Environmental, Social & Governance

Featured Publication:

A Look Back and A Glimpse Forward: The SEC’s Agenda [The Legal Intelligencer]

Kathy Jaffari and Rikisha Collins authored an article in The Legal Intelligencer that addresses how the initiatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) 2021 rulemaking agenda were instituted, and discusses what to expect from the SEC in 2022.

More

Shareholders and other stakeholders have long evaluated corporations, including their boards and management teams, based on factors that affect long-term value. Opportunities and risks around environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters are at the forefront of today’s assessments. As the country strives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustices, and climate change, corporations and their boards of directors and management teams are heeding the calls of their investors, customers, and other stakeholders to place ESG matters on the front burner.

ESG represents an intersection of risk management, involving reputational and compliance issues, and strategic opportunities. By enlisting savvy counsel, companies, including their boards and management teams, can meet their obligations of risk management and exploration of strategic opportunities in an efficient and effective manner. Cozen O’Connor has developed a dedicated ESG practice to meet this burgeoning need.

When considering their ESG obligations, many companies are left wondering what aspects of their operations are relevant to the inquiry, who the stakeholders are, how to monitor and manage ESG impacts, and how to balance reporting expectations with the need to protect the company and mitigate risk. Our multidisciplinary ESG team helps clients address these issues and more as we track the ever-evolving standards, including relevant legal and regulatory developments, that bear on companies’ need to collect, analyze, and disclose various types of data reflecting the broader impact of their operations.

Our mission is to help clients create business strategies and legal policies and procedures that comply with emerging environmental, social, and governance standards and evince respect for all. In addition, we recognize that investors are increasingly interested in identifying targets with strong ESG platforms — we know what to look for, and can therefore help investors find opportunities that will bring social and environmental returns in addition to financial ones.

Our team brings to the table significant experience in the full spectrum is ESG-related issues, including environmental regulation and due diligence, supply chain control and transparency, green construction and LEED certification, real estate and zoning, energy and utilities law, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules and requirements, cybersecurity, tax incentives, employment/human resources issues, and government relations. Among the services our team offers are:

  • Strategy: When considering ESG, it is crucial that a company set reasonable expectations, identify risk factors, develop appropriate and achievable goals, and set an effective implementation strategy. Our team offers strategic, business-minded advice and legal counsel to develop ESG best practices tailored to each client’s needs.
  • Compliance: Our compliance services include helping clients develop compliance programs, monitor program implementation, design crisis management plans, and develop long-term strategies to amplify performance and reputation.
  • Reporting: Drawing on our team’s extensive experience representing public companies in securities disclosure and corporate governance matters, we help clients identify relevant ESG standards and requirements, analyze those requirements, and incorporate them into their business practices to meet various disclosure requirements.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Our team is adept at identifying relevant stakeholders, pinpointing their interests, and helping clients engage with those stakeholders in a strategic manner to highlight and advance shared interests.
  • Due Diligence: We help clients integrate ESG diligence into existing diligence tools and processes.
  • Human Capital Considerations: The “S” in ESG has perhaps never carried more weight than it does now. To help our clients address the S, our services include (but are not limited to) helping clients develop and implement diversity, equity, and inclusion programs; handling human capital management disclosures in SEC filings; reviewing and revising workforce policies and programs; addressing issues related to #MeToo; identifying and remedying data vulnerabilities attendant to a remote work environment; and addressing the evolving impact of artificial intelligence.

Whatever your ESG needs may be, Cozen O’Connor is here to help.

 

Publications

ESG Best Practices In The Face Of Increased AG Scrutiny

October 18, 2022

In this Law360 article, Lori Kalani, Mira Baylson and Meghan Stoppel offer businesses commonsense practices to consider, pitfalls to avoid and opportunities related to their ESG plans, policies and procedures.

A Busy Summer: Breaking Down the SEC’s Recent Rule Changes

August 02, 2022

Kathy Jaffari and Paul Hallgren discuss the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) proposed rule on climate disclosures and analyze its recent changes in The Legal Intelligencer.

How Pennsylvania Women Can Achieve Equal Pay

May 24, 2022

Kathy Jaffari co-authored an article published in The Philadelphia Inquirer discussing the wage gap in Pennsylvania and the steps that need to be taken to narrow it. Kathy and her co-author, Judy Berkman, are co-chairs of the Women’s Rights Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Public Companies Brace Yourselves: SEC Issues Game-Changing Rule on Climate-Related Disclosures

April 25, 2022

Mehrnaz Jalali and Rikisha Collins authored an article in The Legal Intelligencer discussing the SEC’s proposed rule on climate-related disclosures and the roles that public companies play in addressing climate change and sustainability.

