概览

环境、社会及企业管治(ESG)正成为全球企业越来越重要的考量。与此同时,世界各地的ESG法规日益普及,投资者在这方面的期望与日俱增。在帮助世界各地的客户解决ESG相关问题方面,孖士打拥有骄人的往绩。

本所多元化的律师团队拥有丰富的经验和资源,可协助企业采取必要的策略,来增强其对社会责任型投资者的吸引力。我们明白,将ESG纳入公司业务规划可以创造价值,提高社会对其经营的认可度,以及减少企业的声誉风险。我们的团队由众多业务领域的律师组成,包括公司、环境、人权、诉讼、政府关系、金融服务、融资、贸易等业务领域,他们携手提供全面整合的法律服务,旨在解决各种ESG风险,抓住各类ESG机遇。

我们与全球客户合作,就新兴议题设计符合ESG要求的整体框架和应对策略,这些议题包括气候变化、全球人权合规、可持续性、多样性等。我们也经常就绿色债券、社会回购等可持续金融项目及其交易结构提供法律意见,还代表客户处理ESG相关诉讼。

环境事宜

20多年来,孖士打一直走在环境法律事务的最前沿,处理过一些堪称业界先例的案件。我们向金融机构和借款人就ESG问题提供法律服务,包括设计ESG管理系统、制备ESG行动计划、遵守相关的企业管治要求以及对交易进行环境尽职调查。

我们也经常就环境合规制度提供法律意见,涉及化学品、电池、废物、塑料、受污染的土地等事宜。

可持续金融与绿色债券

一方面提升经济的效率、繁荣度和竞争力,一方面为长期保护生态系统和增进社会福祉做贡献,这一理念与许多企业的长期目标不谋而合。与此同时,可持续金融为可持续发展领先企业提供了许多价值创造良机。

本所律师在替代能源领域经验丰富,包括代表发行人构建和执行绿色债券发行,从而为可再生能源项目提供资金,以及就排放交易提供法律服务。我们还向多家国际非政府机构和政府发展机构就其与联合国绿色气候基金签订的认证主协议提供法律意见。我们经常向借款人和贷款人就赤道原则以及亚洲开发银行、非洲开发银行等发展金融机构的环境要求提供咨询,并已开始就欧洲、美国和亚洲不断变化的披露要求提供法律服务。

凭借我们向金融机构和借款人就可持续金融问题提供咨询的丰富经验,本所具备了在这一关键领域提供战略建议和指导的实力。我们的经验包括建立ESG管理系统、制备ESG行动计划、完善和增强相关的企业管治要求、开展尽职调查,以及向借款人就众多全球发展融资银行和机构的要求提供法律意见。

孖士打是少数几家参与过众多行业同类首批绿色债券和绿色贷款交易的全球性律所之一,我们的团队了解美国、欧洲和中国的此类市场的细微差别。

我们的经验包括代表发行人设计和执行绿色债券发行方案,旨在为可再生能源项目筹资,就《京都议定书》下的碳信用制度提供建议,以及协助可再生能源和电动汽车公司进行股票发行,包括首次公开募股。

全球经济正转向低碳能源,这一趋势正好与对ESG议题的持续关注相吻合。传统能源仍在当今世界扮演着引擎角色,而新能源技术将引领我们走向未来。孖士打的能源税务律师兼顾新旧能源板块,为客户提供创新的投资结构和解决方案。我们的经验包括就太阳能、风能、碳捕集利用与封存、水力、地热、先进生物燃料、生物质能和其他可再生或清洁能源技术提供咨询和结构设计服务,以及与传统能源公司合作。孖士打的全球税务律师拥有所需的行业知识和经验,服务范围涵盖能源行业的所有板块。

环境法

我们的环境业务团队向面临诉讼和执法挑战、寻求实施监管合规计划或解决交易相关问题的客户提供创新的解决方案。我们提供覆盖全球的服务,经常代表客户处理世界各地的跨境争议和交易。不仅如此,我们的丰富经验也包括就美国各州级和联邦法院的重大案件提供诉讼服务以及卓越的上诉服务。

本所的环境业务将监管经验、行业知识和科学能力融为一炉,为客户妥善处理各类问题。从例行的技术合规挑战,到关乎公司生死存亡的危机,我们都能理解客户的产品和商业目标,向其提供无缝衔接的战略法律意见和成熟有效的讼辩服务。

