Managing Director Charlotte Moore and Research Associate Catalina Becerra Trujillo speak to Rebecca Burton about recent trends in NGO-led climate litigation, how it is being used by NGOs as a tactic to address climate change and how companies should look to engage with the heightened risk of NGO-led litigation.
Even when these NGO-led cases are dismissed or courts find in companies’ favour, the claims drive public attention to the issues, defendants, and peers. As such, claims against oil and gas will undoubtedly continue, and NGOs may look to replicate the Shell case against other energy firms in other jurisdictions.
Activist litigation is also starting to spill over into other sectors, such as food and beverages, personal care and even baby care, with Danone a recent subject of a claim by ClientEarth on plastic pollution.
Companies should engage with this risk by getting to grips with the issues NGO are campaigning on which concern their business or industry. By engaging with the issues early on, firms stand a chance of going from being part of the problem to part of the solution, and therefore not worth singling out for attack.
Companies should also be prepared for activists to remain unsatisfied with their responses, but they should try not to let that become an excuse for defensiveness or lack of engagement. NGO exist to critique, but for those companies that engage well, that criticism is tempered by praise for any positive steps.