This morning Pérez-Llorca hosted a presentation of its book “Estudios Jurídicos sobre Sostenibilidad: Cambio Climático y Criterios ESG en España y la Unión Europea” (Legal Studies on Sustainability: Climate Change and ESG Criteria in Spain and the European Union) in an event attended by Alberto de Gregorio, Director at the Legal Service of the Council of the European Union, Santiago Martínez Garrido, General Secretary and Secretary of the Board of Directors of Iberdrola, as well as Pérez-Llorca partners Sonsoles Centeno and José María de Paz.
The book examines, from a multidisciplinary corporate and legal perspective, the main issues related to the new regulatory corpus on sustainability, which is being developed by the European Union within the framework of the European Green Pact. It also provides a preliminary overview of European climate change policy, which affects all economic sectors and legal specialities, and examines some of the most significant matters emerging from this new reality.
The firm’s senior partner Pedro Pérez-Llorca opened the event, and noted that “this book was created with a dual purpose: on the one hand, we seek to contribute to the competitiveness of our companies in an economic environment in which the implementation of ESG criteria will be a key element in attracting investment, and on the other hand, we aim to contribute to the firm’s goal of building a culture of knowledge through the construction and dissemination of the law.”
Director of the Legal Service of the Council of the European Union Alberto de Gregorio then took the floor, stressing that “We should commend this book, which has, among many other things, the value of solidifying the concept of sustainability, which often lends itself to poorly defined and imprecise usage, through rigorous and exhaustive study. The regulation of sustainable development is part of a new paradigm of EU law, one which has responded to the multiple crises that the EU has experienced in recent years, including the climate emergency. The importance of sustainability lies in the multidimensional nature attributed to it by the treaties themselves: it is not a sectoral policy, rather a common value which is to permeate all the Union’s policies“.
Secretary General and Secretary of the Board of Directors of Iberdrola Santiago Martínez Garrido indicated that “promoting the rule of law must take shape through soft law instruments, which allow the establishment of a true ‘sustainable climate governance’ in which companies are the drivers of a necessary and essential change to achieve neutrality in carbon emissions. Solely complying with what the law prescribes is not good corporate governance: this is done by going further and voluntarily undertaking commitments in addition to those that are strictly mandatory”.
Sonsoles Centeno, partner of Pérez-Llorca’s European Union and Competition Law practice area and Managing Partner of the firm’s Brussels office, emphasised that “with its new regulation on ‘sustainability’, the European Union is changing the European economic and social model. Today, the fight against climate change is no longer just a project, but a reality with concrete obligations for companies, which economic operators cannot ignore, either in the short or long term, as no sector is left out of this change”.
The conference ended with comments from José María de Paz, ESG Criteria and Climate Change Regulation partner at Pérez-Llorca and editor of this book, who stressed that it “does not intend to assess the European sustainability policy, but has been prepared with the aim of carrying out an analysis to provide the legal tools that serve to understand this new regulation. In the book we analyse the main issues raised by the two legal principles at the heart of this new legislation: transparency (European Taxonomy Regulation, Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, among others) and due diligence (Proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence). We also address the impact that climate change and ESG criteria may have on other areas such as data protection, claims for damages, insurance, company acquisitions and competition law”.