UK: Company directors could be held liable for failing to address climate change, says ClientEarth

Author: James Thornton, ClientEarth, on Guardian (UK), Published on: 9 October 2015

“Why we'll sue CEOs who ignore climate change”, 8 Oct 2015

[T]he effects of climate change on business performance are everywhere – and it’s time corporate leaders consider the implications for their organisation, or face the consequences…Those directors who ignore this risk not only damaging their organisations, but could face legal action holding them personally responsible for their negligence.  Accepted wisdom says that business’s short-term mindset and its need to make returns for shareholders make it ill-equipped to take on climate change, the greatest threat facing humanity…If directors fail to manage the impact of climate change on their businesses, they could be found personally liable for losses incurred by their shareholders…Litigation will not stem only from physically affected parties but also those with a financial interest…The Companies Act 2006 codifies directors’ duties in law for the first time.  They must “promote the success of the company”, first by considering “the likely consequences of any decision in the long term”.  Failing to plan for climate change is incompatible with this and other duties and leaves directors open to legal challenge…[Refers to Goldman Sachs, Kellogg, Mars, Nestlé, Shell, Unilever]

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Related companies: Goldman Sachs Kellogg Mars Nestlé Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) Unilever