Sustainability and ESG

Our interdisciplinary sustainability and ESG practice provides strategic counseling to boards, management teams, and investors on a broad range of ESG issues.


At Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, we support our clients in setting and meeting their sustainability goals. As a component of this practice, and in coordination with sustainability strategy-setting, we help our clients identify and manage environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks associated with regulatory requirements and increasing pressure from investors and private litigants.

We understand that our clients are navigating a host of new legal requirements aimed at shaping responsible business practices at the same time that ESG disclosures are becoming mandatory for the first time. Because ESG disclosure requirements and litigation risks differ across jurisdictions, it is a business imperative for companies operating in multiple markets (either internationally or across multiple US states) to develop a coordinated and deliberate strategy for ESG compliance and risk management. This imperative is even stronger for companies that are subject to anti-ESG legislation or affected by related investment decisions. We help clients manage their risks and compliance obligations across this complicated and shifting legal landscape.

Rather than advise on isolated legal issues, we work with our clients on core business strategy and sustainability goals, and we collaborate across practice groups to provide integrated, strategic advice.


Sustainability refers broadly to a company’s corporate strategy and actions with respect to its impact on the world at large.


ESG refers to a set of concrete criteria that companies measure and report on, usually in response to demands from regulators or investors.

Our Team

We have first-hand experience with sustainability strategy and associated disclosures. Our team includes a former sustainability executive for a top-20 Fortune Global 500 company and an attorney who previously worked for a leading sustainability reporting standard-setting organization, CDP.

We also have a deep understanding of the technical aspects of sustainability topics, as well as laws and regulations related to securities, greenwashing, and false advertising. Our team includes former counsel for the EPA, SEC, and FTC, among other federal agencies, and multiple state attorneys general, as well as experienced corporate lawyers and litigators.

Sustainability Strategy and Management

Legal advice is a key input for setting strategic priorities and selecting sustainability KPIs, especially in areas where there are changing regulations. We help our clients link sustainability materiality assessments to compliance planning in relevant areas. We also help strategize on how to leverage existing corporate processes and management systems to identify and mitigate ESG risks, track new legal obligations and voluntary commitments, and develop compliance solutions. When our clients choose to build new sustainability data collection and management processes, we advise on what is needed to prepare compliant disclosures and substantiate sustainability claims. We also interact with policy makers and other stakeholders on our clients’ behalf. And when disputes arise, we vigorously defend our clients in court and before arbitration panels.

Key Areas of Focus

Within our sustainability practice, we focus primarily on advising clients in three core areas: decarbonization, circular economy, and responsible operations and supply chain. We have chosen these areas of focus based on our clients’ priorities and the current direction of legal developments. Companies across multiple industries have set corporate sustainability goals in these areas based on their sustainability materiality assessments. Further, each of these areas has seen a recent expansion in regulation, which means that corporate strategy-setting must be conducted in lockstep with legal risk management. Below is an overview of the types of issues we confront on a day-to-day basis. 

Climate and Decarbonization

  • Goal-Setting and Tracking We work with our clients to set decarbonization goals and choose the best tools for reaching those goals. We also work with clients to track interim progress and advise on public restatements when needed.
  • Greenhouse Gas Inventories and Reporting – In partnership with sustainability consultants, we work with our clients to develop CO2 data collection processes and disclosure strategies.
  • Compliance in the Energy Transition We advise clients in the energy, transportation, and other critical industries on how to navigate increasingly stringent CO2 standards for conventional product offerings while also transitioning to renewable energy products. This work includes regulatory advocacy, strategic compliance support, and full-scale support for new projects, including project finance and development, tax, and environmental permitting and compliance.
  • Voluntary Carbon Markets We advise clients in multiple industries on participation in voluntary carbon markets, including both the purchase and sale of carbon credits and associated public claims.
  • Compliance Credits – We advise clients on meeting compliance obligations under statewide or regional emission cap programs, either by trading allowances with other regulated entities or by purchasing offset credits generated by certain types of offset projects.
  • Renewable Energy Transactions We advise on power purchase agreements and renewable energy certificate (REC) transactions, including associated public claims.
  • Sustainable Finance – We advise companies and sources of capital on a broad range of green, blue, and sustainable financing transactions.

Circular Economy

  • Economic Incentives – Companies that sell products related to renewable energy infrastructure, such as batteries and solar panels, have increasing access to economic incentives targeted at creating a domestic circular supply chain. We advise clients on accessing incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
  • Sustainable Packaging – We advise clients on tracking and complying with source reduction and post-consumer content requirements for packaging, including application of regulatory exemptions where appropriate.
  • Extended Producer Responsibility We advise on emerging producer responsibility (EPR) requirements for packaging and other industrial and consumer products. The scope of our experience includes international, US state product- and sector-specific programs, and generally applicable requirements, and we are actively monitoring ongoing efforts by third parties to push government agencies globally to incorporate EPR into regulatory programs.
  • Waste Management Products destined for circular economy solutions like refurbishing, remanufacturing, or recycling do not fit neatly into existing hazardous waste regulatory frameworks. We advise on waste compliance strategies and support our clients in regulatory advocacy.

Responsible Operations and Supply Chain

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – We counsel employers on pay equity audits, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and other employment issues arising in connection with ESG matters.
  • Supply Chain Due Diligence and Human Rights – We assist clients with developing and implementing audit and due diligence protocols to effectively identify and manage supply chain-related risks and opportunities. In our experience, supply chain due diligence can take a number of forms, including supply chain mapping, assessing contractual relationships along the supply chain, reviewing facility-level compliance, and auditing of structures, authorization mechanisms, and communication pathways along the value chain.
  • Conflict Minerals We counsel clients on establishing global conflict mineral tracing and reporting systems to comply with conflict minerals disclosure rules and industry standards and best practices.
  • Biodiversity and Natural Resources – We assist clients with developing and implementing wildlife and natural resource strategies that not only meet the highest standards for compliance but are also designed to improve ecosystem outcomes, enhance internal processes and external relations, and build stakeholder support for client projects and activities. We advise clients on emerging legal frameworks for tracking, managing, and reporting risks associated with their reliance on various forms of natural capital.
  • Contracts We advise on contractual provisions related to ESG compliance and performance, together with associated corporate processes for compliance assurance and assistance, including capacity building.

ESG Risk Management 

  • Corporate Governance We help design corporate governance structures to manage ESG risk. This work includes evaluating board oversight processes and management systems.
  • Voluntary Reporting and Marketing Claims – We assist clients with reviewing voluntary sustainability reports and marketing claims to mitigate allegations of greenwashing, ensuring claims are substantiated and phrased with reference to relevant law.
  • Mandatory ESG Disclosures – As our clients make the transition from voluntary sustainability reporting to mandated disclosures, we assist them with assessing and revising current data collection and report drafting processes. Typical work in this area includes identifying disclosure requirements to which the company is or may become subject, conducting a gap analysis to identify what work needs to be done to generate compliant disclosures, and working with the company to build a revised strategy for data collection and reporting. For multinational companies, we evaluate where mandatory disclosures in one market may create legal risks in another market, and we assist with developing comprehensive compliance and risk mitigation strategies.
  • Shareholder Proposals – We advise clients on responding to ESG-related shareholder proposals.
  • Insurance Coverage We review, maintain, and manage liability insurance policies and develop risk mitigation strategies to maximize insurance recoveries for ESG-related claims.
  • Litigation – We handle litigation stemming from claims that a company misrepresented its sustainability performance or failed to meet its publicly stated goals.




Jump to Page