Green Guide Profile: DLA Piper Chile


DLA Piper Chile is looking to integrate ESG across its legal offering and monitors the state of ESG across the region via its LatAm ESG taskforce, which is co-led by ESG project group leader Marco Salgado in Santiago.

In a recent work highlight, managing partner Matias Zegers and Diego Peña, who is also professor of Energy Law and Project Development at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez School of Law, advised CarbonFree Technology on the acquisition of two special purpose vehicles for the development of two 3MW PV projects. Peña also advised SUSI Partners on the purchase, development, construction, operation and maintenance of a 243.6MW portfolio of renewable power plants.

Efforts to integrate ESG into the firm’s operations in Santiago manifest themselves in the firm’s process of seeking ISO 14001 certification as well as the development of best practices to reduce the firm’s carbon footprint.

The firm also promotes ESG to its clients by providing access to curated thought leadership via its SESG portal, such as a recent publication co-authored by Salgado covering the use of data and AI in tracking SESG criteria in financial regulation, including by the Financial Market Commission.

DLA Piper Latin America’s Team offers full-service business legal counsel to domestic and multinational companies with interests in and operations throughout the region. Our integrated approach to serving clients combines local knowledge with the resources of the DLA Piper global platform. With over 400 lawyers practicing throughout Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Puerto Rico, our teams frequently work with our professionals throughout the LatAm region, Iberian Peninsula, and around the globe to ensure our clients receive the depth of service they require to meet their legal and business objectives. 

In 2021, the Firm established a regional Latin America practice group for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), which is led by Marco Salgado, partner based in Santiago – Chile and by José Miguel Mendoza, based in Bogotá – Colombia. The purpose of this regional practice group is to make businesses better in LatAm by helping clients and communities transition to and thrive in a more sustainable future. We understand the unique challenges and needs of each sector and deliver seamless global solutions that help our clients around the world. 

Marco Salgado: Marco Salgado is the Latin America co-leader of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and a partner in the Corporate and M&A practice group in the Santiago de Chile office. He has extensive experience advising international companies on mergers and acquisitions and corporate matters, recently leading high-profile transactions in the infrastructure and renewable energy sectors. He assists multinationals and corporate investors across various sectors, including consumer goods, infrastructure and energy.  

DLA Piper is committed to making businesses better by supporting our clients and communities on their journey to a more sustainable future. We help organizations shift to new strategies and business models, which add planetary and social benefits as well as commercial gain. 

Enhancing sustainable strategies, performance and reporting and navigating the transition to a low-carbon economy must be driven by a set of clearly defined values and corporate purpose. Embedding a culture of sustainability and accountability will better equip businesses, investors, policy-makers and other stakeholders to confront the complex strategic, legal, financial and operational sustainability opportunities and change. 

In 2020, DLA Piper launched a global Sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (SESG) portal to help companies around the world transition to and thrive in a more sustainable future. The portal provides views and insights of sustainability and ESG-related topics from thought leaders around the world. 

The Sustainability and SESG portal provide direct, online access to sector-curated publications, insights and thought leadership that address the global social, environmental, governance and workplace diversity issues clients are facing. These resources are designed to guide clients through both ESG-specific risks and new market opportunities, as well as support the creation and maintenance of robust SESG programs. Examples include DLA Piper’s public company ESG handbook, SESG: the rise of private ordering and the role of the committee, and its guide for energy companies, assessing SESG Factors in the Energy Sector. 

The portal is a result of DLA Piper’s globally coordinated effort to formalize its SESG client offering. It provides key contacts and sector-specific insights for clients in industries including Energy & Natural Resources; Consumer Goods, Food & Retail; Insurance; Financial Services; Life Sciences; Technology; Infrastructure, Construction & Transportation; Media, Sport & Entertainment; Real Estate; and Industrials. 

DLA Piper’s global SESG Task Force is led by John Gilluly and Ann Ford in the US and by Jean-Pierre Douglas-Henry and Natasha Luther-Jones internationally.  

