Guide for General Counsel on Corporate Sustainability Version 1.0

The Guide for General Counsel on Corporate Sustainability provides guidance to in-house counsel in their emerging role as key change agents to advance corporate sustainability issues within their organisations. The Guide seeks to raise the profile of General Counsel regarding the efforts they are making, and to inspire and encourage other General Counsel and Boards, senior executives and management of their respective organizations to take action and deliver long-term value.

By providing a solid analysis of the evolving landscape, the key drivers and themes that General Counsel come across, the Guide reinforces the fact that General Counsel can drive change and deliver value through corporate sustainability and will motivate in-house lawyers to use corporate sustainability to their own, their company’s, and society’s advantage.

To develop the Guide, Linklaters and the United Nations Global Compact conducted interviews with over 40 General Counsel under the “Chatham House” rule, with comments only being attributed with permission of the interviewee.

Some observations:
  • The role of the General Counsel is evolving, which means an increased focus on not only what is legal, but what also is “right”
  • The convergence of financial, environmental, social and ethical issues to achieve long-term value is driving engagement in corporate sustainability
  • General Counsel are increasingly using corporate sustainability to articulate the value proposition of the in-house lawyer
  • A focus on corporate sustainability enables General Counsel to leverage their role as trusted advisors in proactively driving positive change
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