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ESG is a framework through which we as trusted legal advisors can consider a business’s impact on the environment, society and how transparent and accountable they are. For many years, there has been increasing awareness of our environment and climate change on the business agenda. ESG provides a method of holistic thinking which can make businesses cleaner, greener and more profitable.
ESG measures how a business integrates environmental, social and governance practices into its operations. The three strands of ESG are:
Environmental issues in ESG concern looking within an organisation and implementing more sustainable and environmentally conscious practices. These can be as simple as putting up “Remember to switch off the lights” posters to save energy or using legal tech and eDiscovery to minimise the use of paper.
Social issues in ESG concern how a business impacts wider society, how it interacts with internal and external stakeholders and the kind of workplace culture that it fosters. Legal tech creates opportunities which underpin our social values: enabling hybrid working, providing a range of secure collaborative working tools and training and development opportunities for lawyers in new, in demand skills. eDiscovery, by its nature, sometimes highlights ESG opportunities as the material reviewed can sometimes show areas for improvement within an organisation.
Lastly, ESG also looks at a business’s professional decision-making, reporting and the logistics of operations the company. In particular, it considers the level of transparency and accountability of the business leaders with the shareholders.
Our Legal Technology Group incorporates ESG in our work for our Northern Ireland clients and the GB and Irish law firms for whom we act through our use of legal technology.
We believe legal technology furthers ESG by;
Lowering costs and consumption of raw materials. Greater use of legal technology enables businesses to reduce waste and enhance good governance practices. For example, adopting legal tech can allow a business to streamline and automate processes for more accurate results, saving a business considerable time and money.
Enhancing company brand and reputation. Incorporating ESG practices will help boost a company’s reputation as it demonstrates that it is committed to ESG principles and conscious of its environmental impact and social issues.
Attracting new investors. An ESG strategy provides businesses with the opportunity of gaining investor confidence, enhancing brand value, increasing stakeholder loyalty, as well as reducing operating costs, thereby boosting financial performance. These are all factors which investors will be keen to see.
Our ESG hub at Cleaver Fulton Rankin provides clients access to leading legal expertise and market knowledge which enables businesses to capitalise on the benefits of the ESG agenda. Cleaver Fulton Rankin provide experts with a wealth of specialist knowledge, experienced in advising businesses in all sectors and of all sizes.
Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s Legal Technology Group offers our ESG conscious clients tech-based solutions to managing litigation discovery reviews, managing Data Subject Access Requests and contract management. Our Legal Technology Group uses a range of innovative software to offer our clients services that include paperless document review, digital contracts and e-signature services. This means we offer clients a less resource-intensive, faster and cheaper solution to traditional manual discovery. Utilising legal tech resources to achieve ESG goals is an opportunity to re-imagine all aspects of your business and can offer significant, long-term benefits.
This article has been produced for general information purposes, and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. For advice or information, please contact the Legal Technology team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin.
This article was co-authored by Trainee Solicitor, Laura Armstrong.