Regulations concerning environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) globally have made progress in recent years, with legalisation compelling mining companies to meet specific ESG targets.
However, women-led energy, natural resources and infrastructure law firm LNP Attorneys aims to accelerate the ESG efforts of South African companies so as to reach the goal of reduced carbon emissions and assist companies in addressing social concerns and improving corporate governance.
With more than 80% of the lawyers in the firm being women, LNP Attorneys CE Nikita Lalla notes that there are social issues which the attorneys are passionate about and which need to be addressed, such as women experiencing sexual harassment or victimisation in the workplace. For example, the rollout of employment equity training in the workplace, for example policy reviews, management sensitisation training.
On a pro-bono level, LNP Attorneys has partnered with the TEARS Foundation to offer legal assistance to victims of gender-based violence. LNP provides support for the duration of a case from start to conclusion, covering all legal costs including lawyer’s and counsel fees. In addition, financial support as well as office equipment is supplied in order to support the smooth running of the organisation.
Another issue that the organisation feels strongly about is the environmental aspect of ESG: “We want to assist in aligning South Africa’s sustainability goals with those stipulated in the 2015 Climate Change Conference Paris Agreement aimed at meeting the 2050 climate change targets,” says Lalla.
The ultimate goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement – which will be further discussed in the upcoming Conference of the Parties (CoP) Climate Change Conference in Scotland, in October – is to plateau global warming, focusing on keeping global average temperatures below 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels.
During the initial stages of a project, LNP Attorneys help clients in terms of their reporting structures and sustainability disclosures, tracking their progress in infrastructure efficiency and other United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, such as increased diversity and inclusion, explains Lalla. From there, LNP Attorneys assists clients with initiatives aimed at reducing both energy and water consumption, increased community development and improving diversity policies. We look at the initiative holistically from the first to last stage of its life cycle with a focus on improving a company’s ESG compliance.
With the increased focus on renewable energy, mining becomes increasingly important on various levels and with it mining companies’ focus on ESG . A number of the metals used in renewable energy are mined on the African continent. “This will ensure the continued growth of the mining sector on the African continent,” says Lalla.
This will, hopefully, result in increased funding of projects aimed at meeting ESG targets on water and energy efficiency, as well as those aiming to increase compensation, diversity and inclusivity, concludes Lalla.