercial and transac...
Senior Associate
Email (202) 342-8455(202) 342-8455
Katie Rogers advises clients on all aspects of advertising, privacy and promoting their brands across a variety of media.  She helps clients ensure that their ads and labeling comply with regu...
Senior Associate
Email (312) 857-7076(312) 857-7076
Jennifer Wong is a senior associate in the firm's Chicago office. She focuses her practice on corporate and securities law, including SEC reporting and compliance, equity and debt offerings, co...
Associate
Email (202) 342-8845(202) 342-8845
Lee Baumgardner focuses his practice on consumer protection law matters.  Lee provides practical legal advice on a variety of FTC/FDA-related consumer protection issues, including green market...
Associate
Email (212) 808-5021(212) 808-5021
Nicholas Kromka is an associate with the firm’s Labor and Employment group.  Nick focuses his practice in all areas of labor and employment law, with a specific emphasis on defending cli...
Associate
Email (202) 342-8473(202) 342-8473
Lauren Myers is an associate in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.  Her practice focuses on advertising and marketing, data privacy and information security, product safety, and other c...
Government Relations Professional
Email (202) 431-4760(202) 431-4760
Maggie Crosswy is a government relations and public policy advisor in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. She focuses her practice on monitoring and lobbying legislative issues on behalf of c...