SEC Issues Proposed Rules For Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures [Alert]

March 23, 2022

Kathy Jaffari and Rikisha Collins discuss the SEC's proposed amendments to Regulation S-K and Regulation S-X to “enhance and standardize registrant’s climate-related disclosures for investors.”

Ceres Guidance for Engaging on Climate Risk Governance and Voting on Directors [Alert]

February 07, 2022

Kathy Jaffari and Rikisha Collins discuss the top 10 guidance based on TCFD “governance” recommended disclosures and the net-zero company benchmark as well as climate action 100+ net-zero company benchmark indicators.

A Look Back and A Glimpse Forward: The SEC’s Agenda [The Legal Intelligencer]

January 24, 2022

Kathy Jaffari and Rikisha Collins authored an article in The Legal Intelligencer that addresses how the initiatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) 2021 rulemaking agenda were instituted, and discusses what to expect from the SEC in 2022.

Insiders and Companies: Reforms to SEC Rule 10b5-1 Trading Plans May Be On the Horizon [The Legal Intelligencer]

November 01, 2021

Kathy Jaffari, Naz Jalali, and Paul Hallgren co-authored an article on recommendations made by the Investor Advisory Committee (IAC) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding changes to the rules with respect to Rule 10b5-1 trading plans in The Legal Intelligencer.

SEC Approves Anticipated Nasdaq Board Diversity Rules [Alert]

August 10, 2021

Rachel Collins Clarke, Mehrnaz Jalali, and Kathy Jaffari discuss Nasdaq's new rules that require Nasdaq-listed companies to either have or explain why they do not have at least two diverse directors.

Inside Scoop: Sustainability & ESG - Tips to Governance & Disclosure

May 05, 2021

Kathy Jaffari is joined by Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chief sustainability officer at Tiffany & Co. and chairman and president of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, to discuss the increasing importance of sustainability and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) within a corporation.

The SEC Continues Its Trajectory on ESG Disclosures

April 29, 2021

Mehrnaz Jalali discusses the SEC's continued trajectory on ESG disclosures despite recent criticism for its failure to compel ESG specific disclosures.

SEC Continues to Signal its Commitment to ESG Disclosures and Reporting [Alert]

March 24, 2021

Mehrnaz Jalali and Kathy Jaffari discuss the SEC's signals over the past six weeks to public companies and investors about its commitment to disclosures and reporting of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

ESG Disclosures: What Is the Current State of Play? [The Legal Intelligencer]

August 03, 2020

Kathy Jaffari and Lindsey Stillwell co-authored an article on companies that are taking various approaches to disclosing the environmental, social, and governance criteria that investors are increasingly using as a metric to evaluate investment opportunities.

Events & Seminars

Upcoming Events

ESG Expectations in Private Equity

December 08, 2022 -

Webinar - December 8, 2022

Past Events

How Does ESG Fit into the Infrastructure Development Plan

November 15, 2022 - Washington D.C.

Learning From a Leader in ESG

September 29, 2022 - Webinar

NACD MN Program: ESG in the Boardroom

June 23, 2022 - Minneapolis, MN

In The News

ESG Best Practices In The Face Of Increased AG Scrutiny

October 18, 2022

In this Law360 article, Lori Kalani, Mira Baylson and Meghan Stoppel offer businesses commonsense practices to consider, pitfalls to avoid and opportunities related to their ESG plans, policies and procedures.

More Than 200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch

August 22, 2022

210 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 24 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

A Busy Summer: Breaking Down the SEC’s Recent Rule Changes

August 02, 2022

Kathy Jaffari and Paul Hallgren discuss the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) proposed rule on climate disclosures and analyze its recent changes in The Legal Intelligencer.

How Pennsylvania Women Can Achieve Equal Pay

May 24, 2022

Kathy Jaffari co-authored an article published in The Philadelphia Inquirer discussing the wage gap in Pennsylvania and the steps that need to be taken to narrow it. Kathy and her co-author, Judy Berkman, are co-chairs of the Women’s Rights Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

ESG in the Boardroom: A Guidebook for Directors

April 26, 2022

Katayun Jaffari, chair of the Corporate Governance Group, co-chair of the Capital Markets & Securities Group, and co-chair of the ESG (environmental social governance) Group, has co-edited a book for the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association titled ESG in the Boardroom, A Guidebook for Directors.

