Sustainable business and investment

Companies and their shareholders, asset managers and institutional investors are increasingly looking to identify and address environmental, social and governance ("ESG") risks and opportunities in their operations and investments and drive positive ESG outcomes, as they face rising expectations from investors, governments, regulators, the media and interest groups, as well as other internal and external stakeholders. Indeed, there is growing consensus towards greater accountability and transparency across the corporate world and regulatory frameworks are moving in that direction.
  • Profile
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Our advisory, transactional and sector expertise in sustainable businesses and investments combined with our multi-disciplinary approach, ensures our clients are in the best position to navigate the evolving ESG and sustainability legal and regulatory landscape and achieve their long-term strategic aims.

Our team advises companies and their shareholders, investment funds and their managers, asset managers, institutional investors and other stakeholders on sustainable and responsible investment issues. Our depth of relevant expertise means we can offer advice at whatever stage they might be along the ESG and sustainable business path.

We act for asset managers who need to ensure that their investments meet the ESG criteria mandated by their investors and asset managers who are primarily focused on sustainable and impact investing.  Institutional investors are increasingly requiring asset managers to not only screen out investee companies that are engaged in businesses sectors that do not meet ESG benchmarks, but to also seek positive ESG outcomes in all businesses they invest in. There has also been an increase in the number of asset managers who focus on impact investing where ESG considerations significantly inform investment decisions.    

In the case of companies, such concerns are no longer confined to companies that are already listed or otherwise in the public eye. In the case of privately-owned businesses seeking a listing or sale, maximising value increasingly requires monitoring ESG performance during private (even as part of a portfolio) ownership in order to provide appropriate ESG narratives for disclosure in the prospectus or sale process.

From a corporate governance perspective, we advise on and provide bespoke training across a wide range of governance and stewardship matters, including directors’ duties, board and committee governance, group and subsidiary governance, appropriate corporate governance codes and frameworks, legal requirements for B Corp certification, the stewardship code and other disclosure obligations. Most importantly, we tailor our advice to reflect the sectors and industries in which our clients operate, ensuring that they remain in-step with comparable peers or continue to lead the way on relevant ESG and sustainability initiatives and general practices.

We understand the increasing importance of effective shareholder engagement and advise on AGMs and annual reporting obligations, as well as general meetings, shareholder circulars and resolutions and shareholder-related claims.

Home REIT Plc

Acting on the IPO of Home REIT Plc, a real estate investment trust dedicated to investing in a portfolio of homeless accommodation in the UK, targeting a wide range of subsectors within homelessness including women fleeing domestic violence, people leaving prison, individuals suffering from mental health or drug and alcohol issues and foster care leavers.

Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust Plc

Acting on the IPO of new investment company Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust Plc, a joint venture between Schroders and Big Society Capital, which aims to provide investors with access to high-impact investment solutions, aiming to help alleviate some of the country’s most pressing social challenges.

Mobius Investment Trust

Advising on the flotation of a newly-formed investment company, Mobius Investment Trust, to be managed by Mark Mobius and Carlos Hardenburg seeking to unlock value in investee companies by actively partnering with them through a governance-orientated approach, seeking to act as a catalyst for broader ESG improvements.

Schroder British Opportunities Trust plc

Advising Schroders in relation to the launch of new investment company Schroder British Opportunities Trust plc, which focusses on supporting British business during the pandemic, but with a particular focus on ESG company engagement and companies with business models which are considered to be sustainable in terms of both the longevity and durability of their businesses and their environmental, social and governance behaviours.

Asset managers

Advising asset managers on compliance with the Stewardship Code and the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

Highview Power

Advising Highview Power, a London-based cryogenic energy storage company, on a US$46 million investment by Sumitomo Heavy Industries. The investment enables Highview to diversify and expand its technology for the long-term global storage of renewable sources of energy and signifies SHI’s move into the clean energy storage market.

A large private company

Advising a large private company on its governance structure and best practice, in tandem with reporting accountants and auditors, producing a report for the Board together with recommendations.

