ESG Risk, Strategy & Governance – What’s New?

It is becoming increasingly important that Boards, their executives and officers understand, develop and play a critical role in how an organisation governs its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues – an area which is continually evolving. 

Recent cases have shown that it is no longer enough for company directors and officers, including GMs, Risk Managers and Legal & Compliance officers, to do what is required by law – there is a whole raft of new expectations from customers, shareholders, financiers, staff and suppliers and these ones are not written down. Worse, failure to comply could have dramatic consequences. 

So how do companies comply? How do boards and the C-suite address their ESG risk? 

Recording available
Recorded in 2022


Hosted by Felix Chief Executive Officer Mike Davis with guest speakers from Sparke Helmore, this session will cover: 

ESG activism 

  • Overview of shareholder activism for ESG-oriented policies, disclosures and considerations 
  • Recent examples of shareholder activists e.g. Grok Ventures acquiring an interest in AGL to oppose AGL’s merger, actions against companies and directors re greenwashing and climate related misrepresentations  
  • Powers of shareholders under Corporations Act to oppose or modify transactions or operations, including removing a director

Directors’ duties 

  • Overview of statutory and fiduciary duties of directors and officers relevant to ESG i.e. duty to act in best interests of company, to act with due care, skill and diligence  
  • Roles of the board and management in addressing ESG, including developing an ESG strategy, establishing governance and oversight and ESG management review  

Modern slavery 

  • Recent developments related to supply chain mapping etc. 
  • Indication that the Government is considering amending the Act in the future to introduce penalties for non-compliance etc. 
  • Compare with other jurisdictions 

Construction/infrastructure specifics  

  • Health and Safety - zero harm is one thing, but how else is the rise of ESG going impact your construction/infrastructure business? 
  • Risk and innovation – evolution of the industry at all levels is necessary if we want to make the most of ESG opportunities and avoid the pitfalls
  • Money – ESG could be the disease and the cure at the same time; what are principals, financiers and investors looking for?  

What next?  

  • ASIC’s new focus – regulators have been clear, they will pursue those engaging in “greenwashing”; what are the implications for the rest of us?  
  • Change your mindset – the starting point for surviving and thriving in this ESG evolution 
  • Tips for the Top! 

About the speakers

VIEW LINKEDIN Suzy Cairney Partner | Sparke Helmore

Suzy is a projects and commercial lawyer with particular experience in project development and operational contracts in the ports, water, civil and commercial construction and resources sectors. She has experience both in Australia and overseas, and has advised government clients, principals, developers, contractors and operators on a wide range of major infrastructure projects. 

Suzy has previously worked in-house as a European Counsel for an international port operator in Belgium, as Corporate Counsel for a Queensland water GOC and as in-house counsel on the feasibility stage of a major new coal project for an international miner. Known for her practical common-sense approach and commerciality, Suzy understands the drivers behind getting the deal done. 

VIEW LINKEDIN Sally Weatherstone Partner | Sparke Helmore

Sally is the National Service Line Leader of the firm’s Corporate Advisory and M&A team. She is recognised as a leading legal practitioner in the Asia Pacific market and has been listed as a recommended Corporate Advisory and M&A lawyer in the APL Legal 500 directory.  

Sally provides a broad range of corporate/commercial advice to listed and private companies. During her career, Sally has gained broad experience in advising on Corporations Act issues, public and private M&A transactions, equity capital raisings (including dual and secondary listings on foreign exchanges) and advising on foreign investment regulations. 

Sally also has extensive experience advising on broad ranging commercial contracts, tendering, purchasing and procurement as well as providing advice on corporate governance and directors’ duties. 

Amongst her client base Sally is highly regarded and has been described as "a very cool-headed, dependable and responsive" lawyer with a comprehensive command of legislative detail". 


Want a deep dive into ESG?

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