ESG and sustainability
Disputes and litigation
Freshfields’ global network of lawyers represent clients before courts, international arbitration tribunals and other authorities throughout the full lifecycle of ESG risk, from regulation monitoring and risk exposure to mitigation advice and litigation defence.
As ESG issues continue to dominate legal, political and business agendas, organisations face increasing pressure to rethink how they do business. Successfully navigating this complex and rapidly changing landscape raises a number of legal challenges, and preparation is vital to mitigate risk and avoid ESG-related disputes.
From greenwashing allegations to transition risk associated with decarbonising society, organisations are being held to account by governments, regulators, consumers and investors. The nexus of human rights and international business is also under scrutiny, as whistleblower allegations, supply chain issues, human rights concerns and compliance obligations emerge and evolve.
Freshfields helps clients develop sustainable strategies in line with the current risk agenda. Our multidisciplinary global investigations practice, comprising former regulators and prosecutors, has successfully represented some of the largest banks, corporates and institutions on the highest-profile matters, ranging from breaches of environment law to allegations of human rights abuse and anti-competitive behaviour.
The truly global nature of our practice sets us apart, and our world-leading international arbitration practice advises across all key jurisdictions and industry sectors whatever the governing law, the applicable arbitration rules or the subject matter of the issue.
Advising on the late stages of a strategically important complaint to the UK Advertising Standards Authority alleging “greenwashing” in two HSBC ads concerning net zero.
Assessment of an alleged lack of human rights impact assessment relating to a pulp mill in Uruguay with regard to potential human rights litigation risk
Advising the Japanese renewable energy company Eurus Energy in its claims against Spain relating to Spain’s elimination of an incentives programme for wind and solar power plants and the damage this caused Eurus’s existing wind farms in Spain.
Freshfields helped Eurus win a damages award of €106.2m, which is the full amount requested in the quantum phase, one of the largest awards yet against Spain and the largest ISDS award won by a Japanese company.
Advising a major natural resources company on its potential exposure to climate change litigation risk, including the development of measures to mitigate this risk.
We represented Sun-Flower et al in an ICSID arbitration under the ECT against Spain relating to changes to the regulatory regime affecting the claimants’ investments in photovoltaic installations in Spain.
On 22 June 2021, the tribunal awarded the claimants over €47m in damages, interest, and a tax gross-up as well as 75 per cent of the cost of the arbitration and nearly half of the legal fees.