Wednesday 4 September 2019

UK and Australia: Directors' duties and climate change - a speech by Lord Sales

Lord Sales, a justice of the UK Supreme Court, delivered a speech at the end of August in Australia titled "Directors’ duties and climate change: Keeping pace with environmental challenges": see here (pdf). With reference to laws in England and Australia, Lord Sales observed:
... the clear message to be taken away from this lecture is that company law in England and Australia alike is still undergoing a process of coming to terms with the new challenges raised by climate change and wider environmental issues ... There is a clear case for these company laws to be modified, by legislation, to provide a greater impetus to boards and individual directors to accord greater attention and weight to climate issues than has until now been considered appropriate.  That said, even as things stand, there is much force in the view that directors may and, increasingly, must take into account and accord significant weight to climate change in their decision-making. This is not least because a failure to act sustainably is more and more likely to have adverse financial impacts on companies who are, or are perceived to be, behind the curve on environmental issues"

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