The wide spectrum of SESG solutions that we offer is: 

  • Roadmap development – reviewing the client’s approach to SESG against its peers, and local/regional/global standards, as well as reviewing the client’s vision and values against its SESG goals and materiality assessment, which highlights the range of potential SESG risks.
    Current state review: reviewing current reporting and disclosure frameworks (mandatory and voluntary), including SFRD and climate risk, as well as reviewing the client’s current ESG policies.
  • Due Diligence – we offer transactional, supply chain and human rights DD, using AI to identify the most likely ESG risks a company could face and assessing their vulnerability to them.
  • Response – we can develop and help implement policies and reporting frameworks. 
  • Change – at the top end of the scale, we support the implementation of the new policies and integrate a public relations strategy throughout the change journey.  

Since their inception, our offices throughout Latin America have had a strong commitment to environmental and social responsibility.  

Has your firm established a dedicated ESG/climate change/sustainability practice, team or task force?

Yes, in addition to the Global SESG Task Force mentioned before, in 2021 we established a special practice group for promoting the practice of ESG in the Latin American region.

We have established a robust, unified, and articulated practice focused on the area. We have advanced two main tasks. On one hand, while SESG is an emerging practice in Latin America, DLA Piper has a strong, consolidated SESG practice around the globe, mainly in the US, UK and Australia. Part of our joint efforts consist of imbuing local lawyers with global expertise and experiences that converge in SESG matters. On the other hand, we are conducting extensive research on SESG regulation across Latin American jurisdictions and SESG best practices being implemented by the largest companies in the region.

Moreover, there are several other special local initiatives such as the environmental law and sustainable development practice launched in Colombia in 2022 by DLA Piper with a team of well-versed and experienced lawyers in SESG-related aspects such as, climate change, sustainability, green labels and corporate social responsibility. Our portfolio of services includes legal and public policy aspects specially designed to advise our clients in the identification and compliance of regulatory and environmental requirements, applicable to their social purpose and in the design and implementation of corporate practices based on SESG criteria and international principles.

What type of work do you handle in connection with “green change”?

Especially, in Latin America’s energy market, the impact of renewable energies has been a driving force market for some time now, having DLA Piper as one of its top regional advisors. Several cases of high-profile transactions can be highlighted in this regard, such as, the recent acquisition by Innergex of the Aela portfolio of wind power plants owned by Actis and Mainstream.

Most recently, DLA Piper in Chile has been working closely with the Chilean equivalent to the SEC, the Comisión para el Mercado Financiero (CMF), on socializing new regulation, which will impact how, mainly, listed companies will have to report material financial information on its SESG initiatives. This new regulation will most certainly increase the development of the SESG practices in Chile.

Our experience in SESG in the region includes the following examples:

The advisory work by our office in Argentina in the second green bond issued by the Republic of Argentina (which was restructured during 2021) and the social bond issued by the Banco de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires during September 2020 -which are aligned to the four main components of the ICMA’s (International Capital Market Association) 2018 Social Bond Principles (SBP).

Our participation in social bonds, which are debt instruments issued by financial institutions, companies, governments and multilateral entities, traded in the capital markets to attract capital for projects that generate a positive impact on society and the environment; sustainable bond issuances; purchase, development, construction, operation and maintenance of non-conventional renewable energies projects.

Example of this is the advice provided by CMA to Banco do Brasil S.A. in the issuance of Senior Unsecured Social Bonds, the first transaction of this shape performed by a Brazilian financial institution.

From the environmental legal perspective, one of our core lines of work is focused on energy transition and decarbonization of the economy. We have advised multiple clients from the renewable energy sector, in the acquisition and development of projects. Specially in development, to help them achieve their status of Ready-to Build in compliance with environmental and social requirements applicable. Also, we advise multiple financial institutions and private funds in assessing SESG factors and international standards (namely, IFC standards and Equator Principles) of the beneficiaries of credit agreements.

