We are pleased to announce the launch of our communiqué, MT Biosphere™, published by Miller Thomson’s ESG and Carbon Finance Group. The name of our communiqué reflects the three elements behind the ESG acronym: environment, social, and governance. Throughout the biosphere, human life thrives and develops. Our biosphere also encompasses our social environment as human beings, whether we are at work or in our community. The biosphere also describes the corporate environment in which directors evaluate opportunities, assess risks, and make important decisions affecting not only their company, their shareholders, and their employees, but also all stakeholders around them.
2022 was a tumultuous year for ESG and sustainability in general. The new expected role of business in society is the biggest change seen since the industrial revolution. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting war was a wake-up call for all and triggered a rush toward sources of renewable energy. According to the International Energy Agency, the use of fossil fuel to produce electricity has now peaked and wind and solar are for the first time in history adding more capacity to the grid annually than natural gas. This transition toward a carbon free economy creates tremendous opportunities for companies, but also forces investors to focus more on sustainability criteria before making investment decisions. In turn, this has put the spotlight on greenwashing. 2022 has seen regulators all over the world chasing out corporate culprits who were quick to paint everything in green. The war in Ukraine also forced corporations around the world to stop doing business in Russia indicating how transparency is now shaping the way business is being conducted.
Extreme weather events driven by climate change as attested by attribution science such as the heat waves that struck Europe and the Horne of Africa last summer and record floods in Pakistan are stark reminders that climate change can result in material risks for business.
Last year was also the year when sustainability standards began their march towards standardization with the publishing by the International Sustainability Standard Board of its draft general sustainability and climate change disclosure standards. Regulators in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and New Zealand have also mandated climate disclosure for large companies. Finally, the European Union passed the first carbon border adjustment mechanism through the adoption of its cross-border tax on carbon. This will have an enormous impact on business around the world and add credibility to the adoption of enhanced carbon pricing regimes.
One does not need to be a visionary to conclude that ESG and Carbon Finance are hot and complex topics for business, the economy, government and society at large.
Lawyers from across the firm and practicing in a diverse range of disciplines will contribute to MT Biosphere™ on a regular basis on the various topics described above. It is our hope that you will enjoy reading about the topics that our national team of lawyers forming Miller Thomson’s ESG and Carbon Finance Group will address in MT Biosphere. We invite you to sign-up to receive your copy.
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