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The social element of ESG encompasses an organisation’s relationships with its people, suppliers and communities. Investors, and the market generally, are increasingly focused on how organisations manage issues such as business ethics, supply chain management, diversity and inclusion and ensuring a positive contribution to society of activities.  The market will reward those businesses that have a positive social impact.

As a full-service law firm, CMS experts work together to address the social impact of commercial activities and investments. Whether you are considering the diversity of your workforce, pay ratios, health & safety protocols, relationships with your suppliers or integration with the local community, CMS will field a team with the right combination of expertise and experience.

 

13/12/2023
MEES - are the regulations working?
CMS acts for commercial landlords of different sizes, in all sectors, across England & Wales. Our experience is that there has been almost zero engagement with MEES by the local authorities tasked to enforce the regulations. Is the experience of our clients, and CMS, a true reflection of the level of engagement? Curious to find out how the non-domestic MEES regulations are being enforced, we set out to test a simple hypothesis: If our hypothesis is correct, what are the implications for those with commercial property portfolios and for the government’s ambitious net zero targets for the built environment? This is the first of a series of articles that examines the MEES enforcement data we have collected and what it means for those owning, occupying, managing and investing in commercial property. During the summer of 2023, CMS issued Freedom of Information requests to 285 local authorities in England and Wales. 208 local authorities (72%) provided a response to the requests and 77 local authorities (28%) failed to respond. Seven questions were asked: The data tells a very clear story.   This data proves part of our hypothesis: despite the UK government’s drive and commitment to reduce carbon emissions and the energy consumption of the non-domestic building stock in England and Wales, and the emphasis on MEES as a way to do this, local authorities are failing to enforce the MEES regulations.  Of the 208 local authorities that responded with answers to our questions, 82% are taking an “in­tel­li­gence-led approach”, meaning that local authorities are awaiting civilian complaints before actioning any form of MEES related investigations. Despite the UK government’s commitments, those charged with enforcing MEES are taking a reactive rather than proactive approach:
07/07/2022
ESG: The People Perspective
The People Perspective
Advising the Board

