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Identifying and reporting on ESG risks in a pandemic

This article was first published in the May 2021 edition of The Law Society of NSW Journal.

The emergence and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent impacts have created a unique set of challenges for business. 

Among them is identifying, assessing and addressing the particular risks and vulnerabilities that may have emerged as a result of extraordinarily disrupted supply chains, disconnection from colleagues, and shifts in the ‘new normal’. These disruptions have amplified existing vulnerabilities in social inequalities and human rights issues, including racial and gender discrimination, and exposed risks to climate change.

Whether it’s a result of the heightened sensitivities arising from the pandemic, or the ongoing steady increase in community and market expectation, organisations are facing more scrutiny on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk reporting than ever before. A new generation of activists is using the courts and non-judicial mechanisms such as the OECD Contact Points to raise complaints and force changes in behaviour. Institutional investors are requiring transparency and accountability. Regulators, shareholders and communities are mobilising to demand social and environmental responsibility.

We reflect on four key reporting areas particularly affected by COVID-19 that require the focus and attention of organisations in order to meet ESG expectations and avoid reputational and financial consequences.

You can access a copy of Identifying & reporting on ESG risks in the midst of a pandemic online, or click ‘DOWNLOAD PDF’.

This article has been reproduced with permission from The Law Society of NSW. For further information please visit: https://lsj.com.au/


Dr Phoebe Wynn-Pope

Head of Responsible Business and ESG

Sophie Uhlhorn

Special Counsel


Responsible Business and ESG

This publication is introductory in nature. Its content is current at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should always obtain legal advice based on your specific circumstances before taking any action relating to matters covered by this publication. Some information may have been obtained from external sources, and we cannot guarantee the accuracy or currency of any such information.

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