Our experience includes, for example, the advised provided by DLA Piper in Colombia to Air-e S.A.S. E.S.P., a trading company and operator of the electricity network in the departments of Atlántico, Magdalena and La Guajira and the advice provided by DLA Piper in Chile to several companies in the acquisition and development of a portfolio of renewable projects in Chile.

Moreover, DLA Piper is currently working alongside top-level companies that are aiming to enter the Green Hydrogen market in the region.

Would you like to highlight a particular area of strength?

As we said before, DLA Piper offers a wide spectrum of SESG solutions, which are our main areas of strength, like roadmap development, current state review, due diligence, among others.

In addition, M&A and consolidation of projects in the renewable energy sector has been particularly active in some markets of the region as the Chilean one. For this, we expect a consequential increase in the finance of these project from SESG conscious investors.

Another strengths, especially for DLA Piper Martinez Beltran, is SESG Corporate Governance practice, advising clients in the structuring of corporate codes and other governance mechanisms that allow effective implementation of ESG strategies, and environmental law and sustainable development practice with a team of well-versed and experienced lawyers in SESG-related aspects such as, climate change, sustainability, green labels and corporate social responsibility.

Has your firm implemented any internal best practices?

As a leader in environmental sustainability, DLA Piper’s Environmental Sustainability policy reflects the firm’s continuing commitment to minimize the environmental impact of our business operations. Sustainable practices implemented to date include:

  • The use of video meetings over extended travel
  • Promoting recycling in the office
  • E-cycling computer and other electronic equipment
  • Installing LED lighting and motion sensors in new buildouts
  • Partnering with suppliers to ensure they adhere to sustainable practices

There are several example of the commitment with environmental sustainability, for example the Chilean and Brazilian offices which since 2021 have been strongly focused on obtaining ISO 14.001 certification (environmental management) and on training its employees in these matters and implementing measures to achieve an increasingly sustainable performance, such as product recycling and recycling certification, among others.

Other example is the implementation since 2021 of a comprehensive waste management plan which enables the identification, reduction, use and proper final disposal of waste generated by the organization in compliance with current legislation. Also, DLA Piper within the framework of its functions, does not perform operational or process activities that involve the generation of significant volume of waste and according to Resolution 1362 of August 2, 2007, the entity does not generate hazardous waste in volume is exempt from registration by RESPEL. The social component of SESG centers on relationships. It addresses how a company manages its relations with its employees, financial stakeholders, the communities in which it operates, and the broader political environment.

Our lawyers are working pro bono, around the world, to promote the Rule of Law by strengthening civil society and building capacity, and to support Access to Justice, particularly for children and asylum seekers.

All DLA Piper Latin America offices supports New Perimeter when there is a demand in the region. New Perimeter is a non-profit affiliate of global law firm DLA Piper. Created in 2005, our vision is to harness the skills and talents of DLA Piper lawyers to further a more just world for all.

New Perimeter provides long-term pro bono legal assistance in under-served regions around the world to support access to justice, social and economic development, and sound legal institutions, with an overarching focus on women’s advancement.

Has your firm joined any external SESG-related projects, networks or initiatives?

Yes, there are several examples of this, but we can highlight, the participation in Colombia in the Women’s Infrastructure Network (“WIN”) which is an inclusive global network based in the US, but also operating in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Latin America. WIN has become a strong and positioned network in which women in the public and private infrastructure industry sectors could meet, exchange ideas, and experience and help shape the infrastructure agenda in their countries. Also, DLA Piper has participated in multiple initiatives concerning corporate social responsibility and sustainable development and is currently conforming an environmental law and sustainability committee with women that lead environmental practices among the top firms in Colombia. In case of DLA Piper in Chile, as previously stated, we have been working closely with the CMF, on socializing new regulation, which will impact how, mainly, listed companies will have to report material financial information on its SESG initiatives.

What are your firm’s SESG-related goals?

Our mandate from Simon Levine, Global Co-CEO of DLA Piper is to: “embed sustainability into the fabric of the firm”.

