Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

Your partner in making an impact.


You care about the impact that your organization has on your communities, your customers, the environment and the world at large, and you need legal counsel that is as committed as you are to driving meaningful change. When you engage Faegre Drinker to further your environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, you benefit from our legacy of innovation — our firm invented the legal model that's been adopted in over 35 states for the benefit corporation — and our long-time commitment to forming, supporting and protecting the work of leaders looking to harness the power of the marketplace to serve the social good. We work with public and private companies, nonprofit organizations, fund sponsors, foundations, public charities, family offices, government entities, higher education institutions, private funds, development finance institutions and individual investors, among others, on ESG matters all over the United States, in Canada and throughout the world.

ESG is rapidly evolving. Faegre Drinker is your partner and business adviser, collaborating seamlessly with key stakeholders across your organization to help you navigate the ESG landscape, implement ESG principles, comply with an evolving regulatory environment and embrace innovation. We help clients with:

  • Enacted, pending and proposed regulatory requirements, and industry and NGO frameworks, guidance and codes of conduct
  • Developing and contracting climate change programs
  • Environmental markets since their inception
  • Training, advice and benchmarking on ESG
  • Transactional due diligence and risk assessments tailored for ESG
  • Drafting, structuring, and implementing ESG policies, programs and related disclosures
  • Stakeholder engagement, including shareholder proposals
  • Advising boards on fiduciary duties, corporate culture, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and risk management
  • ESG investment product development from their planning, structuring, organizing, funding, documenting and day-to-day operations
  • Strong technical and market networks with in-depth ESG market experience
  • Guiding legislative change with local, state and federal government
  • Attaining benefit corporation status, calling on firsthand experience

Learn more about our ESG services.


Our multidisciplinary team brings the full range of the firm's practices to evaluate and advise on ESG, CSR and human rights issues. Learn more about our services below.
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Environment & Energy

Our team is advising on some of the world’s largest carbon-credit transactions and deals across the compliance and voluntary environmental markets:

  • Corporate ESG strategy and procurement support
  • Fortune 500s/startups/MUSH
  • Private equity funds and lenders
  • Cleantech providers
  • Project developers and service providers

The legal services we provide to sustainability/carbon programs include:

  • Defining and managing chain of title to environmental attributes (EAs)
  • Monetization of EAs, including environmental commodities and instruments, in the compliance and voluntary environmental markets
  • Risk allocations and controls for EAs
  • Protecting the integrity of EAs
  • Managing compliance and voluntary environmental market interactions
  • Addressing upstream/downstream treatment of EAs in supply chains
  • Controlling EAs’ reporting rights and claims
  • EA retirement and claim substantiation
  • Compliance environmental market support for covered entities
  • Energy and environmental market interactions
  • Managing stacking of EAs for multiple goals and markets

Securities, Governance & Capital Markets

Faegre Drinker serves as a trusted adviser to boards, board committees, members of senior management and in-house counsel on a full range of ESG matters, including:

  • Advising and educating about fiduciary duties, trends, and developments in corporate governance practices and jurisprudence
  • Addressing ESG-related shareholder activism
    • Responding to shareholder proposals
    • Proactively addressing investor expectations
    • Conducting vulnerability assessments
  • Actively engaging in and contributing to external ESG-related forums
  • Advising on required disclosures such as human capital disclosure, corporate governance practices and compensation matters in SEC filings
  • Helping develop and implement governance structures and corporate policies
    • Revising committee charters and corporate governance guidelines
    • Implementing sustainability committees and incorporating
  • Advising on shareholder engagement strategies, including related to institutional investor, proxy advisor, stock exchange and regulatory requirements/expectations and developments in third-party ESG ratings systems
  • Advising on voluntary ESG disclosure in SEC filings, sustainability reports and websites; on developments in evolving standards for reporting frameworks; and on requests to sign on to high-profile ESG initiatives

Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate & Benefit Corporations

We leverage our experienced team comprised of transactional, labor and employment, benefits, environmental and industry regulatory professionals to proactively evaluate and advise on ESG, corporate social responsibility (CSR), business and human rights, and supply chain compliance matters. Some of the areas on which we assist and advise include:

