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. Visit our ESG hub
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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.

Latest news & insights

16 Mar 2023

From News

Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance advises on landmark US$1 billion syndicated social loan for State Bank of India

Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance has advised MUFG Bank and Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank on a US$1 billion syndicated social loan facility for State Bank of Indi..


03 Aug 2022

From Insights

Sustainability in yacht financing

The topic of sustainability is currently at the forefront of most conversations that are taking place within the shipping industry.


13 May 2022

From Insights

Hong Kong building a Greater China Carbon Market Gateway

Hong Kong is pursuing a ground-breaking plan to develop market structure and regulatory models for global investors to access mainland China's carbon markets.


11 May 2022

From Insights

Has the scope for ESG investments by pension schemes widened?

A recent case (Butler-Sloss and others v Charity Commission for England and Wales) has been handed down where the court has permitted the trustees of two charities to ..


10 May 2022

From Insights

What does the British Energy Security Strategy mean for new nuclear?

Nuclear power is currently an important part of the UK energy mix, representing around 16% of our electricity generation.


04 Mar 2022

From Insights

Seminar: The green-tech debate; how hydrogen and battery powered energy are driving a sustainable future

We were delighted to welcome over 80 attendees (both in person and online) for our hybrid event on Tuesday 1 March 2022, titled: 'The green-tech debate; how hydrogen a..


16 Feb 2022

From News

Stephenson Harwood advises Air France on its first sustainability-linked financing of a new Airbus A350-900 aircraft

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised Air France on the structuring and negotiation of the terms of its first sustainability-linked financing for its twelfth Air..


16 Feb 2022

From Insights

Deadlines looming for SFC ESG and climate-related requirements

The Securities and Futures Commission’s (SFC) enhanced disclosure guidelines for SFC-authorised unit and trusts and mutual funds that identify themselves as ESG funds ..


06 Dec 2021

From Insights

Is your company taking sufficient measures to address climate change risks from a corporate law perspective?

COP26 has contributed to the increasing focus on the role of companies in climate change. Climate change and extreme weather events have a direct impact on all economi..


03 Nov 2021

From Insights

Philanthropy and impact investing for climate – Trends in Hong Kong and Asia

Our global private wealth teams are seeing a growing demand for impact investing in the philanthropic sector, as wealthy family offices place greater value on sustaina..


02 Nov 2021

From Insights

Hong Kong enters into a climate friendly era for investment funds

We are seeing the introduction of climate-related disclosure regulation in some jurisdictions but implementation varies and global standardisation discussions are stil..


02 Nov 2021

From Insights

"You reap what you sow": The new philanthropy – impact investing and the rise of Singapore Family Offices

Elaine Beh, Suzanne Johnston and Yi Lee from our Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance private wealth team, highlight the push in Singapore in the impact investment ..


30 Jun 2021

From Insights

Encouraging modal shift by making the railway attractive to passengers

Caroline Hooton and Darren Fodey explore different techniques to help move people back onto the railway and away from their cars.


27 Apr 2021

From Insights

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..


14 Jan 2021

From Insights

Toward a greener asset management future

Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission ('SFC") is on the brink of introducing mandatory climate risk management and disclosure requirements for fund managers, a..


22 Dec 2020

From News

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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