ESG and Sustainability Group

This is the page of the ESG and Sustainability Group

Sustainability and technology go hand-in-hand. Increasingly, innovation through tech is considered the best way to attempt to avert the environmental and social crisis that we face. Although ‘sustainability’ is a broad term, concerns are commonly grouped into Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria. The global sustainability agenda and acceleration of ESG initiatives are driven by the need to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The pandemic has caused a major setback in progress but it has also raised awareness of the magnitude of the crisis we face and the need to take urgent action. Operating within meaningful ESG criteria and frameworks is becoming non-negotiable as this landscape continues to evolve. 

Technology lawyers are at the heart of this evolution by being called upon to advise and facilitate change, both for their external clients and also within their own organisations (in-house and private practice). As innovation and disruptive technologies enable action to meet the SDGs, the need for robust legal frameworks, policy and regulation will only grow. It is also likely that sustainability and ESG criteria will become even more integrated in business, law and society as progress continues to be made.

Core areas of interest

  • Disruptive technologies for the greater good: blockchain, electric vehicles, IoT
  • Privacy and data protection, including AI, ethics and security
  • Tech’s role in decarbonisation/net zero
  • Sustainability in food/supply chains: smart farming/foodtech, renewables
  • ESG investing/Sustainable Finance
  • Navigating/addressing potential disputes relating to the above

Group Chair
Sarah Hill, Senior Associate, Bristows LLP

Sarah is an experienced Commercial and Technology Disputes lawyer who focuses on litigation project management. She regularly advises on and manages intensive commercial and technology disputes at all stages of litigation and arbitration.

Sarah has a strong interest in sustainability, particularly Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) and the Circular Economy. She is an Associate Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and a member of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. Sarah is also actively involved in numerous CRS initiatives at Bristows LLP, where she is a Senior Associate.

Ben Kaplinsky, Director of Law and Technology, Kingfisher PLC

Ben Kaplinsky is lead technology counsel at FTSE 100 company Kingfisher PLC. He has a long standing fascination with rainforests and rainforest protection and was recently delighted to be asked to draft the contract that allocated £2m of funding to the Rainforest Alliance on behalf of Kingfisher as part of an initiative to protect 320,000 hectares of rainforests in Costa Rica, Peru, Cameroon and Indonesia.  He has also provided legal advice to the environmental consultancy Systemiq in relation to the rainforest protection programme in Brazil. He has a particular interest in the many ways that technological innovation can deliver solutions to environmental degradation and believes that lawyers have a very important role to play in the global journey to net zero.

Damian Croker, Arbitrator, Mediator and CEO, LegalTech

Co-founder ODRPlat Limited, the developer of the first carbon neutral dispute resolution platform. Started in the technology sector 30 years ago as a Contracts Officer at Thorn EMI Electronics. Worked in progressively senior roles in a wide range of technology areas including electronics, mobile, telecoms, internet infrastructure, cyber security and software applications. 
Campaign for Greener Arbitrations Global Steering Committee Member and Chair of the Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Committee. Society for Computers and Law Sustainability and ESG Committee Member. Signatory to the Arbitration, Mediation and Litigation Green Pledges. 
Regular speaker and writer on technology, dispute resolution and UN Sustainability Goals. Sits regularly as an arbitrator and mediator.

Dr Andrew Agapiou
, Senior Lecturer and Director of Professional Studies, University of Strathclyde

Dr Andrew Agapiou is a Senior Lecturer & Researcher at the Architecture School, University of Strathclyde. He combines his academic background in Construction Law & Project Management with over 25 years of industrial experience helping construction clients to develop their Environmental, Social and Governance Strategies, Policies and Procedures.  

Steve Wallace, Director, Simply Moose Ltd

Steve is a freelance project delivery specialist, consultant and advisor with over three decades of experience in delivering technical and business solutions primarily for the UK Government. He is interested in the ways technology can both help and hinder individuals, businesses and government in addressing the sustainability challenges that affect us all.

Kevin McDade, Senior Solicitor, Burness Paull LLP

Kevin McDade is a senior solicitor at Burness Paull, working in the Technology and Commercial team, where he advises on a wide range of technology, data protection and intellectual property issues. Kevin is also a director at the Scottish Society for Computers and Law and has previously spent time on secondment at a large retail energy provider.

Dr Robin Callender Smith, Barrister and Honorary Professor of Media Law, QMUL

Dr Robin Callender Smith is Honorary Professor of Media Law at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL), a barrister and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

He is a print and online media lawyer for The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and The Sun on Sunday and a specialist TMT arbitrator, mediator and adjudicator through ARBITA. He is a data privacy expert and former Information Rights Tribunal Judge. He is an editor of Sweet & Maxwell’s Encyclopaedia of Data Protection and Privacy and the author of Celebrity and Royal Privacy, the Media and the Law.

He is an SCL Panel Adjudicator and is an Independent Adjudicator for the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA). 