CLSA Clean Resources Asia Growth Fund

Advising CLSA Clean Resources Asia Growth Fund, a cleantech focused fund, on its investment in Earth Water Group, a water treatment and solutions company in India and on its investment in PT Sari Wangi AEA, a leading manufacturer and exporter of tea and herbal products in Indonesia with a focus on sustainable plantation practices.

A private equity firm

Representing a private equity fund in its restructuring and sale of its shareholding in a water filtration and treatment equipment manufacturer to a Chinese listed company.

International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank

Representing the International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank in an investment in Bhutan in the sustainable agricultural sector.

Multilateral institutions

Advised on numerous private equity investments and investments for multilateral institutions where the asset manager or the multilateral institution had strict ESG requirements that the investee company had to meet, involving a due diligence review of requirement compliance, advice on remediation measures and establishing a contractual framework to ensure ongoing monitoring and compliance with requirements.

Structuring and commercial arrangements

Advising on structuring and commercial arrangements for a Singapore-based renewables company.

Ongoing ESG regulatory and compliance advice

Advising Vietnam Holding Limited (NVH) and its appointed funds manager Dynam Capital Limited on ongoing regulatory and compliance advice for the marketing of investment funds in Singapore, as well as a potential secondary offer of shares in VNH. VNH is a specialist investment company; incorporating environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors in its investment analysis and decision-making processes.

City Green Build Technology

Advising City Green Build Technology in its mandatory conditional cash offer for the issued and paid-up ordinary shares in the capital of SGX-ST Mainboard-listed Youyue International Limited.

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund plc

Acting on the oversubscribed fundraising for Gore Street Energy Storage Fund plc, London's first listed energy storage fund supporting the transition to low carbon power through its investments in a diversified portfolio of utility scale energy storage projects. Gore Street's portfolio has a capacity in excess of 320MW and it is LSE Green Economy Mark accredited.

Lawyer

George Cyriac Partner

T:  +65 6622 9692
M:  Email George | Vcard Office:  Jakarta, Singapore

Lawyer

David Dowding Partner

T:  +44 20 7809 2162
M:  +44 77 1242 9038 Email David | Vcard Office:  London

Lawyer

Alex Haynes Partner

T:  +44 20 7809 2003
M:  +44 7825 312 770 Email Alex | Vcard Office:  London

Lawyer

Tom Nicholls Partner

T:  +44 20 7809 2555
M:  +44 7843 517 965 Email Tom | Vcard Office:  London

Lawyer

William Saunders Head of funds and financial services

T:  +44 20 7809 2138
M:  +44 7770 721 429 Email William | Vcard Office:  London

Latest news & insights

27 Apr 2021

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Facing up to responsibility: Parent liability for overseas subsidiary actions in the English courts

In this article we focus on four key takeaway points from the decision and consider the question – is it now easier to sue a UK parent in the English courts for the ac..

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14 Jan 2021

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Toward a greener asset management future

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22 Dec 2020

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Stephenson Harwood advises Schroders on the launch of the UK's first social impact investment trust

​Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised UK asset manager Schroders on its launch of Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust plc, the UK's first social impact investment ..

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30 Nov 2020

From News

Stephenson Harwood advises Schroders on British Opportunities Trust launch

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised UK asset manager Schroders on the launch of its new £75 million investment trust, Schroders British Opportunities.

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09 Oct 2020

From News

Stephenson Harwood advises on largest fund IPO in 2020

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised Home REIT on its £240.5 million IPO on the London Stock Exchange, the biggest fund IPO of the year so far.

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29 Sep 2020

From News

Partner George Cyriac joins SVCA’s ESG committee

Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance partner George Cyriac has joined the environmental, social and governance (ESG) committee of the Singapore Venture Capital & Pr..

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12 Mar 2020

From Insights

Sustainability-linked loans and green loans in the real estate finance market

Given our experience of sustainability-linked finance and green loans, and in light of increased queries on the topic from a number of our lender clients, we thought i..

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© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2016. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP.