Unique ESG law group launches in Vancouver

New practice group to cater to an international market

McMillan partner Stephen Wortley (left) and associate Ravi Bains lead the firm’s new practice group, focused on ESG and sustainability | Rob Kruyt

This brief was originally published in BIV Magazine's Climate Change issue.

The number of companies offering sustainability-focused services and advice has exploded, as boards, corporate leaders and investors increasingly focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).

Fasken, McCarthy Tétrault, Borden Ladner Gervais and Norton Rose Fulbright are just a few of the many Canadian law firms that house climate change, sustainability, environmental or ESG practice areas, and all have at least one partner in Vancouver.

Last month, McMillan LLP was among the latest to launch an expanded ESG and sustainability practice group. The group is led by two Vancouver-based lawyers who say the group is unique in its approach.

“We will be setting up a one-of-a-kind-in-Canada practice dedicated exclusively to sustainability and ESG,” says Ravi Bains, a McMillan associate and one of group’s leaders alongside Stephen Wortley, partner, capital markets and securities.

To Bains’ knowledge, McMillan is the first Canadian law firm to offer ESG services to an international market.

The group will support entrepreneurs tackling issues related to climate change, help large companies become more sustainable, work with capital providers looking for exposure in the sustainability space and offer government relations, among other services.

“In my experience, a lot of these companies are looking for not only opportunities in British Columbia and the United States, but are looking for advisors that provide that international reach to other markets,” says Wortley.

“Those companies have to have an ESG mindset,” Wortley adds. “The whole cleantech ecosystem in Vancouver is something that really requires lawyers that are comfortable in ESG to advise them.”

Read more: The evolution of climate accounting

This brief was originally published in the April 2021 issue of BIV Magazine. The digital magazine can be read in full here.