Alessandro Galtieri, Deputy General Counsel, Colt Technology Service Group Ltd

Alessandro is Deputy General Counsel and Group Data Protection Officer at Colt, a Fidelity-owned network and data centre services company active in more than 30 countries globally. He is qualified in England, Ireland, and Italy; is a Chartered Governance Professional (ACG), and a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/E).  Alessandro has extensive experience in the high-tech space, with roles at Hexagon (world leader in design, measurement and visualisation technologies), the European Space Agency, and Interoute Communications, now GTT. He attended Rome University "La Sapienza", the University of Law, and the Hague Academy of International Law. 

In 2015 he was awarded Country Representative of the Year for the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC, the world’s largest association of in-house lawyers). In 2019 Alessandro was recognised by Legal500 as Data Protection Individual of the Year. Since 2012, he serves on the Law Society Technology and Law Committee, which provides guidance on the impact of new technologies on the legal profession. He is a UK Council Member for CLOC, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium.

Dr Rónán Kennedy, School of Law, National University of Ireland

Dr Rónán Kennedy was educated at NUI Galway, the King’s Inns, New York University, and University College London. He has published extensively on environmental law, information technology law, and other topics, and is co-author of two textbooks. He has a background in information technology and information systems, and spent much of the 1990s as a programmer, analyst and webmaster. He was Executive Legal Officer to the Chief Justice of Ireland, Mr Justice Ronan Keane, from 2000 to 2004. He was a member of the Advisory Committee of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2016 to 2019.

Sarah Ellington, Legal Director, DLA Piper

Sarah Ellington is a recognised expert on disputes relating to environmental, social and human rights issues. She is described in Chambers Global 2021 as a “very skilful litigator” and “a forward-looking lawyer” and is highlighted for her “pioneering mediation expertise in the field of business and human rights”. She is also recognised for ESG in the Legal 500 ranking for Commercial Disputes – Premium.  

She is one of only a few lawyers to combine experience on complex and high-profile group litigation with advising on complaints to non-judicial mechanisms, such as OECD National Contact points, UN Special Procedures mandates and private, sector-based accountability mechanisms. She also has experience drafting and developing novel mechanisms in this field. Sarah uses this experience to advise clients on managing liability and disputes risks in the context of compliance and regulatory advice and works with clients across several sectors on related risk management, governance and crisis management in corporate transactions, commercial contracts, project development and financing.  

Sarah is a co-creator with Legal Innovation for Sustainable Investments (LISI), focusing on stakeholder management issues within impact investment. Sarah led DLA Piper’s gender-balance network in the UK for nearly 10 years setting strategy and overseeing implementation, and leading the firm to win the Best Diversity Initiative for an International Firm at the Euromoney Women in Business Law (Europe) Awards for 5 years running. She was shortlisted for the Chambers Diversity and Inclusion Europe Awards 2019.

Francesca Lofts, Senior Legal Counsel - Data Technology & Procurement, Legal & Business Affairs, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

Francesca is Senior Legal Counsel in the Data Protection, Technology and Procurement team at Cambridge University Press & Assessment. She has a strong general commercial background and knowledge of end-to-end supply chain issues, international distribution and e-commerce and digital products. 

Francesca is interested in becoming empowered to deliver real change for her organisation and others in terms of Sustainability and she is currently working on implementing climate drafting into her organisation’s templates.

Imogen Armstrong, Associate, Stevens & Bolton LLP

Imogen is a technology and data-focused commercial associate at Guildford based firm Stevens & Bolton. Her experience and client base currently tends towards the creators/sellers of technology services or products, together with all the varied legal, technical and (sometimes) ethical questions working with this client base can entail.

She is passionate about innovative tech and new ways of working, having previously worked on an innovation-focused advisory committee reporting directly to her previous firm’s Transatlantic Board. She believes in the importance of the legal community giving back to the society it practices within, and sees the opportunities for this within the ESG movement in particular.

Ruth Keating, Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers

Ruth acts in and advises on a variety of environmental and commercial law cases. She is an editor of the Sweet & Maxwell Environmental Law Bulletins and has co-authored, with Nigel Pleming QC, the chapter on Climate Change Litigation in the UK in the recently published book ‘Climate Change Litigation: Global Perspectives’. She was previously a researcher at the Law Commission and a Judicial Assistant to Lady Arden and Lord Kitchin at the Supreme Court.

Anastasia Frolova, Associate, Commercial & Technology, Deloitte Legal

Ralph Giles, Associate, Bristows LLP

Ralph is an Associate Solicitor in the Commercial & IP Transactions team at Bristows. He has a keen interest in new technology and after completing a degree in chemistry, he converted to law. It is against this background that he hopes to contribute to this exciting new project with SCL. 

Ralph has experience across a variety of ESG areas, on both a human and environmental level, including advising on compliance with modern slavery and human trafficking legislation and working with companies in transactions to develop technology using green solutions. He believes that emerging technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, will play a key role in tackling the existential environmental issues that we are facing today.

Society for Computers and Law A company limited by guarantee 1133537 Registered Charity No. 266331 VAT Registration No. 115 4840 85 Registered in England and Wales Registered office: Unit 4.5, Paintworks, Arnos Vale, Bristol, BS4 3EH, UK.

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