The Legal 500 Green Guide: EMEA 2024

Head of the Compliance & CSR Group at Gorrissen Federspiel, Camilla Collet discusses the significance of the forthcoming Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), and the importance of embracing a sustainability mindset across all legal practice areas.


What made you decide to become involved in sustainability issues?

My interest in human rights and policy matters, cultivated during my student days, gradually evolved into a broader interest for sustainability issues. It has been professionally fulfilling to assist clients in navigating these increasingly complex and transformative regulations, that we are experiencing.

What has been your proudest professional moment since you became involved in this space?

One standout moment has been witnessing the enthusiasm and diverse range of ideas generated by our internal team of volunteers, as they brainstormed initiatives for our firm’s journey towards greater sustainability.

We advise clients in respect of sustainability issues across all practice areas. We are second to none when it comes to advising organisations doing business in Denmark with regards to especially Renewable & Alternative Energy Projects, Decarbonisation of the shipping industry, Green Finance, and Corporate Sustainability. It has been a highlight for me getting the positive feedback from clients, recognizing our efforts to keep them at the forefront of the ESG and sustainability agenda.

What has been your biggest professional challenge working on sustainability matters and what did you learn from it?

 At Gorrissen Federspiel, both our clients and our lawyers rightfully expect us to operate in a manner that exemplifies responsibility and sustainability. They seek a partnership with a law firm that mirrors their ethical standards, embodies clear values, and pursues a defined purpose, while also taking full accountability for its impacts. As we advise companies on their sustainable transformation journeys, we are concurrently undergoing our own. 

We have, alongside many of our clients launched an internal project to prepare for implementing the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). This undertaking has become a cornerstone of our commitment to sustainability, serving as a catalyst for innovation and learning that not only benefit our firm but also empower us to better serve our clients. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing clients in the area of ESG/climate change/sustainability right now?

The biggest challenge facing clients in the realm of ESG, climate change, and sustainability right now is the rapidly evolving landscape of regulations and standards. Much like the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), navigating these complexities presents a challenging task, but on an even larger scale. 

The sheer volume and pace at which new regulations and reporting requirements are being introduced can overwhelm even the most diligent organisations. Staying on top of these rules and ensuring compliance demands significant resources and expertise. Moreover, the multifaceted nature of ESG issues requires access to knowledgeable internal and external experts who can provide guidance on a wide range of topics spanning environmental impact, social responsibility, and governance practices. 

For clients, the challenge lies not only in understanding the intricacies of individual regulations but also in integrating them into their broader business strategies. This requires a holistic approach that goes beyond mere compliance to encompass proactive risk management, stakeholder engagement, and value creation. 

In this dynamic and challenging landscape, success relies on the ability to adapt quickly, leverage available expertise, and embrace sustainability as a strategic imperative rather than a regulatory burden.  

Within your market, what has been the most transformative change regarding sustainability, and how would you assess its impact on both the green transition and the nature of your practice?

The most transformative change in our market regarding sustainability is the anticipated adoption of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). The directive is expected to revolutionise not only how EU companies operate but also how we conduct business. Its impact will extend across all facets of our clients’ organisations and our own, touching upon the board of directors, leadership, sales, procurement, finance, legal departments, and virtually every individual involved in the value chain. 

Compliance with the directive demands a collective effort to align with its specific requirements. This entails a fundamental shift in mindset and practices, where sustainability considerations become integral to decision-making processes at every level of the organisation. 

Looking forward, what do you think is the most important change that still needs to happen in your practice area in connection with the green transition?

It is hard to pinpoint the most important change. The bar will continue to be lifted over the coming years, so it will for the legal industry, as for many others, be imperative that we adopt a sustainability mindset across legal practice areas. As the urgency of addressing sustainability related challenges grow, ongoing adaptation and elevation of standards within the legal sector will be essential. This entails continuous refinement of regulatory frameworks, and the legal sector can play a pivotal role in this area. 

What advice would you give to those who want to get to where you have??

In the future, we will all become ESG lawyers. This statement reflects the evolving landscape of the legal profession, where environmental, social, and governance considerations are becoming increasingly intertwined with legal practice across various sectors. Embracing a career in sustainability law offers aspiring lawyers the opportunity to be at the forefront of this transformative shift, and it will undoubtedly be an interesting journey. 

What is the best part of being a lawyer working on sustainability issues?

The best part of being a lawyer working on sustainability issues lies in the opportunity to collaborate with highly engaged and motivated individuals. Whether within legal teams, client organisations, or broader stakeholder networks, the passion and commitment of those working towards sustainability goals are palpable. This shared dedication fosters a dynamic and inspiring work environment, where collective efforts are fuelled by a common purpose: to create positive impact and drive sustainable practices forward. 

Camilla C. Collet

Partner and Head of Compliance & CSR Group | Gorrissen Federspiel

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