DLA Piper is committed to making businesses better by helping clients and communities transition to and thrive in a more sustainable future. We understand the unique challenges and needs of each sector and deliver global solutions that help our clients around the world.

Is your firm involved in any relevant pro bono work?

A passion for giving back is fundamental to our culture and our people are empowered to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our clients, neighbors, and communities.  DLA Piper’s pro bono mission is to pursue justice in our communities and around the world by advancing gender and racial equality, advocating for children and combating hunger. Collaborating with our clients is an integral part of our commitment.

In 2021, we devoted close to 200,000 hours globally on pro bono and community engagement projects.  Our work includes helping food banks, defending families seeking asylum, standing up for survivors of domestic violence, assisting veterans, helping people with disabilities, advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, seeking reform of the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems, advocating for educational equality, strengthening nonprofits, and supporting minority-and women-owned small businesses.

Currently, we are working on a variety of projects and programs. Those detailed below are just a small percentage of our overall work in Latin America, but they highlight some of the many ways in which we are fighting for justice and tackling unmet legal need:

  • Supporting the Growth of Pro Bono in Mexico – New Perimeter works with Mexico Appleseed assisting the organization Develop and deliver classes to Mexican law students on topics including developing a pro bono program, transactional pro bono, juvenile justice, domestic violence and class actions.
  • Advocating for Unaccompanied Children at the Border – Working with Mexico Appleseed and three other law firms, New Perimeter carried out a two-year investigation examining how the US and Mexican governments treat the thousands of unaccompanied Mexican minors who are apprehended each year as they try to cross the Southwest US border.
  • Supporting Access to Justice in Brazil – New Perimeter and project partners have delivered week-long courses on pro bono in São Paolo, Brazil with the aim of supporting the country’s pro bono community. This project provided an opportunity to bring together law undergraduates and graduates along with a cross-section of the Brazilian legal profession to contribute to the discussion on access to justice and legal practice in Brazil.
    The seminars also included representatives from local Brazilian law firms, in-house departments, nongovernmental organizations, the Office of the Public Defender and international pro bono professionals.
  • Strengthening Colombian Agricultural Intellectual Property – New Perimeter conducted a country-wide audit of intellectual property related to Colombian agricultural products. The project encouraged increased export readiness and income for Colombia from the application of enhanced IP legal structures and protections for Colombian agricultural products.
  • Supporting a Pro Bono Culture in Colombia – Through New Perimeter, lawyers from DLA Piper teach Colombian law students and practicing lawyers about legal social responsibility, the use of pro bono to address unmet legal needs and increase access to justice, and the history of pro bono in the United States and around the world.
  • Combating Domestic Violence in Peru – New Perimeter and International Republican Institute (IRI) worked with the Peruvian Multiparty Parliamentary Women’s Caucus to help revise and strengthen the domestic violence laws of Peru.

Have there been any recent non-confidential stand-out matters that were particularly innovative, pioneering or complex?

See above.

When did ESG, climate change and/or sustainability become an area of focus at your firm?

See above.

What has driven your firm’s involvement in a green transition? (Client demand? Business case? Personal attitudes/beliefs/initiatives?)

See above.

Do you have any strategic plans to expand your work or your initiatives in this area in the future?

Yes, as mentioned above on 2020 we established a special regional Latin America practice group for SESG.

Our firm has the objective of becoming one of the top players in the region for this practice area. The interplay between local and global experience will allow us to stablish a strong SESG practice across Latin America. Our plan is to expand the number of SESG-expert lawyers in our team, and to provide a regional support network to our clients. We are also conducting research on a variety of SESG related topics, including mandatory and voluntary disclosure and practices across jurisdictions and the effectivity of different SESG compliance strategies, involving strategies that use disruptive technologies and data-driven decision-making.

Where do you see the future of SESG/sustainability in the legal community (both in terms of legal offerings and firms’ best practices)?

As a growing practice with a big growing capacity, as SESG embodies we expect that more and more law firms take a more active role in the transition for a most sustainable future, so as not to be solely reactive to local regulations or client’s needs.

