Environmental, Social & Governance

+ 16 other experts

Mainstream, complex and critical

...and certainly no longer an "emerging" topic. Environmental, Social and Governance factors – alongside the broader challenge of sustainability – are an increasingly important area for clients.

Society and the law fuel increasing demands on businesses for changes in their transparency, responsibility and ultimately, accountability. A licence to operate is no longer sufficient since public trust in the regulatory approval process has decreased, as in regulatory authorities themselves. Moreover, society is hard-pressed by the advent of climate change and the necessary energy transition, implying massive and disruptive changes in the legal, political and economic landscape, all further impacting businesses already under increasing public scrutiny.

In the absence of political guidance or clear legal frameworks, these developments require complex decision-making and raise new legal questions. Our extensive experience navigating this challenging landscape, and dealing with complex and often politically sensitive matters, puts us in a unique position to handle these matters for corporations and major state-owned entities. We have a well-developed informal network which includes senior advisers and legal staff in central government, and work in multidisciplinary teams that liaise with technical experts to build strong cases that withstand judicial review by third parties in this multifaceted area.

Insights

28 September 2021

Dutch Senate approves gender diversity bill for company boards

A bill introducing a quota for the supervisory boards of Dutch Amsterdam-listed companies and setting gender balance targets for board and senior management level of "large" listed and non-listed Dutch NVs and BVs has been passed by both houses of parliament. In the event of non-compliance with the one-third quota, new appointments will be declared null and void. The company's gender balance targets will have to be reported to the Dutch Social and Economic Council (SER) annually and be included in the management report for transparency purposes.
22 September 2021

Commission moves sustainability discussion forward by releasing competition policy brief

The European Green Deal aims to transition the EU internal market into a sustainable economy. Public and private entities are rallying behind this green ambition and working towards a new circular economic model. Because of the additional cost (and unavoidable price increase), it is sometimes a competitive disadvantage to be the first undertaking to move towards a more sustainable product or production process. To overcome this dilemma, competitors might want to take the first step together and create a level playing field. In such cases, competition law must be taken into consideration, as such a joint sustainability initiative might have anti-competitive effects. Businesses are increasingly looking for specific guidance from competition enforcers on how they can cooperate in pursuit of sustainability goals. We obtained some insights from our recent sustainability webinar where we discussed the European Commission's new policy brief.
21 September 2021

Finish line in sight for new Dutch gender diversity bill

On 28 September 2021, the Dutch Senate will vote on a new bill introducing a "one-third" diversity quota for supervisory boards of Dutch Amsterdam-listed companies and requiring "large" listed and non-listed Dutch NVs and BVs to set gender balance targets for the board and senior management levels. As several political parties have criticised the proposed legislation, the outcome of the vote is uncertain. If the bill is adopted, the government wants the new rules to take effect on 1 January 2022.