Sustainability and ESG Group

This is the page of the Sustainability and ESG 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.

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.

Sarah Ellington, Partner, Watson, Farley & Williams

Sarah Ellington is a recognised expert on disputes relating to environmental, social and human rights issues. Sarah has been ranked for Business and Human Rights – Global Business Leaders in Chambers Global for the past three years. Sarah 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”. Chambers Global 2020 described her as “very good at explaining and joining up the dots to help clients see the bigger picture” and noted “so much admiration for her unflappability”.

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. 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, General Counsel, Stelia and ICONIC Networks

Technology lawyer with a passion for innovative tech and new ways of working. Believes in the power of mentoring, and the legal profession's responsibility to give knowledge back to the community in which it practices.

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. 

Patrick Follan, Trainee Solicitor, Slaughter & May

Patrick is a trainee solicitor at Slaughter and May, having started his training contract in September 2021 after completing his LLB and PhD at the University of Edinburgh. During his training contract Patrick has become involved in a range of ESG work across his pensions, employment, incentives and corporate seats. This has included, for example, assisting in the preparation of advice and guidance on the specific climate-related disclosure obligations of pension schemes and large corporates and considering how the ESG-related obligations of businesses are enforced through a range of regulatory frameworks. 

Within the group, Patrick’s general area of focus is the intersection between the rapidly developing fields of ESG and commercial technology. Particular areas of interest include the application of existing and forthcoming disclosure regimes to technology businesses, the growing importance of ‘greenwashing’ as a test of sustainability related claims, and the use of litigation to enforce compliance by a business with its ESG obligations and commitments. 

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