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In brief

High-polluting leaded petrol was recently eradicated from the world, eliminating what was identified as a huge threat to human health and well-being, as well as its devastating effect on nature. This is just the latest development in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and climate change story, which has evolved at ferocious speed over the past two-three years and has now become a key focus for both governments and organisations alike.

ESG guidance, initiatives and, ultimately, legal and regulatory requirements continue to be introduced, with further legislation to come, the importance of having a clear understanding of how the legal requirements sit within the context of the wider evolving landscape has never been greater.

The recent announcement that the Prime Minister will be meeting with heads from the pensions and insurance industries to discuss how pension funds can be used in green projects highlights the central role pensions are playing in implementing the Government’s “build back better” policy and reflect that they continue to be viewed as key players in driving change.

This placemat provides a useful overview of where the ESG regulatory landscape is at for pensions schemes, and is a useful guide for trustees and corporates to help position their thinking as we progress towards new milestones, including TCFD reporting, implementations statements and own risk assessments.


Paul is a UK-qualified associate director in the Employment & Compensation practice who specializes in pensions law in the UK and South Africa. He also has experience in advising on pensions law in other sub-Saharan African jurisdictions. Paul is a former president of the Pension Lawyers Association of South Africa and a former member of the Legal & Technical Committee of the Institute of Retirement Funds Africa. He is currently assisting the Pension Policy Institute with a research series into climate change and ESG investing.


Thomas Cosgrove is an associate in Baker McKenzie London office.

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