Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are not only reshaping the global regulatory and investment environment – they are also an emerging battleground for international disputes, according to White & Case partner, Jonathan Hamilton, who chaired the recent GAR Live/Latin Lawyer Arbitration Summit in Miami, and gave remarks on "the ESG era."
As reported in Global Arbitration Review, Hamilton stated that "the world is at a 'pivot point' where the post-Cold War consensus based on free markets and globalization has been eroded" due to factors such as climate change, corruption scandals, the Covid-19 pandemic and the return of war in Europe. At the same time, ESG issues are receiving increased attention in the public and private sectors.
Hamilton stated that contemporary international arbitration emerged from and has depended on "the globalization era" that followed the Cold War. Looking ahead, "the disruption of globalization and growth of ESG will 'reshape' arbitration" as it adapts to a new era and new issues.
He underscored that the field of arbitration is already "well positioned to adapt to this disruptive era" by pioneering disputes in the ESG field over the past two decades, and adapting arbitral practice to a new era.
White & Case counsel Marièle Coulet-Diaz also spoke at the summit in a session on climate change concerns, noting Latin America is quickly becoming a target for investment treaty disputes with environmental factors due to biodiversity and a wide array of natural resources.
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