Public Companies Brace Yourselves: SEC Issues Game-Changing Rule on Climate-Related Disclosures

April 25, 2022

Mehrnaz Jalali and Rikisha Collins authored an article in The Legal Intelligencer discussing the SEC’s proposed rule on climate-related disclosures and the roles that public companies play in addressing climate change and sustainability.

SEC Issues Proposed Rules For Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures [Alert]

March 23, 2022

Kathy Jaffari and Rikisha Collins discuss the SEC's proposed amendments to Regulation S-K and Regulation S-X to “enhance and standardize registrant’s climate-related disclosures for investors.”

Ceres Guidance for Engaging on Climate Risk Governance and Voting on Directors [Alert]

February 07, 2022

Kathy Jaffari and Rikisha Collins discuss the top 10 guidance based on TCFD “governance” recommended disclosures and the net-zero company benchmark as well as climate action 100+ net-zero company benchmark indicators.

A Look Back and A Glimpse Forward: The SEC’s Agenda [The Legal Intelligencer]

January 24, 2022

Kathy Jaffari and Rikisha Collins authored an article in The Legal Intelligencer that addresses how the initiatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) 2021 rulemaking agenda were instituted, and discusses what to expect from the SEC in 2022.

Can a Company Be Required to Have a Diverse Board of Directors?

January 12, 2022

Kathy Jaffari discusses the expectation for companies to have a diverse board of directors in SHRM.

Insiders and Companies: Reforms to SEC Rule 10b5-1 Trading Plans May Be On the Horizon [The Legal Intelligencer]

November 01, 2021

Kathy Jaffari, Naz Jalali, and Paul Hallgren co-authored an article on recommendations made by the Investor Advisory Committee (IAC) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding changes to the rules with respect to Rule 10b5-1 trading plans in The Legal Intelligencer.

SEC Approves Anticipated Nasdaq Board Diversity Rules [Alert]

August 10, 2021

Rachel Collins Clarke, Mehrnaz Jalali, and Kathy Jaffari discuss Nasdaq's new rules that require Nasdaq-listed companies to either have or explain why they do not have at least two diverse directors.

Inside Scoop: Sustainability & ESG - Tips to Governance & Disclosure

May 05, 2021

Kathy Jaffari is joined by Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chief sustainability officer at Tiffany & Co. and chairman and president of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, to discuss the increasing importance of sustainability and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) within a corporation.

The SEC Continues Its Trajectory on ESG Disclosures

April 29, 2021

Mehrnaz Jalali discusses the SEC's continued trajectory on ESG disclosures despite recent criticism for its failure to compel ESG specific disclosures.

SEC Continues to Signal its Commitment to ESG Disclosures and Reporting [Alert]

March 24, 2021

Mehrnaz Jalali and Kathy Jaffari discuss the SEC's signals over the past six weeks to public companies and investors about its commitment to disclosures and reporting of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

Cozen O’Connor Makes Strategic Move Adding John D. Shire to Washington, D.C. Health Care Practice

November 02, 2020

Shire brings a deep understanding of federal and state health care regulations and has been instrumental in several of the most well-known transactions in the health care space.

ESG Disclosures: What Is the Current State of Play? [The Legal Intelligencer]

August 03, 2020

Kathy Jaffari and Lindsey Stillwell co-authored an article on companies that are taking various approaches to disclosing the environmental, social, and governance criteria that investors are increasingly using as a metric to evaluate investment opportunities.

Katayun I. Jaffari Joins Cozen O’Connor as Chair of its Corporate Governance & Securities Group

June 01, 2020

Jaffari, whose clients range from life sciences and energy enterprises, to technology and fintech providers across the United States, comes to the firm from Ballard Spahr LLP.

Contacts

Katayun Jaffari

Chair, Corporate Governance
Co-Chair, Capital Markets & Securities
Co-Chair, ESG

kjaffari@cozen.com

(215) 665-4622

John D. Shire

Co-Chair, Health Care
Co-Chair, ESG

jshire@cozen.com

(202) 747-0775

People

Related Practice Areas

Upcoming Event:

ESG Expectations in Private Equity

12/08/2022

Webinar - December 8, 2022

Event Details

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