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Company directors could be held liable for failing to consider climate risks, says legal opinion

Author: Sam Mostyn, Guardian (UK), Published on: 4 November 2016

"The Paris climate agreement is a game-changer – and business risks being left behind," 4 Nov 2016

Two developments this week should bring climate and sustainability-related issues to the top of company board agendas. The first was the release of a legal opinion by Sydney silk Noel Hutley SC that found that directors who don’t properly consider the material impacts of climate change on their business risk personal liability for breach of duty…The second…is the entry into force of the historic Paris agreement on climate change…Hutley’s opinion confirms we now have little choice but to understand how important climate change and sustainability risks are…for our companies, and act accordingly…Companies that aren’t preparing for physical, transition and liability risks now are simply ensuring more destabilising, risky and abrupt changes later…Business leaders should support constructive changes at the level of board governance and government policy to make sure that does not happen…Boards must educate themselves on the best way to identify, disclose and respond to climate and sustainability risks…

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