我们领先的全球房地产业务擅长向客户就土地收购与开发、新社区准入、环境可持续性立法以及风险管理提供法律服务,涉及租赁或自有的房地产资产组合。我们还经常与本所的公司和证券以及建筑和工程业务团队紧密协作,共同处理关乎客户战略增长目标的房地产资产事宜,为孖士打各业务团队的价值和效率锦上添花。

气候变化

我们协助众多客户采取行动,以实现净零排放的目标。早在碳市场达到峰值之前的2000年代,本所的全球律师团队就开始积极参与该市场(包括自愿和受监管的市场)。自那以来,我们的律师参与了各类减排购买交易的文件工作,也就各种排放补偿的合规及购买策略提供法律意见。

本所律师还就私人直接购电协议提供法律服务,这种协议旨在倡导仅使用可再生能源的购电模式。我们的律师在林业减排领域经验丰富,也就日趋多元化的碳披露标准提供法律意见,其中包括气候相关财务信息披露工作组(TCFD)的标准。

社会事宜

我们向客户就人权报告和披露要求提供法律服务,包括协助处理其在现代奴隶制立法以及新兴强制性人权和环境尽职调查立法下的义务。我们的经验涵盖各类持份者,例如股东、投资者、员工、社区以及供应链中的顾客和供应商/主要成员。我们了解如何在供应链内管理人权问题。

我们也擅长向金融机构和开发银行等客户就其在诸多国际框架下的义务提供法律意见,这些框架包括《联合国企业与人权指导原则》、《经合组织负责任企业贷款和证券承销尽职调查指引》、《国际金融公司(IFC)绩效标准》等。我们协助客户处理各种道德、反腐败和人权问题,涉及公司交易、积极主动的新兴风险控制计划、合规项目,以及必要时就此类事宜开展的跨境调查、诉讼和上诉。我们还擅长就员工健康和安全以及对社会责任基金的雇员401(k)投资提供法律服务。

关于本所在企业与人权领域经验的详情,请参阅我们的企业与人权网页。

作为全球领先的证券化和结构性融资律所之一,我们具有独特的优势来向证券化和结构性工具融资市场的所有参与者提供最前沿的法律意见,而对社会融资行业来说,该市场将继续提供一个前景光明的资金来源。孖士打与援助贫困者咨询小组(CGAP)携手,帮助制定了一些主要的文件格式,用于设计和记录对小额信贷组织的私募股权投资。我们还就一些最成功的对小额信贷的私募股权投资提供法律服务,也曾就一些规模最大、最为复杂的结构性债务工具提供法律意见。

企业管治事宜

本所律师向公司客户就其在全球和地区范围内的企业管治要求提供咨询,涉及各种行为准则、交易所上市标准、法规和立法。

孖士打企业管治业务部由来自本所其他各业务部的资深律师组成,能够帮助上市公司和私人企业建立并维持全面的管治框架,包括针对关键的可持续性和环境优先议题的管治框架。借助这种框架,公司的董事和高管可以在日益复杂和互联的全球环境中更有效地领导企业发展。在这方面,我们定期向公司客户提供有关ESG问题的法律服务,包括协助开发和实施ESG管理系统,制备ESG行动计划,以及就相关的企业管治要求提供建议。

在需要时,我们的服务范围还扩展至向公司高管就如何遵守个人问责规则和管理维权投资者提供法律服务,包括:协助客户处理企业管治中的社会事宜,例如董事会的多元化;起草和审查与企业管治有关的政策;与监管机构联络;协助进行公司法或监管法律所要求的报备工作等。

ESG Snapshot: COVID-19
ESG Snapshot: Q1 2020
ESG Snapshot: Q4 2019

执业经验

Environmental

Social

Governance

 

Environmental Experience

Environmental Regulatory

  • Advising a foreign embassy to the EU on the content, practical implementation and expected implications of the EU Plastics Strategy and related measures.
  • Successfully represented 14 major industry groups in challenging the legality of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 regulation defining “the waters of the United States” within the meaning of the Clean Water Act (CWA). We served as lead counsel and obtained certiorari over the United States’ opposition and prevailed 9-0 on the merits of the issue of where challenges to EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” rule may be litigated.
  • Advised a leading financial information services, news and media company on issues arising out of carbon emissions trading, legal framework, implementation models and development of climate exchanges in China and also on issues arising out of PRC environmental rules and regulations including China RoHS and WEEE directives.
  • Advising multiple clients in the acquisition of brownfield project sites, evaluating the nature and extent of any possible contamination, estimating the cost of remediation and defining the potential return if remediated. Where projects proceed, we coordinate with landlords, tenants, developers, environmental consultants, lenders, insurance providers, regulatory agencies and other legal counsel to create a legal strategy that provides the greatest return and protection.

