Unlike more developed jurisdictions, African financial
institutions’ interest in environmental, social
and governance (ESG) initiatives has largely centred on social
"From a pan-African perspective, there is probably more of
an emphasis on alleviating social issues," said Herbert Smith
Freehills partner Rudolph Du Plessis. "That
doesn’t mean institutions aren’t
interested in environmental deals, but regulators throughout
the continent are highly focused on the implications for
employees and society."
This is most tangible in South Africa. The Companies
Act states 'that a company or a category of companies must
have a social and ethics committee, if it is desirable in the
public interest’. This had led to public companies
bringing matters within their mandate to the board, with a need
to also disclose to shareholders.
"It certainly places ESG issues on the board's radar,"
continued Du Plessis. "It makes the board consider the impact
of all its business activities...