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As we entered the new decade, businesses were already grappling with new challenges to their license to operate: What did it mean to be a good corporate citizen in the context of the climate emergency and continuing social inequality? Consumer and employee activism and political pressure at both the global and national levels were combining to force ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues to the top of the board’s and management’s agenda. Having a clear corporate purpose was becoming essential.

In August 2019 the US Business Roundtable published its statement on the purpose of the corporation where it sought to accommodate a broader group of stakeholders, in the UK we are beginning to see companies report their s. 172 practices and globally companies (and governments) are adopting TCFD disclosures as best practice; Blackrock’s January statement was clear to indicate that it was making sustainability integral to the way it approached its investments. The pandemic has simply reinforced these aspirations and it is fair to say that we are now firmly in the age of “stakeholder capitalism.”

Since then, our lives have changed fundamentally, in ways that few of us could ever have imagined. But what will COVID-19 and its after-effects mean for ESG? Evidence is building that those businesses that embrace ESG values as an integral part of their COVID decision making will be better placed to survive and, ultimately, thrive in a post-COVID world.

Few question that with COVID-19 our lives have changed fundamentally, in ways that few of us could ever have imagined. The pandemic will have been with us for at least a year before we begin to think about returning to “normal” and we know that “normal” will be different from what it was in March 2020. How can we learn from our lives during COVID-19 and position our stakeholder governance agendas to prepare us for a post-COVID world? We have seen clear evidence building that those businesses that embrace ESG values as an integral part of their decision making will be better placed to survive and, ultimately, thrive in a post-COVID world.

This series of ESG-focused thought leadership webinars will share insights and practical guidance for businesses considering what ESG means for them in the context of the current crisis and beyond.

Click below to register your interest in our demystifying ESG webinar series.

Recordings from Our Demystifying ESG Webinar Series 2020

Date: 7 October 2020
Topic: ESG and Corporate Reporting Part 2
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Speakers: Beatriz Araujo (Chair), Ilona Millar, Paul Anderson and Brent Esler

Date: 23 September 2020
Topic: ESG and Executive Compensation
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Speakers: Nick O’Donnell (Chair), Jeremy Edwards, Don-Tobias Jol, Victoria Kirsch and Joseph Fomenky, member of the Equity Solutions team at Aon

Date: 9 September 2020
Topic: ESG and Corporate Reporting Part 1
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Speakers: Beatriz Araujo (Chair), Jo Hewitt, Nick O’Donnell, Hannah Swift and Andriea Vamadevan

Date: 26 August 2020
Topic: ESG and the Supply Chain
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Speakers: Jo Hewitt (Chair), Francesca Richmond, Ben Smith and Graham Stuart

Date: 12 August 2020
Topic: ESG Regulation for Financial Institutions
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Speakers: Nick O’Donnell (Chair), Tim Alferink, Jennifer Klass and Caitlin McErlane

Date: 29 July 2020
Topic: ESG and the Modern Workforce
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Speakers: Beatriz Araujo (Chair), Jo Hewitt, Jonathan Sharp and Jonathan Tuck

Date: 15 July 2020
Topic: What Is the New European Green Finance Taxonomy, and How Will It Affect Your Business?
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Speakers: Jo Hewitt (Chair), Caitlin McErlane, Anahita Thoms and Sam Gill, Co-Founder and COO of Sylvera

1 July 2020
ESG and the Modern Customer 
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Speakers: Jo Hewitt (Chair), Beatriz Araujo, Nick O’Donnell and David Scott

17 June 2020
Green Finance
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Speakers: Caitlin McErlane (Chair), Michael Doran, Eva Segur-Cabanac, Chantal Thompson and Caroline Escott, Senior Policy Lead (Investment and Stewardship) at Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association

3 June 2020
Introduction to ESG
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Speakers: Beatriz Araujo, Jo Hewitt, Caitlin McErlane, Nick O’Donnell


Michael is a finance partner in the London office and has deep experience of the international financial markets. Michael has extensive experience across the developed, emerging and frontier markets. His clients include private equity/credit funds, investment banks, multinational corporations, sovereign governments, state-owned entities, state agencies, supranational banks and sovereign wealth funds


Jo Hewitt is a partner in the Corporate Department of Baker McKenzie London, and advises clients on a wide range of corporate law matters.


Caitlin McErlane is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Financial Services & Regulatory Group in the London office. Caitlin's practice focuses on advising a range of global financial institutions on complex and high value regulatory matters. She advises banks, major corporates, payment institutions and asset managers on navigating UK and EU financial services regulation. She has particular experience in advising clients on regulatory implementation projects, day-to-day compliance issues, and regulatory issues arising in the context of large-scale transactions. She also expertise in the areas of banking and wholesale financial markets regulation, in particular in the FX and fixed income space, alongside experience advising market infrastructure providers, including major international exchanges, trading platforms, clearing systems and payment services providers, on a variety of compliance issues. Caitlin is also a member of the Baker's ESG and sustainability taskforce, and advises a range of clients on the drafting and implementation of ESG policies and the implications of becoming a signatory to the UNPRI and the Stewardship Code. Caitlin is an authority on regulatory reforms in the sustainability space and sits on a number of trade association working groups. She has recently been interviewed by Climate Action on her work and is a frequent speaker on the subject.


Nick O'Donnell is a partner in Baker McKenzie's corporate department in London. He has over 15 years' experience advising on a wide range of corporate finance transactions and is recognized in his field by The Legal 500. He has spent time on secondment with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Macquarie and Mubadala. Although London based for the majority of his career, he has previously been located in Abu Dhabi and New York. He regularly publishes articles, and has been quoted and interviewed on the press and TV, on matters relating to the London market.


Beatriz Pessôa de Araújo is a partner based in Baker McKenzie's London office and has more than 30 years of experience leading on and advising clients on business critical transactions and matters. Following service, on a full-time basis, of a four-year term on the Global Board of Baker & McKenzie, her practice has focused on corporate governance best practices, including board advisory, director duties, stakeholder governance and subsidiary governance, for both UK companies as well as global groups. She has supported the World Economic Forum as an expert on governance projects and has written various articles on corporate governance topics. She won "Best in Corporate Governance" in 2018 at the Euromoney Women in Business Law Awards Legal 500.


Eva-Maria Ségur-Cabanac heads Baker McKenzie's capital markets practice in Austria and is a member of the Firm's EMEA Steering Committee for Capital Markets. She is also Global Lead Sustainability Partner for our Financial Institutions Industry Group and a member of Baker McKenzie's global Sustainable Finance Service Line. Eva-Maria is a dual-qualified lawyer, admitted to practice in Austria and New York. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie's Vienna office in 2008, Eva-Maria worked in the New York, Paris and Frankfurt offices of a well-known US law firm.


Chantal Thompson has extensive experience advising clients on all aspects of UK pensions law. She is a partner in the Firm's Pensions practice group in London, a core member of Baker McKenzie’s Global Pensions Group, and serves on the International Committee of the 1,000-member Association of Pension Lawyers. She is a member of the Management Committee and chairs the Personnel Sub-Committee of London Cyrenians Housing Limited, and frequently speaks at seminars and courses on multiple aspects of pension law.


Anahita Thoms ist Partner bei Baker & McKenzie Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten und Steuerberatern mbB