Green Guide - EMEA: DLA Piper

An international full-service firm and a founding member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance and Net Zero Lawyers Alliance, DLA Piper bakes ESG into its legal services in addition to pioneering its data-orientated due diligence risk management platform, Datamaran. A signatory of the UN Global Compact, the firm is deeply involved in issues concerning carbon markets and the transition to renewable energy and has a track record of advising industry groups on Renewable Energy Certificate trading as well as the European Commission on its emissions trading scheme regulations. Having received ISO 14001 and 50001 certification, and certification from the Carbon Trust, the firm itself has committed to reducing carbon emissions from its own operations as well as those of its suppliers by 50% by 2030 (through such measures as sourcing 100% of its electricity use from renewables, monitored by the firm’s internal International Energy and Climate Change Committee). This is an aim it supports in the world more broadly through its pro bono work with Carbon13, supporting scalable start-up ventures with the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions. Another initiative of note is the firm’s Climate Transition podcast. In addition to the various cases detailed below, the firm has advised on a further range of large-scale renewables projects across its offices in Brussels, Lisbon, Madrid, Nairobi, and Warsaw, among others.


Vienna-based energy, projects and finance partner, Andreas Gunst is central to the firm’s green operations in Vienna. In addition to collaborating with his Cologne-based counterpart, Michael Cieslarczyk, on green energy procurement for BASF, he also advised Rabobank in the development of the Acorn Standard together with the firm’s Amsterdam office. Gunst also acted for the European Federation of Energy Traders Legal Working Group regarding changes to the European Renewable Energy Directive, as well as the World Bank in connection with the structure and design of a Turkish emissions trading scheme.


In France, the firm has worked pro bono for the World Resource Institute (WRI) providing legal support in the establishment of tools which aid in the tracking of deforestation and water scarcity as part of the WRI Cocoa Farm Data Set and the WRI Aqueduct Project. The pro bono and finance teams collaborated to further assist WRI in the establishment of the Rural Prosperity Bond, promoting sustainable agriculture by SMEs in poor, primarily African countries. The Paris-based finance team has also worked internationally with its counterpart in the firm’s Lusaka office to increase agricultural yields in Zambia and Zimbabwe by conducting due diligence for and advising Poparco in its support of Seedco Group.


Key contact in Germany, Michael Cieslarcyk, who has been working with the European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET) in the context of their development of the first standard CPPA documentation, together with corporate and finance partners recently collaborated with their counterparts in the firm’s Amsterdam office to advise BASF on the acquisition of a 49.49% stake in the Hollandse Kuist Zuid offshore wind farm. It will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm with a total installed capacity of 1.5 gigawatts. Cieslarcyk also worked with Vienna-based Andreas Gunst on BASF’s other green energy purchases and investments.


In Italy, the Milan-based finance team assisted a range of banks with the lending of €500m to A2A according to an array of sustainability criteria defined in A2A’s Sustainable Finance Framework, with additional provision for the support of Banco dell’Energia Onlus. In another highlight, the real estate practice worked across jurisdictions to advise Midas International Asset Management on the sale, by Logistics Capital Partners, of the first carbon-neutral logistics building in continental Europe.


In addition to the Amsterdam-based corporate team’s cross-border work with the firm’s German offices in connection with advising BASF on green energy purchases, various teams in Amsterdam likewise collaborated with the Vienna office to advise Rabobank on the development of the Acorn Standard of verified emission reduction as well as its first carbon removal units trade. Another stand-out matter was the Dutch team’s advice to Rabobank and NWB Bank on the €70m sustainability financing provided to Nationaal Groenfonds for the benefit of its new climate fund for sustainable agriculture projects. The firm similarly acted for the arrangers and senior lenders in the restructured financing of the National Warmth Fund, a special purpose fund set up to incentivise homeowners to reduce energy consumption.


With a presence across all four Nordic countries, the firm’s environmental work includes first of a kind corporate PPAs and a strong focus on renewable energy projects. Stockholm-based finance partner Björn Sjöberg, assisted EIP in the financing and purchase of an 80% stake of Fortum Oyj’s Nordic onshore wind portfolio, capable of producing c.500MW. He also led a multi-jurisdictional team which advised Greencoat Renewables on the acquisition of the 101MW Ersträsk South Wind Farm in Markbygden, expanding their operating presence across the Nordic region.

United Arab Emirates

The firm is one of few that has been at the forefront of the renewable and alternative energy sector in the region. Dubai-based legal director Adam Haque advised the Kazakh Ministry of Energy on the expansion of its wind and solar capacities under the mandate of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He also worked with Keith Bullen on the development of 1000 MW worth of solar capacity for the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company. Bullen additionally handled the procurement of 2700 MW worth of renewable energy as part of the Saudi National Renewable Energy Programme for the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources.

Jean-Pierre Douglas Henry
Natasha Luther-Jones

DLA Piper’s Sustainability and ESG team is lead by Jean-Pierre Douglas Henry, Managing Director Sustainability and Resilience, and Natasha Luther-Jones, Global Co-Chair Energy & Natural Resources and International Head Sustainability & ESG. They are supported by a global network of experts across a wide variety of ESG subject areas, including renewable energy, carbon markets, data governance, business and human rights and sustainable investments.