Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)
ESG is becoming an essential metric for business leaders, investors, regulators, and other key constituencies.
Increasingly, shareholders and other stakeholders evaluate a company’s performance on certain non-financial metrics, including sustainability, workforce composition and labor standards, board and management diversity, pay equity, and political/non-profit giving.
These environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics are a growing area of focus for companies of all sizes, investors and investment firms, lenders, governmental agencies and legislatures, stock exchanges and other self-regulatory bodies, activist shareholders, and other advocacy groups.
Our ESG team applies the experience of lawyers from across the firm to address the unique ESG issues and goals of our clients. This cross-disciplinary approach allows us to help our clients navigate a fast-changing ESG landscape, including:
- Enhanced disclosure requirements by regulators, proxy advisors, and trading platforms on certain ESG metrics;
- Increased litigation and reputational risk to business operations caused by corporate statements, spending, and policy;
- Divestment and investment trends in projects and entities based on their environmental and social impact;
- The evolution of fiduciary duties of directors, investment advisors, and lenders arising from ESG initiatives; and
- Creating and assessing diversity, equity, and inclusion goals in the workplace.
- Counseling Essential Utilities (formerly Aqua America Inc.) on ESG disclosures made in its ESG report, proxy statement, and Form 10-K. Essential Utilities eventually earned a favorable mention in a Donnelley Financial report on ESG matters.
- Advising, for more than 20 years, several denominational pension plans on their ESG investment policies and practices and closely monitoring related fiduciary duty regulations
- Assisted a client in evaluating a development project's adherence to the Equator Principles prior to the client's tax equity investment
- Drafting policy and legal white papers for industry-sector investors on the impact of implementing or cancelling environmental regulatory initiatives
- Assisted a Fortune 500 company in the negotiation of renewable energy/environmental attribute purchase agreements for approximately 1,500 megawatts of new renewable energy facilities being installed throughout the county, and these purchase arrangements result in the company being among the largest purchasers of green energy in the USA, and are a key component of its sustainable development goals
- Assisted various public and private educational institutions in structuring renewable energy and credit purchase arrangements that help these institutions achieve their goals for environmental sustainability
Bioenergy and Project Finance
- Represented approximately 20 institutional investors in the limited offering and sale of nearly $220 million of senior lien, tax-exempt revenue bonds issued in 2020 by the Southern Ohio Port Authority to finance the world's first commercial-scale, virgin-grade polypropylene recycling facility
- Served as bond counsel in connection with the 2020 limited offering and sale, on a current and forward delivery basis, of approximately $125 million of tax-exempt and taxable bonds to finance the development of a new digester in suburban Philadelphia to convert supermarket food waste into pet and animal feedstocks
Labor and Employment
- Conducted diversity and inclusion training, including training regarding implicit bias, and drafted leave donation policies for the workplace
- Assist clients with developing programs under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, presenting these programs to regulators and obtaining approval