Sustainability, Climate and Environment
The concept of sustainability has received increasing attention in recent years. As stakeholder (including regulators and investors) scrutiny of ESG issues continues to intensify, firms are required to take their environmental responsibilities seriously and to bridge sustainability considerations with their business rationale. Wikborg Rein regularly advise our clients on new regulations relating to sustainability, and this remains a strategic focus for our firm.
We actively engage with enterprises that position themselves for long-term value creation. Our team provides expert advice to ensure compliance with new legal requirements, including in the area of sustainable finance. We offer guidance on the taxonomy for all business sectors, as well as advice according to requirements set out in the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). We also have extensive knowledge of the obligations set out in the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).
The Paris Agreement and the UN Global Framework for Managing Nature are the two overarching frameworks regarding sustainable development. Our team possesses comprehensive expertise on all aspect of environmental law, including climate, pollution and circular economy regulations.
- Compliance with requirements set out in the EU taxonomy
- Sustainability reporting obligations (taxonomy, SFDR, CSRD, CSDD)
- ESG Compliance programs
- Sustainable finance and the classification of products
- Assessments of sustainability information in periodic reports
- Sustainable business development, risks and opportunities
- ESG due diligence in M&A transactions
- Sustainability criteria in industrial projects, such as offshore wind
- Implications of new European climate law (EU ETS, Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, etc)
- Environmental responsibilities for companies, emissions permits etc
- Biodiversity and circular economy expectations of companies
Our assistance includes, among others:
- ESG: We give legal advice in all areas of climate and environmental law. This includes e.g. all requirements according to the EU Taxonomy, the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).
- Business development: We help companies navigate in the complex ESG landscape so that they become well positioned to fulfil business opportunities. The need for reduced climate emissions, a more circular economy and integration of nature into decision making are key in a sustainable business development for the future.
- Compliance: We assist in the development of compliance programs within different areas of ESG law. We conduct risk analysis, assist in the set-up of compliance functions, facilitate routines for internal control, monitoring and training, etc.
- Due diligence: We assist in due diligence processes to identify ESG risks in transactions, in connection with portfolio management, etc. Investors are increasingly focused on ESG factors as part of their analysis to identify material risks and growth opportunities.
- Contracts: We assist in developing contract clauses suitable to support specific ESG matters.
- Sustainability reports: We assist in the development of sustainability reports while securing the fulfilment of all legal requirements, we give advice on what is "best practice" etc.
- ESG-risks: We provide a better understanding of ESG risks in various sectors, and why they matter. This includes e.g. climate and sustainability litigation risks, and risks of being accused for greenwashing.
- EU ETS: We give advice related to the understanding of legal obligations under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), both regarding operators covered by the system and in relation to trading of allowances as financial instruments.
- Climate and environmental law: We provide guidance on legislative framework in all areas, and assist in the contact with e.g. the pollution authority in relation to applications for emissions permits or follow-up of administrative orders to take action such as environmental surveys or preparing action plans.
Our interdisciplinary sustainability expertise
The green transition
A comprehensive change is needed in the way we use our natural resources. Climate change perspectives and environmental degradation is increasingly reflected in legal requirements. The EU is a driving force in the green transition, with a strong emphasis on maintaining economic growth. Businesses will play a vital part in the green shift. Solutions with reduced climate emissions, a circular economy approach and the integration of nature into decision making are key in a sustainable business development. We assist companies to be well positioned to fulfil business opportunities.
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Read our articles on Sustainability, climate and environment
WR ESG Alert: Key decisions by Norwegian and French courts relating to the environment and crimes against humanity
In this month's ESG alert, we describe the recent decision by France's highest court which paves the way for charges to be brought against Lafarge for complicity in crimes against humanity and a decision by Oslo District Court which invalidates three Norwegian oil and gas field permits on environmental grounds.
WR ESG Alert: EU agreement on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and updates to and expansion of a range of environmental obligations
In this month's ESG alert, we highlight that political agreement has been reached at EU level with respect to the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation as well as new rules to strengthen the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. We also describe an expanded scope for sustainability disclosure obligations following a report by the European Supervisory Authorities and revisions to the Norwegian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Act.
On 14 December 2023, the European Parliament and the European Council informally agreed on a new directive on corporate sustainability due diligence (the "CS3D" or the "directive") obliging firms to integrate their human rights and environmental impact into their management systems. The directive has been called a historic breakthrough in the way companies are now responsible for potential abuse in their value chain. Subsequent to the negotiations, the Lead MEP said that this was a starting point for shaping the economy of the future.