• GL
Choose your location?
  • Global Global
  • Australia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Qatar
  • Spain
  • UAE
  • UK

Time for boards to turn and face climate ch-ch-ch-ch-changes?

10 October 2018
DWF is hosting a Chatham House Rule Market Led seminar, discussing: Insuring D&O Risks in 2019 & Beyond – Testing Times for Corporate Governance & Coverage?  

The Cowardly Lion (upon noticing the snow that had fallen on the poppy field): Unusual weather we're having, ain't it?  [The Wizard of Oz, MGM, 1939]

 

Eighty years on, the lion's words resonate with the freshness of morning dew.

Heatwaves and floods, earthquakes and storms: this year's rainbow of weather events demanded a good deal of the political classes' attention.  But to what degree should climatic conditions outside the boardroom concern corporate leaders and their D&O insurers?  Do corporate musings and commitments on the topic amount to no more than jaded virtue signalling, or are they necessary elements in 21st century corporate governance's sine qua non? Judicial observations hint at an intriguing weathervane.

 

In R. (on the application of People & Planet) v HM Treasury [1], the claimant sought judicial review of the Treasury's approach to its investment in the RBS, arguing the existence of a legitimate expectation that when the government exercises its powers, it does so with a view to preventing public money being spent on projects that have the most obviously detrimental impact on climate change.  The application failed, but nonetheless provides food for thought.  One wonders, for example, what might be the outcome, if similar arguments were to be framed in a shareholders' derivative claim. 

 

And what about employees? In Grainger plc & others v Nicholson [2], Burton J concluded that a genuinely held belief in man-made climate change, and in moral imperatives alleged to flow from that change, are capable of constituting a philosophical belief for the purposes of bringing a claim under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.

 

As Climate Change 100+[3] drives on, it doesn't seem beyond the bounds that the direction of traffic will be for this terrain to receive increased scrutiny by the courts.

 

Boardrooms may no longer be impermeable to the climate.  Time for Ch-ch-changes?

 

 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Turn and face the strange

Ch-ch-changes  [David Bowie, Changes, Hunky Dory, 1971]

 

 

If you would like to receive an invitation to attend the Chatham House Rule Market Led seminar, discussing: Insuring D&O Risks in 2019 & Beyond – Testing Times for Corporate Governance & Coverage?, then please email jennifer.coyle@dwf.law



[1] [2009] EWHC 3020 (Admin)

[2] UKEAT/0219/09; [2010] IRLR 4

Further Reading

We use cookies to give you the best user experience on our website. Please let us know if you accept our use of cookies.

Manage cookies

Your Privacy

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. We mainly use this information to ensure the site works as you expect it to, and to learn how we can improve the experience in the future. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change permissions. However, blocking some types of cookies may prevent certain site functionality from working as expected

Functional cookies

(Required)

These cookies let you use the website and are required for the website to function as expected.

These cookies are required

Tracking cookies

Anonymous cookies that help us understand the performance of our website and how we can improve the website experience for our users. Some of these may be set by third parties we trust, such as Google Analytics.

They may also be used to personalise your experience on our website by remembering your preferences and settings.

Marketing cookies

These cookies are used to improve and personalise your experience with our brands. We may use these cookies to show adverts for our products, or measure the performance of our adverts.