Eye on ESG is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day, a global celebration and platform to showcase women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements and to promote equity.

Today, Mayer Brown and many other organizations around the world are standing together and choosing to challenge—to acknowledge the proactive role that employers have to play in

With the surge of climate and stakeholder litigation all over the globe–comprising climate, supply chain and human rights issues–not only should governments be concerned, but mainly the private sector. It is not new that, in addition to creating stakeholder engagement and pushing forward public policies, ESG concerns pose significant reputational and financial risks, particularly to corporations. This is not only true for those companies dedicated to carbon-intensive activities or exposed to supply chain liabilities, but also to financial institutions enabling the development and expansion of such activities.

This is a particularly relevant matter in Brazil, which already relies on a well-established legal and case law framework capable of supporting sanctions and prosecution against corporations and financial institutions deemed liable in connection with environmental degradation.

In this Blog Post, we discuss the existing legal framework in Brazil with respect to environmental degradation, and how that framework might apply to the broader range of ESG issues, from climate to supply chain and human rights liability.


Continue Reading Climate and Stakeholder Litigation: Why Does It Matter to Companies Operating In Brazil?

On March 3, 2021, the German government adopted a draft bill which obliges companies to ensure that human rights are observed throughout their entire supply chain. The aim of the “draft legislation on corporate due diligence in supply chains” (“Draft Bill”) (“Sorgfaltspflichtengesetz”) is to require companies to take steps to prevent human rights violations in their supply chains. This builds on the growing momentum for mandatory human rights due diligence (see our previous Blog Post).

Under the Draft Bill:

  • companies must ensure that human rights are being respected throughout their entire supply chain;
  • companies must establish complaint mechanisms and report on their due diligence activities;
  • companies with more than 3,000 employees must meet their due diligence obligations as of January 1, 2023 (and companies with more than 1,000 employees as of 2024);
  • violations of the obligations set forth in the Draft Bill will be sanctioned with fines, which can amount to up to 2% of the average annual turnover for large companies with more than 400 million euros annual turnover.


Continue Reading Business and Human Rights – Germany Adopts Draft Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence Law

The UK Supreme Court has handed down its judgment in the case of Okpabi and others v Royal Dutch Shell Plc and another.  Although the judgment made no substantive findings on the facts of the dispute, the Supreme Court’s decision raised important issues with regard to the circumstances in which a parent company will be held liable for the actions of its subsidiary – including in relation to ESG-related harms, such as environmental damage.

Continue Reading UK Supreme Court Clarifies Parent Company Liability for ESG-Related Harms Caused by Foreign Subsidiaries

How will EU Member States enforce the new EU mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence laws? What disclosure will be expected of companies and what steps will be deemed adequate?

Shift, the highly influential centre of expertise on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, has released a discussion draft seeking to inform the development and enforcement of these new laws. The draft provides valuable insight into the criteria that national regulators could use in assessing the quality of a company’s diligence practices by proposing six “signals of seriousness” for human rights due diligence:

  1. Governance of Human Rights;
  2. Meaningful engagement with affected stakeholders;
  3. Risk identification and prioritisation;
  4. Taking action on identified risks;
  5. Monitoring and evaluating progress in addressing risks; and
  6. Providing and enabling remedy.

How many companies can confidently assert that they currently exhibit these six signals? We highlight Shift’s helpful criteria in this Blog Post.


Continue Reading Human Rights Due Diligence: Six Signals of Seriousness

Companies are increasingly exploring how they can introduce third party expert input in order to promote constructive exchange on ESG issues, including human rights.

Third party experts can help companies better understand different perspectives, address conflicting goals and better integrate human rights into their policies, corporate strategy, risk management and reporting. As investors continue to

The NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business published a report in January 2021 finding that US corporate Boards suffer from inadequate expertise in financially material ESG matters such as human rights.

In a survey of 1,188 Fortune 100 Board directors, only 18 (or 1.5%) had any experience or credentials relating to human rights. Findings amongst Board directors outside the US are unlikely to be very different. The Stern report found limited expertise across the full range of ESG risks (beyond human rights to climate change, water scarcity, pollution, #metoo, #blacklivesmatter, employee diversity, cybersecurity and bribery and corruption) and questioned whether “today’s Boards [are] fit for today’s challenges and opportunities“.

In this Blog Post, we discuss what Boards should do to address this capacity deficit.


Continue Reading Business and Human Rights – Are Boards Equipped to Address Emerging Risks?

On February 10, 2021, the primary global loan market trade associations—the Loan Syndication and Trading Association (LSTA), the Loan Market Association and the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association—released updated Green Loan Principles (GLP) and related Guidance.

The changes include a requirement that borrowers identify and manage potentially material social risks

The European Commission has committed to tabling an EU-wide human rights due diligence law by June 2021.

There are strong indications that the proposed law will have a wide scope (with the potential to apply to non-EU domiciled companies) and contain sanctions for non-compliance.

But what is human rights due diligence, and how can companies prepare for the proposed EU law?


Continue Reading The EU’s Proposed Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence Law – What You Need to Know

All companies have a responsibility to respect human rights. They may impact human rights in several ways through their business operations and supply chains, their community interactions and the marketing and use of their products and services. Respecting human rights is an inherent part of good practice. We expect companies to integrate human rights into their policies, corporate strategy, risk management and reporting.”

So says Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, in its Human Rights Expectations Document. The Expectations Document is primarily aimed at company boards and a helpful a starting point for their interactions with companies on human rights.

In this Blog Post, we investigate what it means for boards to integrate human rights into policies, corporate strategy, risk management and reporting in a practical way that resonates with investors.


Continue Reading Business and Human Rights – What Do Investors Expect of Boards?