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Ask a Vexxpert:TDS lawyer John Stefaniuk discusses how people are looking more closely at how businesses measure up on environmental, social, and governance criteria.

We can advise, assist and help in-house counsel and management to navigate the legalities that comes with the increasing need to address ESG.

TDS brings together a cross-functional team of experienced lawyers to provide multi-disciplinary advice concerning the complex and rapidly changing area of environmental, social and governance (ESG). Our ESG client base is diversified across a number of sectors, and includes small and medium-sized private enterprises, large businesses, and public sector entities.

Many of our lawyers serve on a variety of advisory councils and committees related to ESG issues, putting TDS at the forefront in the development of many policies and practices in government and in the private sector. This also keeps TDS up-to-date on legal developments and industry trends to advise our clients on ESG-related matters in a multitude of legal areas – including environmental and securities law compliance, potential liabilities and risk management, due diligence, human resources policies, human rights, cyber-security and privacy, anti-corruption, governance, financial transactions, investor standards, sustainability, and dispute resolution.

Environmental matters

  • Drafting environmental policies, green-house gas emissions disclosures, and climate change adaptation strategies including metrics, risk management adaptation and innovation
  • Implementation of environmental management systems, disclosures and operational procedures that mitigate new and ongoing risks and liabilities
  • Negotiations with regulatory authorities
  • Undertaking environmental compliance audits and impact assessments
  • Advocating in environmental disputes, administrative hearings and in regulatory offence prosecutions

Social matters

  • Promoting transparency and improve disclosure on ESG-related issues including workforce diversity, inclusive corporate culture, workplace health and safety, compensation, and employee satisfaction
  • Indigenous issues including treaty rights, consent and support for projects, negotiations, and on-going relations with communities
  • Management and risks of local and international supply chain agreements, including life-cycle strategies, code of conduct in supplier contracts, incentive structures and collaboration agreements
  • Legalities involved with community engagement and investment, collaborative external projects, pro bono work, sponsorships and donations to build engagement with stakeholders

Governance matters

  • Responsibilities and accountabilities with ESG, including stakeholder engagement, and shareholder activism response and strategy
  • Legal requirements and best practices for ESG-related regulatory requirements, monitoring, reporting and disclosure of accomplishments and milestones
  • ESG-based changes to business operations, organizational structure and labour and employment contracts
  • Board structure, diversity, executive compensation, accountability and internal investigations
  • Compliance, internal controls and code of conduct to mitigate legal and reputational risks
  • Risk management related to cybersecurity, data protection and reporting on breaches
  • Tax policies and the ESG-related risks associated with their tax practices