  • Due diligence tailored to assess ESG and CSR considerations
  • Risk and impact assessments, including those addressing governance; labor and employment; health and wellness; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); data privacy and security; and carbon and environmental programs
  • Compliance with enacted, pending and proposed regulatory requirements, industry and NGO frameworks, guidance, and codes of conduct
  • Supply-chain risks and management (including cross-border supply-chain matters)
  • Review of compliance programs, policies and codes of conduct
  • Contract terms and conditions (including sustainability-linked terms, governance, ESG oversight protocols, etc.)
  • Public benefit corporations, benefit LLC and other social-impact structures
  • Corporate philanthropy programs and structures
  • ESG integration and post-closing ESG program implementation

We also represent the nonprofit B Lab, which is behind the B Corp Certification, including drafting the model benefit corporation legislation and individual state benefit corporation laws that have been adopted in more than 35 states.

Investment Management

There is a growing consensus among investors that sustainable investing creates sustainable value — thus a rapid rise in demand for investment products and financial services that integrate ESG factors. We have worked with national and multinational asset management clients for nearly half a century, and we provide practical and forward-thinking counsel to help clients design, launch and manage ESG-focused funds and strategies. Our multidisciplinary team delivers integrated regulatory, transactional and compliance support to help you confidently navigate the complex considerations involved throughout the investment decision-making process. Drawing on our in-depth experience helping clients resolve complex ESG investing issues, we have what it takes to help you manage risk, drive growth and make the most of the opportunities in these emerging markets.

Public Issues ESG

Businesses increasingly face pressures from customers, employees, shareholders and governments to take positions on social, political and electoral issues. The speed and variety of the threats to businesses involve significant ESG considerations. Our Public Issues ESG team includes former elected and appointed officials and agency personnel who understand the intricacies of these issues – and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. With government relations experience throughout the country, our team advises clients at the intersection of the private and public sector on political and policy issues related to ESG. These areas include:

  • Traditional ESG and Zicklin Index
  • Crisis Management/Corporate Communications
  • Corporate Free Speech
  • Corporate Political Giving, Campaign Finance and Compliance
  • Corporate Lobbying
  • Government Contracting
  • Employee Speech/Mobilization Issues
  • Shareholder Proposals
  • Electoral Politics/Election Administration Participation
  • Associational and Industry Coordination

Finance & Restructuring

With holistic renewable resource experience, we can support any project participant and counsel on the relevant legal and business issues.

  • Sponsors and other equity providers
  • Developers
  • Investment bankers
  • Senior and mezzanine lenders, including commercial banks, institutional investors and bond trustees
  • Suppliers
  • Offtakers

Complex Litigation & Class Action Defense

Consumers are increasingly conscious of how the products they buy impact the environment. Due to this heightened focus on environmental issues, consumer-facing companies frequently highlight the environmentally friendly attributes of their goods and services in advertising and on product labels. Unfortunately, leading companies are facing a wave of “greenwashing” class action lawsuits challenging these environmental claims. Companies are also facing a myriad of securities-related claims associated with their ESG representations and disclosures.

Faegre Drinker maintains a deep bench of attorneys focused on the defense of class actions and other forms of complex litigation. Our attorneys can help you defend and protect your business and brand from sophisticated disputes brought by the aggressive class action plaintiffs’ bar. Our class action team has a proven track record of successfully defending clients in hundreds of national and state class, collective and multi-plaintiff actions alleging consumer protection, false advertising, environmental and shareholder claims, among others.

For example, our team has the experience needed to assist and advise clients with:

  • Defending clients in putative class action litigation alleging consumer fraud and related claims arising from purportedly false or misleading environmental statements in a company’s marketing, advertising or product labels
  • Defending clients in securities litigation related to or arising from ESG issues
  • Defending clients in government investigations as well as formal litigation against government agencies, including the FTC, SEC and state attorneys general
  • Responding to consumer complaints and litigation threat letters to reduce the risk or likelihood of future litigation
  • Providing litigation-focused compliance advice on the FTC’s Green Guides and related international standards
  • Providing litigation-focused reviews of company policies, practices and programs to identify and remediate any potential risks associated with the company’s public environmental claims
  • Analyzing environmental claims presented in a client’s marketing, advertising or product labels to assess whether certain claims have been challenged in litigation as well as the outcome of any such litigation

