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van Berings had the pleasure to attend the Pre Conference to Climate Law & Governance Day 2021 during COP26

Cambridge, Oct. 29-30 – Pre Conference to Climate Law & Governance Day 2021 during COP26

We had the pleasure to attend the Climate Law and Public Policy Conference preparatory to Climate Law & Governance Day 2021 during COP26, hosted by the University of Cambridge on October 29-30.

The conference ranged from international public law to corporate regulation and financial law, and it was an excellent opportunity to engage with worldwide-recognized experts of climate law and sustainability, as well as to hear some very inspiring interventions through all different panels.

In particular, during the panel co-hosted with the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance, some meaningful considerations on the role of law and commercial lawyers in climate change mitigation came up. In fact, a core topic of the entire conference has been the role law and lawyers should have in the challenge human beings are facing against climate change. It was highlighted how all players – both at international and domestic level – should leverage the role of law, in order to accomplish the goals set by the Paris Agreement, as well as pursue the SDGs and bring the world to a sustainable path. In this respect, the role of law is fundamental: since existing regulations have failed to prevent environmental harms, new specific rules should be implemented, in order to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and actual human behaviour.

Alongside the law, the role of lawyers gains crucial relevance, and in particular that of commercial lawyers. In fact, to achieve actual results on climate change mitigation and – in general – sustainability, a lot will depend on the integration of sustainability-related goals in commercial transactions, through different legal instruments, such as green contracts, esg-linked financial instruments, green companies' structures, etc. Climate change and sustainability-related issues should be addressed also through company law. From a commercial perspective, bringing together the pursuing of a successful business with sustainability-related goals appears to be the most difficult challenge. In order to do that, it would be necessary to intervene in corporate governance law.

Recently, some regulations imposing disclosure duties concerning climate-related financial risks have been implemented, but these proved to be not sufficient, as for many companies they do not lead to practical consequences. In order to strengthen the relationship between businesses and sustainability, and achieve actual results, it would be necessary to embed environmental and social factors in the companies' corporate governance structure, by creating and spreading a culture on sustainability, fostering the stakeholders' engagement in the decision-making process, and perhaps implementing a rewards-based system. All of that, by applying a one-size-not-fit-all approach, implementing different solutions for different regions and sectors.

As the COP26 has officially started in Glasgow, we are thrilled to see how these topics will be addressed at international level and look forward to participating at the forthcoming Climate Law & Governance Day on November 5.

DISCLAIMER: the content of this news is for informational purposes only and neither represents, nor can be construed as a legal opinion