Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)

ESG Hero Image.

We help our clients understand and navigate the evolving developments of ESG-related law. Investors are increasing demands upon companies to focus on sustainability and environmental policies, diversity and inclusion programming, corporate governance, and associated matters. While EU- and U.S.-based governmental and independent agencies and organizations are establishing different reporting frameworks and standards, businesses need to decide which to follow.

Companies both large and small face competing interests. No matter how you proceed, you face risks and rewards. We can help you identify the often-hidden pitfalls that can surprise you, and we guide acquisitive parties through the due diligence process that leads to the successful conclusion of an ESG-compatible transaction.

Our Approach

When you need to identify material issues, develop strategies and programs, and ultimately achieve transparency and compliance that satisfies investors and watchdogs alike, we can leverage a deeply experienced team that understands your industry. We seek to protect your long-term value and profitability, and to turn challenges into opportunities.

Our services span legislative, regulatory compliance, litigation, and reputational concerns, offering both long-term and up-to-the-minute insights and guidance to companies of all sizes. Our team assists clients on a wide range of ESG issues, from the latest governance disclosures in SEC filings to supply chain considerations, and for developing ESG investment criteria for investment funds to assisting banks and others responding to state anti-ESG legislation. We assist clients with individual components of ESG as well as bringing together multidisciplinary legal practitioners who help clients align their end-to-end operations and design a comprehensive approach to full-company ESG compliance that they can defend and highlight.

Our Experience

Impact Investing

Our clients range from clients at the beginning stages of understanding impact investing to investors that are actively investing in the space. Whether early-stage seed financings, venture capital round financings, M&A deals, or fund formation matters, our team has deep experience across the board, and can develop successful impact investing and fund management strategies. Our multilingual, multicultural team understands the details of such deals.

Capital Markets and Public Company Advisory

We represent a broad portfolio of clients, including investors and public and private companies. ESG has become a business imperative, and we assist clients to position them for the creation of long-term value and a sustainable competitive advantage through creation of ESG policies and strategies, governance structures, and related disclosures. We counsel clients on proper disclosures for communications within investor presentations, annual and sustainability reports, and SEC reports and proxy statements. We are well versed in the complexities of green financing, mergers and acquisitions, and other transactions where sustainability and/or a “green” focus is key to the transaction’s success.

Labor & Employment

Our seasoned Labor & Employment team helps clients analyze, formulate, and execute on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. We offer training and representation as required, and we develop frameworks for issues such as pay equity, affirmative action, workplace harassment, and internal investigations. We help clients delve into their vendor and supplier operations to gain insight into their DEI programs and ensure they meet each client’s standards and expectations.

Environmental and Energy

As climate change becomes one of the defining issues of our time, our Environmental and Energy teams work with clients to manage their impact on the planet through overall operations. We work with clients to finance and install renewable energy generation as well as to enter into direct and virtual power purchase agreements. In addition, our Energy Transition and Climate Adaptation team works to develop products and services to achieve “net zero” emissions, develop contracts for generation of carbon offsets, obtain patent protection for new product technologies that will transition our modes of transportation, and strategize for emissions reporting.

Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations and Securities Litigation

Our team develops compliance programs guided by the latest ESG principles to decrease reputational, investigatory, and whistleblower risk; provide guidance on the view of securities regulators regarding ESG disclosures for publicly-traded issuers and institutional investors alike; and defend clients in investigations or lawsuits regarding ESG metrics or disclosures.

Acquisition and Management of Real Estate Assets

We advise developers, investors, owners, tenants, governments, and regulatory entities on sustainability and other ESG matters along with those issues that have long concerned them. Our Real Estate Group works closely with our other Foley practices in areas such as renewable energy infrastructure, conservation easements, transactions, and financing as well as the acquisition, development, construction, and finance of wind, solar, hydro, biomass, and district energy projects.

Data Privacy, Protection, and Management

With the increased focus on consumer privacy and heightened awareness of cybersecurity incidents, data privacy has become an integral aspect of ESG. Our Cybersecurity & Data Privacy team works with clients to ensure that data is used to sustain a competitive advantage while remaining secure, socially responsible, and compliant with global privacy and cybersecurity laws. We help our clients ensure that data are responsibly collected and stored, reducing the environmental impacts of large-scale data storage and helping clients avoid reputational risk. We also partner with clients to develop comprehensive privacy and cybersecurity programs.

Government Solutions

Foley’s Government Solutions practice group hosts premier federal and state public policy (lobby), regulatory, FTC consumer, state attorneys general, and related practices working on ESG issues in Washington, D.C. as well as in state capitals across the country. This includes, but is not limited to, federal and state ESG policies and state laws and regulations to the contrary effecting energy, investment, procurement, and other industries.

Foley ESG Report

As a 180-year-old law firm and leader in the profession, Foley & Lardner LLP has a long history of being involved in the communities where we live and work.

As part of our core values of Citizenship and Stewardship, each year we devote significant resources to continue building a more equitable and sustainable future for everyone. This includes looking at how we operate through the lens of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues.

We are pleased to share Foley’s inaugural ESG Report. After establishing an ESG practice in 2021 that now includes more than 100 lawyers and advises our clients on their ESG-related issues, we decided it was time for us to begin assessing and sharing our own progress.

This report is the result of the firm’s honest self-evaluation that encompasses measuring our current environmental footprint, documenting our social and people programs, and specifying our organizational governance structure. The digital format of this report underscores our commitment.

Do we have room to grow and be better? Absolutely. That’s part of the reason for this inaugural ESG Report. And we welcome your opinions, your ideas, and your feedback on how we can continue to improve.

Thank you for reading this report and for being a part of our continued progress forward.

Click here to download the full report.