Practices

ESG & Sustainability Advisory

Now more than ever, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are a top priority for companies, boards, investors, regulators and stakeholders across all industries worldwide. Cooley recognizes that ESG means something different to every client. We bring together dedicated ESG lawyers with wide-ranging experience to help clients develop and implement holistic ESG strategies that meet US, EU and other global regulatory requirements, as well as the heightened expectations of their investors, customers and employees. Our team of lawyers is well positioned to assist boards of directors and management teams in understanding the role they can play in overseeing ESG and sustainability across their organizations – along with providing actionable guidance to implement effective governance, risk management and controls. We work with our clients to recognize the unique opportunity ESG offers for value creation and empower them to become leaders of change, whether they are a large corporation, an early-stage startup or a seasoned investor.

Public companies

We help clients identify and prioritize the ESG factors most impactful to their business and keep them apprised of rapidly evolving US and global regulatory requirements. We advise on all aspects of ESG reporting and strategy, including by providing hands-on assistance with creating effective ESG and sustainability disclosures that align with key reporting and ratings frameworks, investor expectations and market practice. We also counsel on risk management related to securities law liability, greenwashing and other commercial risks. Additionally, we provide trusted advice to boards and management teams when it comes to effective engagement with critical stakeholders, managing ESG-related shareholder proposals and remaining front-footed ahead of proxy season.

Emerging companies

We work with emerging companies to embed ESG into their DNA in a way that makes business sense without creating significant distractions or a drain on resources. ESG can be a significant advantage in helping startups stand out from peers, draw top talent, and attract investors – particularly those interested in sustainability-focused companies – and customers who care about societal and environmental factors. 

Venture capital and fund formation

Our team works with companies and investors to adopt practical ESG strategies to mitigate risk, measure performance and drive value. We advise on all aspects of ESG, from due diligence and governance to foundational policies, risk mitigation and EU sustainability disclosure obligations. We look ahead to exit strategies that meet heightened expectations from regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and stock exchanges – and increasingly, acquirers. 

Pre-IPO

We are regularly called on to counsel issuers and investors in connection with capital markets activities, including ESG readiness ahead of an initial public offering. Working side by side with the rest of the Cooley IPO team, we advise on ESG reporting and data governance, offer guidance on ESG strategy, governance structures, policies and processes, and provide ESG training sessions to the board and management. For underwriters, we play an important role in ESG due diligence and the vetting of ESG-related disclosures and risk mitigation.

Private equity

We help private equity clients embed ESG considerations into their investment decision-making process to better understand a target company’s ESG profile, identify opportunities to enhance value and assess areas of risk. Our approach to ESG due diligence includes working with clients to identify the ESG strengths and weaknesses that are most impactful to a given company and/or industry and to benchmark those ESG priorities against peers. Our team has unparalleled experience in the life sciences, tech, apparel, telecom and sustainability industries, just to name a few.