Corporate Philanthropy

Working with Faegre Drinker means drawing on our wide array of resources to further your environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. Further, we understand the needs of company-affiliated charities. As legal counsel to more than 50 company-affiliated charities — including some of the largest company foundations in the United States — we are well acquainted with the benefits that these corporate giving and community support programs provide and the sometimes-complex compliance mechanisms that the companies and their foundations must navigate to retain their tax-exempt status. We regularly advise companies and their affiliated corporate foundations on matters that include:

  • Foundation governance and tax compliance
  • Excise taxes limiting transactions between the company and the foundation
  • Foundation and company grantmaking to individuals and organizations
  • Impact investments and related policies
  • Naming rights and other recognition benefits
  • Matching grant programs based on employee contributions and volunteer hours
  • Charitable employee assistance programs
  • Training for company and foundation staff
  • Employee fundraising initiatives
  • Commercial Co-Ventures and other charitable sales promotions
  • International grantmaking compliance
  • Employee and community scholarship programs
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives

Other Services

Our ESG attorneys work with subject matter authorities across Faegre Drinker’s network to understand your business, evaluate and advise on ESG and CSR, bring fresh ideas, and create lasting value. The team is immersed in the following key practice areas and industry teams:

  • Environment & Energy
  • Securities, Governance & Capital Markets
  • Corporate and Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Investment Management
  • Litigation
  • Labor & Employment
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • International Team
  • Customs & International Trade
  • Best Interest Compliance
  • Benefits & Executive Compensation
  • Financial Services
  • Consumer Products & Retail
  • Food & Agribusiness
  • Health & Life Sciences
  • Insurance



Experience October 2022

Nonprofit Advised on ESG Investing Following Official Opinion From Attorney General

Experience August 2022

Wells Fargo Issues $2 Billion Sustainability Bond

Experience August 2022

Hull Street Energy Strategically Invests in Energy Storage with Flatiron Energy

Experience February 2022

ADM Issues Inaugural Sustainability Bond

Experience May 2021

Wells Fargo Issues Inaugural Sustainability Bond

Experience April 2021

Institutional Bond Purchaser Closes Financing for Wisconsin Anaerobic Digester-to-RNG Facility

Experience 2023

Opportunity Finance Network Directs Twitter Investment in CDFIs

Experience October 2020

Bond Purchasers Complete Transaction for PureCycle Ohio

Experience August 2020

Alpine Software Group’s Foothold Technology Converts to a Public Benefit Corporation

Experience June 2020

North Sky Capital Invests in Renewable Natural Gas Project in California

Experience June 2020

Opportunity Finance Network Directs Google Investment in CDFIs

Experience May 2020

Southwestern Public Service Company Completes Bond Offering

Experience April 2020

Financing of Anaerobic Digester-to-Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Facility in North Carolina

Experience 2020

Health Care Conversion Foundation Receives Corporate, Governance and Tax-Exempt Advice

Experience December 2019

Financing of North Fork Community Power’s Biomass Gasification Plant

Experience July 2019

Vonore Fiber Products Secures $118M in Financing

Experience July 2019

A&R Logistics Acquires Blue Water Plastic Transport LLC

Experience March 2019

Visual Advocacy Paves Way to Defeat of $60 Million Claim

Experience February 2019

Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility Issues $18M in Energy Efficiency Revenue Bonds

Experience February 2019

Underwriter’s Counsel for $183M California Pollution Control Project

Experience September 2018

Zilkha Biomass Selma LLC Issues $59.8 Million in Senior and Subordinate Taxable Bonds

