During Bracewell’s recent energy roundtable with journalists, partner Alistair Calvert alerted directors that they may be at the sharp end of companies facing increased litigation over their responses to climate change. Energy Voice laid out the case made by Calvert.
“I expect more litigation relating to ESG disclosures and claims seeking to make individuals personally liable,” Calvert said. He cited ClientEarth’s case targeting the board of Shell. The accusations allege the directors have failed to properly prepare for the energy transition.
“The accusation is of a failing to adopt a climate change strategy that is in line with the Paris Agreement,” added Calvert. “These will be hard cases to win, but one reason they are brought is to generate publicity.”
Another area ripe for litigation noted by Calvert was on greenwashing cases. There, Energy Voice reported Calvert citing the recent case against Santos and its stated ambitions to reach net zero by 2040.
While such cases tend to be driven by activist groups, regulators are also taking action. The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) Green Claims Code and Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are “also cracking down on misleading environmental claims in adverts,” said Calvert.