report May 2022

Law departments are facing pressure on sustainability matters that are challenging them in new ways, further complicated by often ambiguous guidance from regulators and competing goals within the business itself. Findings reveal that general counsel are well positioned to play an important role helping build the partnerships, goals, guidelines and governance frameworks that will help organizations address the sustainability imperatives they face.

The key findings of the 2022 General Counsel Sustainability Study reveal that law departments are facing a broad set of pressures from stakeholders on sustainability matters that are challenging them in new ways, including:

  • General Counsel report that changing public attitudes are reshaping their organization’s risk profile, but their leadership does not fully appreciate the implications.
  • Reputational risks linked to sustainability are causing law departments to rapidly expand their focus into areas traditionally managed by other parts of the business.
  • Law departments’ expanded remit is causing them to become more involved in day-to-day decision-making and increase their collaboration across business functions.
  • General Counsel’s most significant sustainability challenge is advising leadership on matters where the public’s expectations exceed the organization’s legal and regulatory obligations.
  • Law departments don’t have the necessary talent and budget to handle increasing workloads linked to sustainability and are split on how to handle those challenges.

The role of the law department in ESG issues is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace. We are constantly re-evaluating how involved we need to be and how we partner with different parts of the business.

Damon Hart, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, Liberty Mutual Insurance


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