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08/12/2023
Key takeaways from Energy Day at COP28
As a young professional in the legal field, attending COP28's Energy Day was an eye-opening experience that provided valuable insights into the future of environmental policies and their potential impact. Day 6 of COP28 showcased a collective determination to address the pressing challenges of our time. The discussions emphasised the urgency of transitioning to sustainable energy sources, with a focus on innovation, collaboration and policy frameworks. Supply chain planning, streamlining approvals through a clear permitting process and advocating for mandatory carbon pricing were some of the other key points discussed in the various panel sessions we attended. Another noteworthy aspect was the emphasis on international co-operation and the role of legal frameworks in facilitating cross-border partnerships. Governments were urged to think strategically beyond the present, emphasising long-term planning for renewable energy expansion.  The key takeaway for me was not just the global agreements discussed but also amplifying the voices of those on the front lines – farmers, coal workers, the youth, indigenous people and others. What set this COP apart was its focus on showcasing these voices, by, for instance, dedicating a full day to discuss the impact of climate change on health.  These voices are essential in translating agreements into on-the-ground success and bridging this gap between policy decisions and the real life experiences of those directly affected by climate change is our collective responsibility, ensuring the protection of our planet for present and future generations. The outcome of COP28 may lead to more stringent regulations and compliance requirements, presenting both challenges and opportunities. Legal practitioners will play a pivotal role in navigating these complexities, offering counsel to businesses and other organisations seeking to align their operations with emerging environmental standards, one way of doing this would be through using contracts as a mechanism to de-risk. As we move forward post-COP28, the legal community's commitment to guiding clients through these evolving landscapes will be instrumental in ensuring progress in the renewable energy transition. In conclusion, COP28 has been a catalyst for reflection and action. It is an exciting time to be in the legal field, with the potential to be at the forefront of shaping legal frameworks that promote a more sustainable future.
01/11/2023
COP28
CMS is designated as a provider of Legal Services for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), hosted by the UAE. CMS delivers broad-ranging legal pro bono support for COP28 and please to read more about this appointment. 
17/07/2023
Improving energy efficiency of care home stock - practical steps for landlords
There are various reasons why the care sector has been lagging behind: With this backdrop many landlords will face an uphill battle in securing the information they need and meeting their environmental commitments. Many care homes are occupied on long leases (typically 20-35 years) put in place many years ago.  These leases are understandably silent on green lease provisions given their age and length. As such, landlords may have limited scope to access properties to collect energy data and/or carry out energy efficiency improvements. In the rare case a lease does have such a right for a landlord, leases will often be silent on who is responsible for the carrying out of such works and, of course, who pays. The sector is therefore often left with landlords negotiating variations and CAPEX commitments with reluctant tenants who do not want to carry out works or enter into significant reporting requirements in an economic climate where there are already significant cost and time pressures.  Array Given the direction of travel for the whole commercial property sector to having effective green lease provisions as standard, prudent landlords should:
13/06/2023
Healthy Horizons Webinar Series
The Life Sciences & Healthcare sector is under increased scrutiny from an ESG-perspective, with pressure faced in every aspect of the value chain. Healthy Horizons, our practical guide to doing responsible...
02/02/2023
Climate-related disclosures – is your business aligned with the TCFD recommendations?
The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”)’s recommendations aim to help organisations disclose clear, comparable, and consistent climate-related financial information. They are supported by organisations worldwide and have been implemented in the UK. The recommendations derive from the growing need for comparable climate-related disclosures and increasing regulation in this area and the inherent focus on social and environmental issues in the Life Sciences & Healthcare sector (“LSHC”) makes these factors particularly important for LSHC businesses to bear in mind.  
11/01/2023
Healthy Horizons
The Life Sciences & Healthcare sector is under increased scrutiny from an ESG-perspective, with pressure faced by every aspect of the value chain.  The attention on each of the three pillars of ESG provides an opportunity for businesses to demonstrate ESG excellence, create business value through fair and responsible working practices, and be a lever for growth as well as societal good. Our practical guide on responsible business within the Life Sciences & Healthcare sector is accessible on this page.  Our Healthy Horizons content will be made available as it is published, exploring topics ranging from governance, sustainable finance & responsible investment in the sector to responsible approaches to marketing, risk & reputation.  If there is a topic you’d like to discuss further, please do get in touch.  We advise our Life Sciences & Healthcare clients – from multinationals to start ups – in all areas of ESG-related law and would be delighted to speak.
23/11/2022
The Law and the Little Things Microaggressions in the workplace
Most organisations today recognise the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion within their workplaces, in particular, how to build an inclusive culture.  However, organisations need to go beyond...
13/09/2022
A Look at the Engine for ESG: Finance
Between sus­tain­ab­il­ity-linked loans and, more recently, green bonds, the finance world has been one of the early adopters and promoters of the ESG movement. We spoke with CMS Partners Ana Radnev, Cristina...
01/06/2022
CMS Next
In a world of ever-ac­cel­er­at­ing change, staying ahead of the curve and knowing what’s next for your business or sector is essential. At CMS, we see ourselves not only as your legal advisers but also as your business partners. We work together with you to not only resolve current issues but to anticipate future challenges and innovate to meet them. With our latest publication, CMS Next, our experts will regularly offer you insights into and fresh perspectives on a range of issues that businesses have to deal with – from ESG agendas to restructuring after the pandemic or facing the digital transformation. We will also share with you more about the work that we are doing for our clients, helping them innovate, grow and mitigate risk. To be able to provide you with the best support, we immerse ourselves in your world to understand your legal needs and challenges. However, it is equally important that you know who we are and how we can work with you. So, we invite you to meet our experts and catch a glimpse of what is happening inside CMS. Enjoy reading this publication, which we will update regularly with new content. CMS Executive Team
27/10/2021
Archive news from COP26
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20/10/2021
The S in ESG: The role of HR
As ESG becomes an increasingly important factor for organisations, what role can HR play in shaping the ESG agenda? In our guide the employment team discuss the S in ESG and the role of HR.