Focus Topics Focus Topics

ESG as business critical

No longer just a “nice to have”, strong ESG performance is now business critical.

The importance and impact of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria is growing exponentially on a global level. Reinforced by regulatory trends in the EU, investors and consumers have embraced ESG and sustainable investing. Sustainable building, renewable energy and social compliance have become the norm, and an appropriate ESG strategy is now a competitive advantage for businesses.

ESG as business critical

Sarah Wared, Florian Kusnier, Christine Siegl and Jana Landhaeusser

Keeping up with (investor) expectations and new regulations – Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria are no longer just a trend – their importance and impact on companies is growing exponentially on a global level. Reinforced by regulatory trends both in Austria and the EU as a whole, key investors have started to fully embrace ESG and sustainable investing. This of course moves ESG compliance up the boardroom agenda.

We see it in our daily work, that the importance of ESG is growing rapidly. On international level, some mergers and acquisitions have already been abandoned due to (high) ESG risks involving one or more of the target businesses. 

-Sarah Wared, Partner, Wolf Theiss


  • Sustainable use and protection of resources
  • Climate protection
  • Adjustment to climate change
  • Protection of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems
  • Transition to a circular economy


  • Appropriate remuneration and fair working conditions
  • Diversity, ongoing training and development
  • Labour law standards
  • Employee health and safety
  • Safeguards in supply chains


  • Tax honesty
  • Measures for prevention of corruption
  • Sustainability management
  • Sustainable business activities
  • Whistleblowing
  • Data protection

ESG in-depth

An effective ESG strategy requires a clear understanding of the issues in the first instance. Making real change though takes embedding these practices in the appropriate areas of your business.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive 

New reporting requirements for undertakings in the EU – The CSRD significantly extends the scope of the sustainability reporting requirements and the number of businesses subject to such reporting requirements. It is important that affected businesses start compiling and developing standards and procedures to make sure that the sustainability information is available and accurate.


ESG, private enforcement and strategic litigation in times of war

Valerie Hohenberg and Theresia Franziska Welser – The war in Ukraine confronts companies with new fundamental questions in the area of ethical corporate governance and integrity. How should existing business relations with Russia be handled? Is doing business with and in Russia still socially acceptable? Is my company still able to act in an ESG-compliant manner?

Current legal developments


Navigating the complexity of national and EU laws on corporate sustainability requires talking with the right people.

Our practices with ESG competencies

Contact an expert