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Global Decisions, Regional Impacts - COP26 Insights and Implications for Business in Australia

First recorded on 14 December 2021

Fresh from presenting at the 12th Annual Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF) which took place alongside COP26 in Glasgow, Timothy Stutt, Partner and Australian ESG Lead will share his key takeaways from the conference, in discussion with Graham Phelan, ESG specialist from Frontier Economics, Rebecca Maslen-Stannage, HSF Chair and Senior Partner and Melanie Debenham, HSF Partner in our environment, planning and communities practice.

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ESG issues in the consumer sector: managing class action and regulatory risks

First recorded on 14 June 2021

Investors and consumers increasingly want to hear from consumer products companies concerning the environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts of their businesses. However, as more companies begin sharing the positive ESG stories behind their products in connection with sales of securities or consumer goods, there is a rising risk of regulator and class action litigation challenging whether those representations are true and not misleading.   

In this webinar, our practitioners from the key class action jurisdictions of the US, UK and Australia, share their perspectives on how consumer products companies can develop a robust approach to the opportunities presented by the increased interest in ESG, while minimizing the attendant risks of regulator and class action litigation.

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Sustainability in arbitration - reducing the environmental impact of our disputes

First recorded on 24 September 2020

Herbert Smith Freehills and the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations are delighted to invite you to attend our webinar on Sustainability in Arbitration. Environmental sustainability is not a new subject, but is one that is increasingly at the forefront of government and corporate strategy and headlining the papers, as grappling with climate change has become a global priority. Every industry is impacted, including arbitration, and every industry is able to reduce its carbon footprint.

Lucy Greenwood and members of the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations’ research on the emissions impact of a medium-sized arbitration revealed that just under 20,000 trees are required to offset the carbon emissions created by such an arbitration – the equivalent of four times the number of trees in Hyde Park.

In our webinar on Thursday 24 September 2020, 10 am BST we will offer views on the scope for change in the ways in which arbitrations are run from the perspective of clients, arbitrators, institutions and counsel, to help reduce the environmental footprint of arbitrations. In particular, we will discuss:

  • The drivers for environmental sustainability in arbitration;
  • Practical measures which can be taken to reduce the environmental footprint of arbitrations, including reconsidering the need for travel and minimizing material and electronic waste; and
  • Who might be responsible for driving this change.


Christopher Newmark, Arbitrator and Mediator, Spenser Underhill Newmark LLP, and member of the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations

Samantha Bakstad, Senior Legal Counsel, BP, and member of the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations

Kiran Sanghera, Business Development Deputy Director, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, and member of the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations

Maguelonne de Brugiere, Senior Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills, and member of the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations

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Construction masterclass 2020: the driving issues for the next decade: Session 1: Future Cities x South East Asia

First recorded on 11 November 2020

The shift to new urban developments in our Future Cities

Speakers: Craig Shepherd, Matthew White, Matthew Goerke, Nicholas Carney, and Anthony Ellis

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Construction masterclass 2020: the driving issues for the next decade: Session 2: Sustainability x Europe

First recorded on 19 November 2020

The growing importance of sustainable construction

Speakers: Craig Shepherd, Sarah Pollock, Tim Healey, Rebecca Major, and Andrew Blacoe

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Governance: ESG and corporate purpose

First recorded on 7 July 2020

The pandemic has naturally focused attention on health and safety, and human rights. In doing so, the ESG dialogue has in turn drawn ""S"" factors out from the shadow of the “E” and the “G”. It has also revealed the potential for business to reduce the scale of its environmental impact, and made us all more aware of the risks posed by “black swan” events and existential threats, such as climate change. 

In this webinar, we will share some perspectives on how businesses and investors can develop a robust approach to the ESG risks and opportunities presented by the pandemic in the short-term and in the months ahead, as we head into the recovery phase.

The webinar will draw on the wide-ranging experiences of our speakers. Herbert Smith Freehills corporate lawyer, Rebecca Perlman, will be joined by experts, including:

Philip Collins, Columnist at The Times and former chief speech writer to Tony Blair; and
Will Martindale, Director of Policy & Research at the UN Principles for Responsible Investment

In advance of the webinar, we would recommend reading this piece co-authored by Mr Collins with his colleagues at The Draft. The piece suggests that three key principles will emerge from the pandemic and underpin the recovery - cleaner growth, fairer growth, and caring growth. The piece also touches on some of the ways in which businesses can approach the question of corporate purpose.

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Food for thought - green recovery from covid-19 and the role of young professionals

First recorded on 4 September 2020

Over the past 6 months, countries, communities and businesses have grappled with the social and economic impact of Covid-19. 

As many parts of the world move into a phase of recovery, policymakers, stakeholders and the public recognise that there now exists a unique opportunity to build a more sustainable, socially just economy. Earlier this year, Herbert Smith Freehills joined more than 100 leading companies, charities and universities calling on the UK Government to ensure Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at the heart of the UK’s Covid-19 recovery plans.

On 4 August 2020, the Trainee Business Development Committee (""TBDC""), in conjunction with the Pro Bono team, hosted a webinar on Green recovery from Covid-19 and the role of young professionals. The webinar was chaired by Silke Goldberg, a leading Energy Partner at HSF, and joined by panellists Heather Rigby, Group Sustainability Advisor at Mott MacDonald, and Claire Herbert, Sustainable Investment Product Executive at Schroders Investment Management. The panel discussed the shape a sustainable recovery from Covid-19 could take for corporations and how young professionals could help their employers engage in sustainable practices in the workplace and beyond. 

For more information about this event, please contact Katie-Scarlett Wetherall or Georgios Zampas. For general TBDC queries, please contact the TBDC at [email protected]

Speakers: Silke Goldberg, Heather Rigby, Group Sustainability Advisor at Mott MacDonald and Claire Herbert, Sustainable Investment Product Executive at Schroders Investment Management.

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The changing relationship between environmental protections and bilateral investment treaties

First recorded on 7 February 2019

The relationship between environmental protections and bilateral investment treaties (BITs) is changing. Historically the protections offered by BITs have not been subject to any limitations in relation to social responsibility, sustainable development or the environment. Yet we are starting to see express provision for this in the newer generation of BITs. In addition, states are increasingly relying on environmental obligations as defences against claims by investors for breach of standards of protection, or to argue that the protections under those BITs are limited by a “right to regulate” in respect of the environment. We have also seen the first counterclaims by states against investors for alleged breaches of environmental law.

What does this shift in attitude and approach mean for investors and for states? In our webinar we discussed:

  • Recent developments in International Environmental law;
  • The evolution of environment-related considerations in BITs;
  • The treatment of the environment under new BITs;
  • Recent cases where states have raised defences grounded in environmental obligations;
  • A ""right to regulate"": weighing the protection of investors against the protection of the environment;
  • The possibility of counterclaims by states; and
  • How environment-related considerations may impact investor-state dispute resolution in the years to come.

If you would like to access the recording please contact us.