Reprinted with permission from Bloomberg BNA, Insight
Climate Science, Litigation
Author: Lindene Patton
Voluntary disclosure programs have a long history and are considered synonymous with responsible environmental stewardship. These programs, in the area of regulated pollutants, have been used as methods to achieve compliance, create reputational value and manage scarce enforcement resources. Those efforts are typically tightly coordinated with or done under the supervision of in-house counsel.
Broader voluntary disclosure and corporate social responsibility (CSR) pledge programs related to environment, social and governance (ESG) initiatives have, by contrast, often been directed and managed by CSR offices or human resource functions with much less involvement from the general counsel’s office. However, recent developments in human rights claims, attribution science and climate related disclosure actions suggest that greater involvement and coordination of ESG and pledge programs with legal counsel is warranted because the risks have changed in ways not previously contemplated by many.
Those changes include:
Voluntary disclosure programs are laudable and valuable endeavors. But dramatic increases in public scrutiny, the wider availability of data, and advances in attribution science call for companies to re-think their risk management in this sector. (Continue Reading . . . )