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In today’s technology-driven and ever-accessible environment, organizations provide ESG and sustainability information in multiple ways. Information about ESG risks, objectives and performance reaches the public, whether through the public filing of required disclosures, a corporate sustainability report or a tweet written by an employee, exposing thus to scrutiny of greenwashing.
We assist our clients with independent investigations, as well as litigation and expert witness services, to respond to allegations of ESG greenwashing, failure to adequately disclose ESG and sustainability information, and discrepancies between financial reports, sustainability reports and other public disclosures of information. Any sustainability or ESG-related reporting or disclosure is fair game when it is not complete, accurate or timely, even in the absence of specific guidance from regulators. Providing decision-useful information that meets stakeholder expectations is a task made more difficult given the rapidly changing landscape of regulations, standards and practices.
Investigation and repair
- Support for denunciations, internal or regulatory investigations
- Managed eDiscovery and Document Examination that provides innovative identification, examination, and workflow solutions to produce defensible results
- Structured data analysis and visualization to analyze transaction datasets to identify patterns, trends and anomalies
- Forensic accounting including technical accounting and transaction testing
- Fact-finding interviews, whether informative, in custody or with guilty persons
- Identify gaps in internal controls that allowed issues to occur, including third party involvement
- Improvement or transformation of the compliance program, including post-investigation monitoring to “close the loop”
- Crisis communications to manage adverse public relations while emphasizing the organization’s core values
- Assist in responding to regulator comment letters
- Economic analysis for various purposes including quantum of loss, valuation and disparate impact
- Expert reports and testimonials
- Integrate third-party ESG rating data to stay on top of ESG scores and rankings
Greenwashing concerns are a trend, not a fad
- Reliability, relevance and comparability of reported information are increasingly important
- A broad stakeholder base cares about what organizations say about their sustainability agenda, ESG commitments and progress towards goals
- Regulators, like the SEC and its ESG-focused task force, monitor and research greenwashing independently of regulated reporting
- Employees are increasingly considering company values, sustainability and ESG commitments in their decisions about where they want to work
- Greenwashing is fertile ground for activist investors and short sellers looking to take or gain an advantage over an organization
ESG services and sustainable development
Our ESG and sustainability services allow clients to respond to an investigation or dispute and can be part of the resulting remediation processes.
ESG lifecycle data management technology and process improvement
Understand, document and improve existing technology, processes, procedures and systems to obtain the underlying data required for KPIs throughout the ESG data lifecycle.
Governance, internal audit and controls
Develop appropriate risk management policies, procedures and internal controls, including those aligned with the COSO ESG-ERM framework, to prepare relevant and reliable reports on ESG measures and progress.
Preparing for Disclosure and Reporting
Select and implement technology and develop strategies and processes to evolve global ESG-related reporting requirements under a variety of standards and frameworks (“soft laws”) and regulated disclosures (“hard laws”). Provide advice based on the changing landscape and avoid inconsistencies in public messaging that could lead to investigations and litigation.
Supply Chain Risk Management
Evaluate and deploy technology, including blockchain, and develop processes to address critical ESG-related supply chain risks and challenges our clients face today, such as carbon emissions, human trafficking and forced labour, corruption and bribery, and sanctions and export controls.
Investigative Due Diligence
Our business intelligence and due diligence services primarily focus on supplier risk assessment with an organization’s supply chain, or in the context of mergers and acquisitions, whether assess the ESG and sustainability program of an existing portfolio company or acquisition target.
Activism Advocacy Strategy
Proactive assessment and preventive monitoring to identify sustainability agenda and ESG-related vulnerabilities and plan a potential activism approach.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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