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Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)

Environmental, Social and Governance
Environmental, Social and Governance
Expertise / Practices / Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)

Blakes is a full-service Canadian law firm, providing specialized legal advice and unparalleled industry-sector experience. We provide strategic advice on business opportunities, regulatory compliance and risk management by considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in commercial operations, financing, sustainable investment transactions and dispute resolution.

Our multidisciplinary team works alongside:

  • Corporate clients who are focusing on ESG and sustainability to meet corporate governance and investor standards;

  • Investors on investment fund structures, investment transactions and portfolio company management.
  • ​Financial institutions on structuring sustainable finance transactions.

We incorporate Canadian legal developments, industry trends and data analytics to benefit our clients who are focused on ESG issues including:

Environmental Social Governance
  • Advising on transactional due diligence, sustainable financing and investments.

  • Advising on strategies geared towards managing carbon footprints including greenhouse gas emission requirements, climate change strategies, and measurement.

  • Advising clients on disclosure related to the environment to help ensure they meet legal requirements and investor expectations/best practices. 

  • Working directly with clients to avoid or mitigate the risks of environmental liabilities associated to ongoing operations.

  • Advising on the management of supply chain agreements, values and risk.

  • Promoting diversity and advising on employee relations, workplace health and safety and employee satisfaction.

  • Partnering with clients to create positive community impact, engagement and participation.

  • Advising on Indigenous rights and issues, including community consultation and engagement, joint venture negotiation, project support and impact benefit agreements. 

  • Managing legal requirements and best practices to ESG related regulatory requirements, reporting and disclosure

  • Advising boards on ESG matters, executive compensation, accountability, investigations and overall governance.

  • Advising boards and management on decisions that support organizational objectives, shareholder interests, activism and organizational sustainability.



ESG@Blakes

Sustainability
Diversity & Inclusion
Social Responsibility
Pro Bono
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Recent Experience

Our ESG lawyers advise clients on the following:
 
Sustainable Financing and Investments

  • Advised Suncor on its investment in Enerken Inc., a Canadian biofuel technology company.

  • Advised the dealers in connection with the establishment of Ontario Power Generation Inc.’s C$2-billion medium term note program, including the inaugural C$450-million offering of Green Bonds. This was the first of its kind financing in the Canadian energy sector.

  • Advised a syndicate of agents in connection with Ontario Power Generation Inc.’s C$500 million green bond offering of 4.248% Medium-Term Notes due January 18, 2049 (Series 3).

  • Advised Desjardins Group in the establishment of Aequitas, a C$50-million private investment fund focused on impact finance aiming to promote gender equality, combat climate change and contribute to achieving other sustainable development goals.

  • Advised InvestEco Sustainable Food Fund II, L.P. on its investment in Mama Earth Organics Inc. and its subsequent acquisition of Organic Food Delivery Corp.

  • Advised several financial institutions of the financing and developers on the development of large renewable energy projects using a project finance structure.

  • Advised McCain in connection with unique strategic investment in, and commercial agreements with TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture, an innovator and operator in the vertical farming space.

  • Advised a leading development finance institution for the equity investment in Africa Health Fund, a fund with a fund size of US$105 million that seeks to develop small and medium sized enterprises in health and related services and industries with important impact on women’s health.

  • Advised Natural Products Canada on two of their investments in social enterprises in Quebec in the natural products markets.

 
Social Responsibility & Diversity

  • Advised TREC Brands, the premier brand house in Canadian cannabis with a corporate social responsibility focus, in connection with its formation transaction by way of the merger of Blissed Media and Wink Cannabis.

  • Assisted energy sector clients with the development of voluntary corporate policies regarding Indigenous engagement, human rights and business practices, and security and privacy protocols.

  • Delivered executive-level and government training courses on Canadian corporate social responsibility law and advised companies on the development and implementation of CSR strategies, policies, procedures, and disclosure as well as compliance with emerging legal and regulatory requirements, and investor expectations.

Corporate Governance

  • Advised Canadian and international companies on issues relating to international tax strategy, executive compensation, stakeholder engagement, cybersecurity, privacy and overall risk management.

  • Advised Canadian and international clients on ESG compliance programs in areas such as anti-bribery and anti-corruption, including internal investigations whistleblowers and disclosure obligations.

  • Advised Canadian and international clients on shareholder communications, disclosure requirements and best practices, public relations and reputation risk management.

  • Advised pension funds and other institutional investors on the significance to their fiduciary investment decision making of decisions made by investee companies that support organizational objectives, shareholder interests, activism and organizational sustainability.

  • Advised clients on the legal implications of public communications of all kinds. This includes matters related to sealing and confidentiality orders, social media, privacy and crisis communications.

  • Appointed as compliance monitor for SNC-Lavalin pursuant to the probation order imposed by the Quebec Court as part of its sentencing on charges of fraud in Libya.

  • Acted as counsel to the board of directors during the investigation of Canada’s largest CFPOA case to date. 

  • Acted as legal counsel to two law firms in connection with a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Operations and Financial Integrity Federal Serious and Organized Crime section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

  • Conducted an internal investigation for a large public company triggered by an inquiry from the Québec anti-corruption police (UPAC).

  
Environmental and Climate Change

  • Advised Canadian and international clients on environmental considerations in transactional due diligence on issues involving contaminated lands, waste management, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, resource management, wildlife management and other environmental risks.

  • Advised Canadian and international clients on GHG emission requirements and climate change strategies, measurement, and disclosure related to legal requirements and investor expectations.

  • Advised pension funds and other institutional investors on the application and consideration in  their fiduciary investment decision making of ESG related transactional due diligence, sustainable financing and investments.

  • Assisted The Ocean Cleanup to help navigate the Canada/B.C. regulatory requirements for the construction of the clean-up system prototype , as well as towing the system out to sea and shipping the recovered plastic waste through Vancouver.

Employment & Labour

  • Advised Canadian and international clients on employee relations, workplace health and safety, and other employment matters.

  • Advised Canadian and international clients on potential human rights violations in global supply-chain management.

 
Indigenous

  • Advised clients on Indigenous considerations and relationship management relating to project development, including land rights and acquisitions.

 
Litigation & Dispute Resolution

  • Advised Canadian and international clients on litigation-risk management, including dispute resolution clauses and ADR arrangements.

  • Defended Canadian and international clients facing allegations of ESG-related matters, including in the courts and confidential arbitrations.

  • Defended a prominent U.S. issuer and its Canadian subsidiary against a number of criminal charges for alleged bribery of public officials.

  • Challenged search warrants and demands for information and documents under the Criminal Code, Customs Act, Competition Act, Income Tax Act and other statutes.

  • Defended Canadian and international clients on white-collar crime enforcement actions, conducting multi-jurisdictional internal investigations, and designing and assessing sophisticated compliance programs.

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