Headquartered in London, this top law firm has a market-leading team of multidisciplinary and highly experienced lawyers who are at the forefront of supporting clients on human rights, environmental and climate matters, evolving stakeholder expectations, and navigating emerging soft law standards.
On the importance of paying attention to activism, they say: ‘The activist voice is now a bit louder. Groups are reaching out to companies, asking them to change, and if they don’t, they’re now following through with litigation. That’s caused companies to sit up and listen.’
SIGWATCH data is often the starting point for environmental and human rights screening for the core ESG team. Access to quality data on activist campaigning allows the firm to get a better sense of who they’re working with and the issues they’re facing.
Sometimes a search of SIGWATCH data will turn up issues that clients themselves were not aware of. The firm can pass this on to the client and encourage them to start thinking ahead how best to mitigate any problems.
When lenders or buyers ask them to do additional diligence on a target, they turn to SIGWATCH to gather as much information as possible. Recently SIGWATCH data was used when advising on the acquisition of a historically tricky asset. Information from the client did not seem complete, and information on the ground was hard to come by. SIGWATCH helped fill in the gaps.
‘When activists start mobilising, institutional investors start paying more attention.’
SIGWATCH data guides the firm in forecasting macro trends and issues at the start of each year. They says this data is particularly helpful when determining the general direction of travel of key ESG issues, from due diligence legislation to efforts to tackle forced labour. Seeing activist actions come through the SIGWATCH platform day by day also helps the team understand the direction in which an issue is pulling.
‘It’s common sense. To completely ignore activists means you’re going into many of these discussions blind.’
Filling in the gaps
SIGWATCH data played a key role in the firm’s advisory of a Private Equity firm looking to acquire a utilities business. The business in question was subject to environmental allegations and investigations.
To remain up to date with the legal proceedings, they turned to SIGWATCH. Activists provided more comprehensive coverage than other public data sources, meaning SIGWATCH’s reporting of activist positions was able to provide relevant information unavailable through Google searches.
The firm says the insights gleaned from SIGWATCH helped the client to decide what information to ask from the other party.
The team says they find SIGWATCH’s summaries of foreign cases in English particularly useful, as they help them stay abreast of developments in other jurisdictions.
‘Activists are now holding companies to account effectively.’