Sustainable business and investment

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Companies and their shareholders, asset managers and institutional investors are increasingly looking to identify and address environmental, social and governance ("ESG") risks and opportunities in their operations and investments and drive positive ESG outcomes, as they face rising expectations from investors, governments, regulators, the media and interest groups, as well as internal and external stakeholders. Indeed, there is growing consensus towards greater accountability and transparency across the corporate world and regulatory frameworks are moving in that direction.

Our advisory, transactional and sector expertise in sustainable businesses and investments combined with our multi-disciplinary approach, ensures our clients are in the best position to navigate the evolving ESG and sustainability legal and regulatory landscape and achieve their long-term strategic aims.

How we can help

Our team advises companies and their shareholders, investment funds and their managers, asset managers, institutional investors and other stakeholders on sustainable and responsible investment issues. Our depth of relevant expertise means we can offer advice at whatever stage they might be along the ESG and sustainable business path.

We act for asset managers who need to ensure that their investments meet the ESG criteria mandated by their investors and asset managers who are primarily focused on sustainable and impact investing.  Institutional investors are increasingly requiring asset managers to not only screen out investee companies that are engaged in businesses sectors that do not meet ESG benchmarks, but to also seek positive ESG outcomes in all businesses they invest in. There has also been an increase in the number of asset managers who focus on impact investing where ESG considerations significantly inform investment decisions.

In the case of companies, such concerns are no longer confined to companies that are already listed or otherwise in the public eye. In the case of privately-owned businesses seeking a listing or sale, maximising value increasingly requires monitoring ESG performance during private (even as part of a portfolio) ownership in order to provide appropriate ESG narratives for disclosure in the prospectus or sale process. 

From a corporate governance perspective, we advise on and provide bespoke training across a wide range of governance and stewardship matters, including directors’ duties, board and committee governance, group and subsidiary governance, appropriate corporate governance codes and frameworks, legal requirements for B Corp certification, the stewardship code and other disclosure obligations. Most importantly, we tailor our advice to reflect the sectors and industries in which our clients operate, ensuring that they remain in-step with comparable peers or continue to lead the way on relevant ESG and sustainability initiatives and general practices.

We understand the increasing importance of effective shareholder engagement and advise on AGMs and annual reporting obligations, as well as general meetings, shareholder circulars and resolutions and shareholder-related claims.

Experience

Home REIT Plc

Acting on the IPO of Home REIT Plc, a real estate investment trust dedicated to investing in a portfolio of homeless accommodation in the UK, targeting a wide range of subsectors within homelessness including women fleeing domestic violence, people leaving prison, individuals suffering from mental health or drug and alcohol issues and foster care leavers.

Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust Plc

Acting on the IPO of new investment company Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust Plc, a joint venture between Schroders and Big Society Capital, which aims to provide investors with access to high-impact investment solutions, aiming to help alleviate some of the country’s most pressing social challenges.

Mobius Investment Trust

Advising on the flotation of a newly-formed investment company, Mobius Investment Trust, to be managed by Mark Mobius and Carlos Hardenburg seeking to unlock value in investee companies by actively partnering with them through a governance-orientated approach, seeking to act as a catalyst for broader ESG improvements.

Schroder British Opportunities Trust plc 

Advising Schroders in relation to the launch of new investment company Schroder British Opportunities Trust plc, which focusses on supporting British business during the pandemic, but with a particular focus on ESG company engagement and companies with business models which are considered to be sustainable in terms of both the longevity and durability of their businesses and their environmental, social and governance behaviours.

Asset Managers

Advising asset managers on compliance with the Stewardship Code and the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

Highview Power

Advising Highview Power, a London-based cryogenic energy storage company, on a US$46 million investment by Sumitomo Heavy Industries. The investment enables Highview to diversify and expand its technology for the long-term global storage of renewable sources of energy and signifies SHI’s move into the clean energy storage market.

A large private company

Advising a large private company on its governance structure and best practice, in tandem with reporting accountants and auditors, producing a report for the Board together with recommendations.

CLSA Clean Resources Asia Growth Fund

Advising CLSA Clean Resources Asia Growth Fund, a cleantech focused fund, on its investment in Earth Water Group, a water treatment and solutions company in India and on its investment in PT Sari Wangi AEA, a leading manufacturer and exporter of tea and herbal products in Indonesia with a focus on sustainable plantation practices.

A private equity firm

Representing a private equity fund in its restructuring and sale of its shareholding in a water filtration and treatment equipment manufacturer to a Chinese listed company.

International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank

Representing the International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank in an investment in Bhutan in the sustainable agricultural sector.

Multilateral institutions

Advising on numerous private equity investments and investments for multilateral institutions where the asset manager or the multilateral institution had strict ESG requirements that the investee company had to meet, involving a due diligence review of requirement compliance, advice on remediation measures and establishing a contractual framework to ensure ongoing monitoring and compliance with requirements.