Safeguarding the Environment

  • Advising one of the world’s leading apparel brands on the proposed establishment of a joint venture in Asia. The JV partner was a well-known worldwide organization that helps collect waste plastics and process them into environmentally friendly products that can be used for clothing. One of the key purposes of the JV was to establish suitable controls over collection practices.
  • Assisting a multinational Australian-based mining conglomerate in understanding and addressing the exposure of its directors, officers and members of relevant committees to potential environmental liabilities in cases of environmental incidents. This included the planning and development of ESG directives to better address environmental liability risks.
  • Assisted the company in charge of the largest Brazilian hydroelectric power plant in assessing the status of implementation and recommended adjustments to several projects for managing socio-environmental impacts caused by the plant’s reservoir operation.

Climate Change

  • Advising on a range of Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreements (ERPAs) in respect of CDM and JI projects under the Kyoto Protocol, including in respect of CDM Programs of Activities, advance payment mechanisms, standard switching language and option provisions.
  • Advising on a broad array of renewable energy financing transactions, green loans and green bond issues of the type that can form part of a company's carbon reduction strategy.
  • Representing an industry trade organization in investigating, evaluating and responding to climate change litigation.
  • Advising a global organization on the implementation of benchmarking under the EU ETS Directive, including providing legal opinions and engaging in detailed discussions with the European Commission.
  • Advising a Brazil-headquartered global mining company on PRC regulatory and policy developments on climate change, emission reduction and renewable energy.
  • Representing a diversified chemicals manufacturer in efforts to develop climate change legislation. Our work in this area has included activity on both comprehensive and focused initiatives.
  • Representing a US-based fund in the formation of a fund-of-funds that invests in private equity funds that adhere to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For this client, we also reviewed the fund documentation and policies and practices of the target funds to assess compliance with the UN goals.

Land and Community Rights

Enhancing rural development and livelihoods is another important element of environmental management. Mayer Brown lawyers have been active in sustainability initiatives involving rural development, environmental protection and supply chain management, including by:

  • Assisting a major Brazilian sugarcane and biofuels company with several ESG challenges pertaining to its operations, including as to the legal implications of moving to 100 percent mechanized sugarcane harvesting, eliminating the use of fire and manual labor.
  • Counseling a Brazilian client in dealing with environmental and social consequences of a major fire in one of its fuel distribution plants, which impacted nearby communities and entailed settlement negotiations with several stakeholders (public prosecutors, environmental agencies and residents’ associations).
  • Advising a client on the land, environmental, town planning and construction aspects of a pilot co-combustion plant project involving the incineration of waste and the recycling of the end product into building materials in Hong Kong.

Green Bonds

  • Assisted Georgia Renewable Power in the $525 million of term project financing arranged by AMP Capital for GRP's 2 (60 MW each) biomass power plants in Franklin and Madison, GA. The financing was certified as a green loan by Kestrel Verifiers.
  • Acted as lenders’ counsel in connection with the closure of the first US sustainable use-of-proceeds syndicated subscription finance facility for the KKR Global Impact Fund. Standard Chartered Bank acted as sustainability coordinator and co-lead arranger, and Morgan Stanley acted as administrative agent and co-lead arranger.
  • Represented the underwriters in a public offering of $500 million 2.45 percent senior notes due 2026 and issued by Starbucks Corporation. This transaction marked the first-ever US corporate sustainability bond, which raises capital for projects with a mix of social and environmental benefits.
  • Represented Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) on a $1.2 billion offering of green bonds led by CIBC World Markets Inc. and RBC. This is the first green bond sold by a pension fund globally. This transaction was a record size for a single green bond transaction in Canada according to Bloomberg data. Sold via the CPPIB Capital Inc. unit, the 10-year bonds were sold at a spread of 71 basis points over similar-maturity federal government bonds and offer a 3 percent coupon.
  • Represented Citigroup, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley as underwriters in a public offering of $1.75 billion in auto loan-backed notes issued by the Toyota Auto Receivables 2014-A Owner Trust. This transaction marks the first-ever green bond in the auto finance market, and the proceeds of the offering will be used to finance new Toyota and Lexus gas-electric hybrid or alternative fuel powertrain vehicles that meet certain green standards.
  • Represented the investors in connection with the issuance of an investment grade bond of $64.75 million to refinance debt for the 50 MW La Jacinta solar park in Uruguay.
  • Represented Morgan Stanley and MUFG as underwriters in a public offering of ¥85 billion 0.372% senior notes due 2024 and issued by Starbucks Corporation. This transaction marked the first-ever sustainability bond issued in the domestic Japanese market.
  • Represented the noteholders on the private placement of approximately $135.8 million in green bonds, investment-grade rated project bonds issued to partially re-finance the 70 MW Campo Palomas wind energy project in Uruguay. This deal was named “Project Finance Deal of the Year” by Bonds & Loans in 2017.
  • Advised Unicredit Bank AG and other banks on the issuance of a £500 million Green Mortgage Pfandbriefe by Berlin Hyp AG under its debt issuance program.