Experience May 2018

The Conti Group Sells Controlling Interest to AEIF Greenlight

Experience April 2018

Investment Bank Places Bonds for Aviation Biofuel Facility

Experience August 2017

Southwestern Public Service Company Issues $450M of First Mortgage Bonds

Experience August 2016

Southwestern Public Service Company Issues $300M of First Mortgage Bonds

Experience September 2015

Southwestern Public Service Company Issues $200M of First Mortgage Bonds


Solar Power Project Moves Forward After Winning Summary Judgment


Wind Farm Developer Sells 20 MW Renewable Energy Facility


Insights & Events


最新 January 2024

Fourth Quarter 2023 Government Contracts Policy and Regulatory Review

13 min read  
最新 January 2024

IRS Releases Proposed Regulation to Section 45V of Internal Revenue Code

13 min read  
December 2023

Brad Campbell Discusses ESG in 401(k)s With Bloomberg Law

1 min read  
发表文章 November 2023

Practical Tips for ESG Reports

The Temple 10-Q
1 min read  
最新 October 2023

Five Things to Know About California’s New Climate Disclosure Bills

7 min read  
最新 October 2023

EPA Opens Applications for $4.6 Billion in Climate Grants to Reduce Greenhouse Gases for States, Municipalities, Tribes and Territories

19 min read  
最新 October 2023

Defending Litigation Attacks on DEI Programs: A Status Update

6 min read  
最新 September 2023

EU Sustainability Reporting Legislation Ramps Up

11 min read  
媒体报道 September 2023

Fred Reish Explains the Providing Complete Information to Retirement Investors Act in ThinkAdvisor

1 min read  
最新 September 2023

The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Harvard/UNC Decision on the Nonprofit Sector

5 min read  
发表文章 August 2023

Students for Fair Admissions: Why It Matters and What’s Next

1 min read  
发表文章 August 2023

LIBOR Transition and Issues in Sustainability-Linked Loans

1 min read  
最新 August 2023

Life After Students for Fair Admissions: Dissecting Challenges to Employers’ Diversity Programs

7 min read  
最新 July 2023

Republican State Attorneys General Target Mutual Fund Directors Concerning Mutual Fund Adviser ESG Activities

6 min read  
发表文章 July 2023

Evolving Litigation Risks in Green Investing, Green Marketing and ESG

1 min read  
最新 July 2023

Next Stage Considerations About the Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Decision: How to Put the Warning Letter from the State Attorneys General in Context

3 min read  
最新 July 2023

Joining Forces and Moving Forward: Navigating the ESG Antitrust Controversy

12 min read  
最新 July 2023

U.S. Supreme Court Invalidates Race-Conscious Admissions: Key Considerations for Postsecondary Institutions, Employers and Others

20 min read  
最新 July 2023

State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q2 2023

12 min read  
媒体报道 June 2023

Brad Campbell Covers ESG-Related Investments With CNBC

1 min read  
最新 June 2023

State Legislatures Targeting DEI in Higher Education

9 min read  
最新 June 2023

Supreme Court Decides Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina et al.

4 min read  
最新 June 2023

Practical Tips for ESG Reports

6 min read  
最新 June 2023

2023 NFI Insurance Public Policy Summit Highlights “Balancing Act”

10 min read  
媒体报道 May 2023

Brad Campbell Comments on ACLI Poll With InvestmentNews

1 min read  
最新 May 2023

'Greenwashing' Claims Strike Consumer-Facing Companies: How to Avoid the Increasing Threat of Litigation

24 min read  
最新 April 2023

ESG: Growing Government Action Requires a Thoughtful Approach

10 min read  
媒体报道 April 2023

Fred Reish Addresses ESG Investing With National Association of Plan Advisors

1 min read  
媒体报道 April 2023

Wayne Beck Speaks to Net Zero Investor About Subsidies and Net Zero Restructuring

2 min read  
媒体报道 March 2023

Walé Oriola Comments on ESG Investment of Public Pension Funds With Indiana Lawyer

2 min read  
媒体报道 March 2023

Brad Campbell Quoted by Bloomberg Law on ESG 401(k) Rule

1 min read  
最新 February 2023

State AG Updates: Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Kansas, Florida, Rhode Island and AG Coalitions

12 min read  
最新 February 2023

Update to Guidance on Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 – Prevailing Wage and Apprenticeship Training Requirements – With Guidance from Notice 2022-61

6 min read  
发表文章 February 2023

Prepare Construction, Real Estate Firms for Sustainability

1 min read  
媒体报道 January 2023

Brad Campbell and Fred Reish Provide Insight on Suit Challenging DOL’s ESG Rule With ESG Clarity and InvestmentNews

2 min read  
媒体报道 January 2023

Brad Campbell Comments on Suit Against DOL’s ESG Rule With PLANADVISER and PLANSPONSOR

1 min read  
媒体报道 January 2023

Brad Campbell Discusses ESG 401(k) Rule With Bloomberg Law

1 min read  
最新 December 2022

Three ESG Trends to Follow Into 2023

5 min read  
发表文章 December 2022

Regulatory Interventions Into ESG Investments Look Set to Rise: Goodbye Greenwashing?

