There is a growing importance of corporate responsibility and sustainability. Countries across the world are focusing on sustainable development. The American lawyers drafted laws and helped their clients to implement them in their business.
Moreover, experts and NGOs presented many conferences and seminars on companies’ responsibility for society and the economy. Additionally, many general counsels, in-house counsels, also shared their insightful explanation about corporate responsibility and sustainability. Here is how Douglas Healy explains the concept and its importance for lawyers.
Lawyers play an essential role in sustainable development. Here is what lawyers and corporates should know about it.
Corporate responsibility refers to the long-term sustainability of a company. Businesses must be accountable for the wellbeing of society and the economy while focusing on the company’s objective. Some of the major sustainable issues of the businesses are related to:
- Human rights
- Child labor
- Unhealthy working conditions
- Health and safety
- Diversity and inclusion
- Cybersecurity and privacy
The key difference between the companies who can tackle these problems than those who cannot handle these problems is “transparency.” Thus, general counsel and business lawyers must comply with corporate responsibility than mere legal compliance.
First of all, lawyers should understand corporate responsibility and sustainability early. All the legal institutions and schools should teach lawyers about these concepts. As a result, future lawyers can provide strategic advice to their clients. It will help businesses for long-term sustainability.
There is a different approach for businesses than general legal services. So the law schools should include corporate responsibility and teach aspiring lawyers about legal business strategy. Lawyers must comply with the norms and standards of the companies that are beyond the general laws.
It’s a fact that businesses cannot be profitable if they don’t adopt sustainability. Lawyers should help their clients to strategically implement corporate responsibility. They should ensure that company’s objectives are also aligning with the social responsibilities.
It’s a general misconception among lawyers that legal strategy is different. Here one thing to note that the term legal strategy and sustainability are not different. They are the same and focused on the sustainable development of the business. Sustainability goes beyond mere laws and includes a broader aspect of society and the economy.
Corporate responsibility is an opportunity for the in-house counsel and general counsel to address the social inequality issues. Along with that, it also helps to deal with issues such as unequal access to big data and justice problems. General counsel plays the most vital role in addressing the problems by collaborating with the in-house legal departments of a company.
Moreover, when businesses are equipped with corporate responsibilities, they stay ahead of their competitors. It drives more consumers to the company, and citizens will like to stay with the companies for a long time. So businesses can use this as an opportunity to sustain and remain competitive in the market.
General counsel not just represent a particular executive; they represent the whole business. Corporate sustainability includes the value proposition of a company across a wide range of business matters. It covers almost all the crucial issues of the business and provides a strategic solution for the long term.
Again, the general counsel can proactively align with the corporate strategy of the company by adopting sustainability. They can leverage their role and drive sustainable initiatives effectively. They can give practical advice to the in-house legal counsels about social responsibilities.
Businesses have a major impact on society and the economy. As people are becoming aware of the social responsibilities of business, it’s crucial for the companies to adopt corporate sustainability strategies to survive. Otherwise, companies may lose their potential in the long run.
Thus companies must adopt and proactively implement the sustainability efforts effectively and efficiently. General counsels must fully engage in the process and ensure that companies are accountable for the problems.
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