For the modern business, sustainability risks are increasingly material.
They shape brand image, operational integrity, political climate, regulatory compliance, litigation, contract disputes, government procurement, and access to capital. But a well-crafted sustainability program also offers opportunity. It enables smart companies to strengthen their brand, engage more effectively with regulators, and enhance shareholder value.
We understand the dynamics of sustainability-related corporate risk and opportunity.
In this fluid landscape, legalistic approaches can be counterproductive. Focusing narrowly on regulatory compliance or litigation risk can lead companies to ignore far more material brand risk and strategic business opportunities. We take a broader view to craft sustainability strategy and governance tailored to our clients’ operational footprint, key stakeholders, and competition—while always being mindful of legal imperatives.
A2 solutions are built on two pillars—impact and integrity.
Impact speaks to the ways in which a company contributes to society. It grounds a brand’s positive narrative. Integrity is ethical governance. It grounds a company’s resilience to risk. The two are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. We weave together impact and integrity to sculpt a compelling, coherent, and brand-tailored sustainability strategy.
- Due Diligence
- Crises & Disputes
- Disclosure & Reporting
- Legal Opinions
Strategy comes first
We design comprehensive sustainability strategy based on a careful assessment of our clients’ business ambitions, operational footprint, value chain, and competition. We also assess how the business model aligns with broader sustainability and sustainable development trends to suggest targeted and efficient impact opportunities. The strategy provides a tiered and practical roadmap to demonstrate impact and preserve long-term business integrity.
Sustainability is a governance discipline
Modern corporate responsibility expectations track those of corporate compliance programs more generally. They are built on a system of coherent policies and procedures. These same governance elements, however, can expose parent companies to additional liability if not properly calibrated. Overpromising creates litigation risk. Excessive parent control threatens the corporate veil. We help companies develop policies and governance structures—including effective grievance mechanisms—to address emerging challenges, meet stakeholder expectations, and chart existing and emerging legal risks.
Knowing is the battle
Due diligence is the cornerstone of sustainability governance. That due diligence must be structured to be effective and privileged to minimize risk. We conduct privileged due diligence and investigations to identify priority risks and manage material stakeholder concerns. Our services include global risk & opportunity assessments, human rights impact assessments, M&A due diligence, and targeted investigations.
Alleged sustainability failures increasingly shape global corporate disputes, brand crises, operational risks, and regulatory challenges. The risks are intimately linked and mutually reinforcing. Civil society campaigns can provoke community and political unrest. They can also feed into transnational litigation, shareholder lawsuits, international human rights proceedings, and quasi-regulatory disputes before bodies such as OECD National Contact Points. Those same proceedings can inflame brand challenges, operational risks, and investor concerns. Responding to these challenges demands a nuanced understanding of risk and creative dispute-handling to ensure that short-term success does not inspire long-term harm.
Sustainability reporting is increasingly mandated by legislation and expected by stakeholders, including investors, ratings agencies, and customers. An effective sustainability narrative can also be tailored to strengthen a corporate brand. Disclosure, however, can ground parent company and director & officer liability if not properly calibrated. Courts across jurisdictions have relied on public statements and sustainability reports to assess a parent company’s duty of care in foreign jurisdictions. We draw on our strategy assessment to help draft and review disclosure to craft a compelling narrative—one that addresses stakeholder concerns while meeting legal requirements and charting legal risk.
Expertise limits uncertainty
Sustainability-related legal risks are increasingly material. And they are evolving rapidly. But the contours of those risks remain uncertain. Guarding the future requires taming the uncertainty. Expert opinions on thorny issues—particularly regarding the content of international human rights and legal expectations—can limit or avoid the potential fall-out of future litigation. We help companies harness unknown risks with authoritative (and privileged) opinions on complex sustainability issues material to their business.
We tailor our advice to navigate the full array of business risks and opportunities: legal, brand, capital, and operational.
Our advice is built on a structured and precise understanding of law and voluntary standards to enable long-term resilience.
Our solutions are designed to drive practical and meaningful improvements in corporate policies and protocols.