1 min read  
最新 December 2022

Insurance Companies: ESG Investing in Real Estate

4 min read  
媒体报道 November 2022

Brad Campbell Provides Insight on DOL Final Rule on ESG Investments With PLANADVISER and PLANSPONSOR

1 min read  
媒体报道 November 2022

Fred Reish Discusses New DOL Fiduciary Rule With RIABiz

1 min read  
媒体报道 November 2022

Brad Campbell Addresses Final DOL ESG Rule With InvestmentNews

1 min read  
媒体报道 November 2022

Fred Reish Comments on DOL Final ESG Rule With Financial Advisor Magazine

1 min read  
媒体报道 November 2022

Walé Oriola Quoted by Minnesota Lawyer and Finance & Commerce on ESG in Construction Projects

2 min read  
发表文章 November 2022

5 ESG Assumptions that Deserve a Closer Look

1 min read  
媒体报道 November 2022

Walé Oriola and Antonio Pozos Talk to FundFire About Regulation of the Cryptocurrency Market

2 min read  
媒体报道 October 2022

Brad Campbell Addresses Department of Labor's ESG Rule With Ignites

1 min read  
媒体报道 October 2022

Ignites Speaks to Walé Oriola About SEC Rulemaking and Enforcement Agenda

1 min read  
媒体报道 September 2022

Brad Campbell Discusses ESG and Crypto Investing With Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg Tax

2 min read  
最新 August 2022

Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 – Qualified Biogas Property

6 min read  
发表文章 June 2022

5 Steps for Implementing Measurable ESG Strategy

1 min read  
最新 June 2022

CBP and DHS Issue Guidance on Implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

12 min read  
发表文章 June 2022

The SEC Drives Expanded Disclosure Requirements and Boardroom Change

1 min read  
媒体报道 June 2022

The American Lawyer Features Julian Harrell in “How I Made Partner” Profile

2 min read  
媒体报道 June 2022

Fred Reish Spoke to ThinkAdvisor About the Financial Freedom Act of 2022

2 min read  
媒体报道 June 2022

Walé Oriola Comments on Proposed Securities and Exchange Commission Rule With Ignites

1 min read  
最新 May 2022

SEC Proposes Rules for ESG Disclosures and Amendments to the Investment Company Names Rule

4 min read  
媒体报道 May 2022

Walé Oriola Talks to Ignites About SEC’s Rulemaking Related to ESG

1 min read  
最新 April 2022

Proposed Climate Disclosure Rules for Public Companies

25 min read  
媒体报道 March 2022

Brad Campbell Speaks to Pensions & Investments About DOL Focus on ESG Investing

2 min read  
最新 April 2021

SEC Warns of Potentially Misleading ESG Investing Statements

6 min read  
最新 August 2020

Diversity & Inclusion in Investment Management: SEC Explores Creating a More Inclusive Capital Formation Ecosystem

4 min read  

Event Recap

Recorded Webinar November 15, 2023 CLE

ESG and Shareholder Initiatives — Diversity Audits and Other Trends - Webinar

Labor & Employment Series: Staying on Top of Your Game
2 min read  
Recorded Webinar November 14, 2023 CLE

Hot Topics in ESG for Retailers

1 min read  
Speaking Engagement Recap November 02, 2023

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG): Examining the ESG Landscape

Iowa Corporate Counsel Institute
1 min read  
Speaking Engagement Recap October 31, 2023

Business & Human Rights: Model Contract Clauses for Sustainable Supply Chains - Webinar

1 min read  
Recorded Webinar September 27, 2023 CLE

Assessing the Aftermath: The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Harvard/UNC Decision on the Nonprofit Sector - Webinar

2 min read  
Speaking Engagement Recap April 27, 2023

Articulating the ESG Value Proposition - Webinar

1 min read  
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