 

Social Experience

We advise on a wide range of matters relating to business and human rights. (For more on our experience in this area, see our Business & Human Rights page.) In addition, we have:

  • Represented Vakifbank on its issue of €750,000,000 of Sustainability Notes, the first-ever offering of a sustainability bond by a Turkish commercial bank, advising the client on its Use of Proceeds (UoP) disclosure for its prospectus and marketing materials, ESG-related investor due diligence, ESG related representations and warranties for the subscription agreement and listing on Euronext Dublin’s Green Bond Segment.  The net proceeds of the issue of the Sustainability Notes are to be applied by Vakifbank for green and / or social projects. 
  • Represented Novartis AG on an offering of €1.85 billion sustainability-linked bonds by Novartis Finance S.A., guaranteed by Novartis AG. The €1,850,000,000 0.000% Sustainability-Linked Notes due 2028 were listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and were the first-ever sustainability-linked bonds in the healthcare sector, the first-ever sustainability-linked bonds incorporating “social” targets, with bondholders entitled to receive a higher amount of interest if Novartis fails to meet its targets for expanding access to its innovative medicines and addressing key global health challenges, as well as only the second-ever sustainability-linked bond since the publication by the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA) of its Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles in June 2020. 
  • Advised LeapFrog Investments, a leading social impact investor focusing on Asia and Africa, in connection with its investment in Series B Preferred Shares of PT PasarPolis Indonesia, one of Indonesia’s first and leading insurtech companies. This was one of the top 10 insurtech transactions globally in 2020 (Insurtech Report).
  • Advised a leading international development finance institution with respect to its investment in a financial institution based in Thailand operating in the high-growth segments of microfinance and micro-SME loans and providing financial services to small businesses, traders and other self-employed individuals who have historically had limited access to bank loans.
  • Advised FMO (the Dutch development bank), Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) and Dragon Capital Group on the auction process and strategic sale of their collective 67 percent shareholdings in PRASAC Microfinance Institution, Cambodia's largest microfinance institution, with more than US$1.3 billion in assets. The transaction closed in March 2017 and was recognized as being one of the most innovative transactions in 2017.
  • Advised clients on using AI legally and ethically. We have advised and provided training sessions on the potential use cases for AI in their organizations, the broader international legislative and policy landscape on the use of AI, the challenges and key issues that typically have to be addressed to ensure the legal and ethical use of AI and the steps to take and the controls to put in place to address these issues.
  • Advised a major Norwegian mining company in navigating ESG issues connected with its operations in Brazil, involving negotiations with “quilombolas” (slaves’ descendants) and other stakeholders (public prosecutors, environmental and regulatory agencies). The negotiations seek to put an end to disputes with and among the quilombolas so that such disputes do not jeopardize the renewal of client’s environmental licenses (social licensing).
  • Assisted a multinational Brazilian-based meat-processing conglomerate in improving and implementing ESG guidelines focused on preventing the acquisition of cattle from noncompliant suppliers (deforestation, human rights protection).
  • Represented FMO on its divestment from a Sri Lankan microcredit institution.
  • Advised FMO as international counsel on bilateral and syndicated financings to microcredit institutions in Vietnam, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.
  • Represented Partech International in its investment in EcoVadis SAS, a leading platform that helps companies monitor suppliers' environmental, social and ethical practices across global supply chains.

Governance Experience

  • Advising leading global insurers on ESG-related exposures of their financial institution policyholders.
  • Counseling companies on directors’ duties required under various exchange listing standards, as well as the development of open forums for shareholders to discuss ESG values—including the social aspects of their corporate governance, such as diversity in boards.
  • Counselling both public and private companies to establish and maintain a comprehensive governance framework, including as to key sustainability and environmental priorities.
  • Supporting the development of investor relations strategies and shareholder communications and outreach activities.
  • Advising company boards of directors and management with respect to addressing ESG-related shareholder proposals, shareholder engagement efforts, proxy advisory firm recommendations, institutional investor issues related to ESG matters, and ESG disclosure requirements and trends.