The greatest challenges posed by SESG landscape are risk identification and effective risk mitigation. On hand, businesses don’t know exactly what to work on when it comes to SESG governance. There is no clear map on what communities and stakeholders are expecting. Companies are being judged not only on what they do, but also on what they are not doing. Managing these expectations is vital for SESG risk identification. Yet, as our Sustainability and Organisational Change International Director Sean Faehrmann has highlighted, the stakeholders that business leaders turn to for advice – usually the board, the shareholders and regulators – might not be sufficiently representing what society’s view is on what’s right from an SESG perspective. On the other hand, the implementation of SESG policies involve a high degree of oversight and measurement. Due to the uprising relevance of supply-chain SESG, the scope of the company’s responsibility becomes much wider. This creates complexities on the supervision of SESG compliance, as there’s a lack of quality data regarding supply chains, and it’s difficult for businesses to collect such data.

These challenges will drive SESG legal services to data recollection and analysis, both on the identification of SESG expectations by stakeholders and the oversight of policy implementation. Legal teams must have the ability to design an appropriate framework that considers the specific needs of each client. This involves working with stakeholders and communities. It also involves the integration of governance mechanisms with data-recollection mechanisms, and the use of new technologies to analyze such data. Supply chain sustainability will demand a higher degree of sophistication, as the volume of data required to oversight compliance becomes much higher. SESG practice will drive legal services to increased interdisciplinary teams with the ability to cope with the intricacies of the corporate SESG needs.

Our director Camila Del Villar Hernández explained how companies can create labor policy frameworks to improve equity, at the Forum “Gender & Sustainability: Safe Investments”, organized by Foros La Republica. 

From the Environmental Law and Sustainable Development Area we invite you to pay tribute to our planet and to raise awareness together about the environmental and anthropic phenomena that threaten it. On this day we share some national legal milestones in commemoration of Earth Day. 

We share with you the 5 key aspects of the Tutela Ruling that ordered the suspension of the Licensing of the Fracking Pilot Projects and we invite you to review the article prepared by our team where these 5 points are described in detail in the following link:  

We share with you the 5 aspects you should know about the Green Taxonomy and we invite you to review the article prepared by our team where these 5 points are extensively described in the following link:“In the coming years, the Environmental team will be one of the largest in the firm”. 

We share with you the 5 aspects you should know about the Escazu Agreement and its ratification process in Colombia, and we invite you to review the article prepared by our team where these 5 points are described extensively in the following link:  

We celebrate the announcement of the publication of the Term Sheet and the opening of the Data Room for the contracting of the Canoas WWTP; a project that would provide a solution to the wastewater treatment of Bogota and Soacha, thus complying with the court order to clean and decontaminate the Bogota River, with an investment of more than COP 10 billion pesos.  

We share the links for the respective consultation and a factsheet with information of interest about the project. Link to see the content on the web:  

We share with you the 5 aspects you should know about the update of the Hazardous Waste Management Policy 2022-2030 issued by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, and we invite you to see the full article in the following link:  

We share with you the 5 milestones of the Bill on the single-use plastic ban, approved in fourth debate last Wednesday in Congress and we invite you to consult the full article prepared by our team at the following link:  

In our #TOP5AMBIENTALDELASEMANA we invite you to know the 5 most relevant aspects about Resolution 0552 of 2022, through which the operation of the Study Commission for the promotion and development of carbon markets in Colombia is implemented. Link:  

In our #TOP5AMBIENTALDELASEMANA we have the special participation of Sergio Rojas Quiñones, partner of the insurance and reinsurance area of DLA Piper Martínez Beltrán with whom we analyze the 5 most relevant aspects about the Historical Ruling of May 27, 2022, by which two cement companies are sentenced to pay $19,000 million for environmental pollution. Link:  

In our #TOP5AMBIENTALDELASEMANA, we bring up the 5 most relevant environmental axes that were raised during the Campaign of the now elected president of Colombia.  Link: