Woodsford is a leading ESG business. We have helped many thousands of investors, consumers and other stakeholders engage with major corporations in relation to serious breakdowns in environmental, social and corporate governance standards. Ultimately, we help hold these companies to account, and we help those affected by ESG breakdowns to secure compensation.
We are particularly well-known for working with institutional shareholders in public companies in collective, escalated engagement, up to and including litigation.
Shareholders in public companies can exert influence in three key ways.
- Shareholders are increasingly using their votes to drive positive behaviour at investee companies. Shareholder democracy helps drive up ESG standards.
- The second lever of control, the ability to sell their shares, is available to an ever-decreasing number of shareholders. Divesting is often not an option for index tracking investors, even in the face of egregious breakdowns of ESG.
- When social values and shareholder value are harmed by, for example, ill treatment of workers in the supply chain for the sake of fast fashion, money laundering and terrorist financing at banks, or bribery and corruption within mining or manufacturing companies, there is a third option. Escalated, collective engagement, up to and including litigation, is a powerful tool, which often offers the best route to accountability for past wrongs, deterrent of future misconduct, and compensation.
Woodsford’s ESG business helps investors collaborate, and Woodsford’s ESG-focused litigation funding means that investors need take no financial risk in pursuing their claims. The opt-in nature of such litigation in London and many other jurisdictions outside the U.S. effectively provides a ‘special ESG dividend’ for those investors prepared to speak up, if (as they almost always do) the litigation results in a financial settlement.
Woodsford is a leader in ESG and shareholder engagement, a part of our business that has grown from our longstanding access to justice and litigation funding business.
Woodsford works with several hundred institutional investors, including many of the world’s largest asset managers, on cases where there have been catastrophic breakdowns in ESG at public equity, investee companies.
The investors we work with understand the need to pursue collaborative (i.e. jointly with other investors), escalated engagement with investee companies, sometimes up to and including litigation, where there have been significant ESG failings. These steps are required by the UN Principles of Responsible Investment, and other similar stewardships codes, to which most major investors are signatories.
Woodsford has a particular focus on public equity investments in companies listed on the LSE (London), Euronext (Europe), ASX (Australia) and TSE/TYO (Tokyo). We are particularly successful in helping to resolve investors’ ESG concerns, and to recoup significant compensation for those investors, without need to pursue litigation. However, sometimes litigation becomes necessary to ensure accountability, and we are currently backing ongoing litigations in England, the Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland and Japan.