Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG)

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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

20 April 2022

Netherlands introduces new access to public information regime

The Open Government Act (Woo) will enter into force on 1 May 2022, replacing the current law (Wob). The aim of the new law is to create a more transparent government that actively discloses information. The changes contained in the new law, especially in terms of active disclosure, are a significant departure from the current regime, where information has been mostly disclosed on request. That is not the only change though: there will be new exceptions to disclosure, a shorter decision-making period, and a central platform where all information is made public. In addition, the new law will apply to a wider range of public authorities. Under the new act, private companies will be asked more often to respond to intended disclosures. The new regime will not only apply to new documents, but also for documentation which is already in the possession of administrative bodies.
20 April 2022

Consultation on Dutch Corporate Governance Code update – De Brauw submits response

Following the Monitoring Committee's proposal - earlier this year - to update the Dutch Corporate Governance Code, market participants, other stakeholders and interested parties had until 17 April 2022 to respond. As part of this consultation, De Brauw recently submitted a document setting out its views - you can read our response here (in Dutch).
20 April 2022

Companies beware: UBO registration in Netherlands now mandatory

As of 28 March 2022, all legal entities in the Netherlands must register their ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs). Until they have done so, AML- regulated institutions – financial institutions and other regulated entities, such as auditors and lawyers – may not enter into new business relationships with them. Listed Dutch companies and their direct and indirect 100% subsidiaries are exempted from the registration requirement.

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