International law firm Hogan Lovells has launched a dedicated Business Integrity and Sustainable Development (BISD) initiative for the energy and natural resources industry sector, to be led by Denver-based partner and global head of the firm's Energy and Natural Resources sector Group (ENRG), Scot Anderson. BISD forms part of the existing firmwide Business Integrity Group (BIG) which promotes doing good business the right way across industry sectors.
The launch comes as stakeholders and governments increasingly demand higher ethical and sustainability standards from business. Public opposition has delayed a number of high profile projects in the mining, oil and gas, and pipeline industries over the last three years. In a 2017 survey* of over 22,000 investors across 30 countries 78% of respondents confirmed sustainable investing is more important to them now than it was five years ago, with two thirds of investors reporting having increased their sustainable investments over the last five years.
Research found a total of 5.4GW of clean energy contracts were signed by 43 corporations in 10 countries in 2017**, up 23% from a record high 2015; the green bond market doubled in 2016 and continues to grow, it is estimated that the market has capacity to reach US$1 trillion by 2020***.
The BISD initiative will draw on the firm’s global network of lawyers including in London, Washington D.C., Sydney, Perth, Singapore, Dubai, Denver, and Johannesburg; with experience in handling complex commercial arrangements, disputes, litigation, financial, and human rights matters, to guide clients looking to create and follow best practice in the energy and natural resources sector. Hogan Lovells will help clients adopt strategies and internal controls to ensure ethical operations, raise financing for sustainable business endeavors, work within local regulatory and international ethical standards, and assist clients in meeting sustainable development goals, including community and stakeholder engagement.
Commenting on the launch, Scot Anderson said:
“Doing business the right way is fundamental to companies operating in the energy and natural resources sector. More than simply being the right thing to do, it has long-term benefits for businesses, customers, and stakeholders. By bringing together a dedicated group that has business integrity and sustainability matters as its focus, Hogan Lovells is taking an innovative, client-centered approach. Over time, the value of this approach will pay dividends for the firm, for our clients, and perhaps most importantly for the people and nations that sustain the word’s energy and natural resources markets.”
The BISD initiative will focus on five specific areas:
1. Sustainable Development and the Social License to Operate - helping host nations avoid the boom and bust commodities cycle through coordinated engagement between central government, local stakeholders and communities, and producing companies.
2. Green Financing and Green Bonds - helping to raise funds that support new and existing projects with long-term environmentally sustainable goals and clean energy sources.
3. Socially Responsible Investing - considering the environmental, social and corporate governance impact of portfolio investing promoting positive societal impact without sacrificing returns on investment.
4. Anti-Bribery and Corruption - making use of Hogan Lovells’ Bribery and Corruption Task Force, helping clients create best practice operations, especially in locations where transparency is low and corruption is common.
5. Business and Human Rights - integrating of human rights based on industry guidelines promulgated by the UN into risk management, including health and safety issues.
Hogan Lovells has developed a dedicated microsite, where more details of the launch and BISD initiative can be found: http://www.hoganlovells.com/en/aof/business-integrity-and-sustainable-development.
* Schroders Global Investor Study 2017: The global rise of sustainable investing
** Bloomberg New Energy Finance's Corporate Energy Market Outlook 2017
*** According to the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI)