The spotlight falls on the deluge of new ESG regulations across the EU and worldwide in the latest episode of the Sustainable Edge podcast. Hosted by Joachim Nahem, Executive Chairman of Position Green, the series welcomes along Hugo-A. B. Munthe-Kaas, head of DLA Piper Norway‘s compliance and risk management group, for some engaging dialogue, exploring the complexities of ESG compliance and much more.
The discussion probes into the escalating emphasis on supply chain due diligence and the pivotal role of the EU in establishing a universal standard. Questions arise regarding the necessity of singular jurisdiction laws in Europe in light of the potential for overarching global standards.
Throughout the podcast, Munthe-Kaas highlighted the varying impacts of ESG across different sectors, companies, and jurisdictions. Noting how the sector has grown from an after thought to the centrepiece of many boardroom discussions in recent years
“If you go back a few years, it [ESG] was something that only some discussed and now it’s a topic that all boards and all companies everywhere talk about. So it’s all about these companies being exposed to new types of regulations and having to adapt to that,” he said.
This change in attitude has only made Munthe-Kaas’ job harder, as more companies are in need of specialised assistance. Throughout his role at DLA Piper Norway, he advises both Norwegian and multinational companies on issues related to international trade, economic sanctions, ESG, anti-corruption, AML, FDI and export control. Ultimately, this is a daunting task with the ever-growing litany of ESG-related legislation.
“One of the big things that we have had to look at in this period of change is how ESG is affecting our clients in a much broader way. It’s challenges the way in which we advise our clients. ESG is now changing from a voluntary space to something that’s mandatory. ESG-related topics are changing from specialised niche areas within a law firm to becoming important as everyone wants to talk about it,” he explained.
This growing urge to adhere that companies now have to better themselves in regard to ESG is not being quenched. In fact, it’s only just getting started. With this in mind, the future of ESG is only more pivotal for businesses to understand.
Munthe-Kaas was posed the question as to what incoming regulations he thought were going to have the biggest impact as we head toward 2024 and beyond.
He said, “I honestly think that the supply chain due diligence regulations are going to have the most impact – not only on Scandinavian companies – but internationally.
“We have the (Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive) CSDDD which requires companies to do their due diligence on their supply chain – and not just report on that – but also to mitigate the issues that you identify.”
The podcast touches upon numerous other ESG-related topics and issues, namely, should Europe opt for singular jurisdiction laws considering the possibility of universal global standards? And could ESG reporting lose its real-world impact, becoming merely a checkbox routine? If you wish to delve further into these debates listen in to the Sustainable Edge podcast.
You can find the full podcast here.
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