Concerns about climate change, the environment and natural resources have never been higher on the legal, political or business agenda. The status quo is no longer a viable option. Any sustainability or ESG analysis must take these fundamental questions into account.
- Climate change
- Climate change and litigation risk
- Contacts and further reading
1. Climate change
Climate change will be the challenge of our generation. The transition of our economy, based on fossil fuels and carbon since the industrial revolution, represents an important test of determination for industry and society at large. The effects of climate change are often less visible than other environmental impacts, but will be felt more severely by future generations without dramatic societal changes to slow the rise in global temperatures. A multidimensional approach from industry, investors and governments is required, and companies should look to move beyond good intentions and start seeing real results. As governments set ambitious climate goals, we anticipate a shift from current transparency and reporting regimes to more stringent statutory restrictions and obligations.
Becoming familiar with the myriad of environmental laws and regulations spanning many areas, from contaminated soil and waste, to chemicals and plastics, to air and water quality, is a challenge for any business. While it does not currently make headlines in the same way as climate change or natural resource concerns, failure to adequately address these environmental risks can result in significant liability and damage to reputation. Increasingly stringent restrictions on substances, as well as stricter environmental clearance standards, can render an industrial process or product redundant, so it is important to stay abreast of legal and regulatory developments in the world. ‘horizon.
3. Climate change and litigation risk
The last two decades have seen an increasing number of climate change related litigation around the world, with a notable increase in the number of cases in recent years. “Climate change litigation” can refer to a wide range of cases, including cases involving planning and authorization, violations by states and governments of their carbon emissions commitments, and the responsibility of private companies. It remains to be seen how the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis will impact climate change litigation. Notably in the UK, the UK government recently received a pre-action protocol letter challenging the legality of its COVID-19 economic stimulus package, alleging an illegal allocation of government and Bank of England funds.
All of the world’s economies share an unwavering dependence on natural resources. Global population growth continues to lead to more intensive industrial and agricultural operations, often in countries with few regulatory checks and balances. The sustainable development agenda requires us to manage our use of the rapidly shrinking natural resource supply in order to preserve them for future generations and developing countries, and to mitigate and, where possible, reverse environmental damage. caused by the depletion of these resources.