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After the pandemic: How lawyers can make ESG a reality

Our interview with Warren Ragoonanan about the evolving legal landscape in environmental, social and corporate governance.

Warren Ragoonanan, WRD LLP, Toronto
Warren Ragoonanan, WRD LLP, Toronto

Lawyers have an essential role in making our economic system more sustainable and helping corporate leaders who genuinely want to “do better” on environmental, social, and governance metrics.

So says Wayne Ragoonanan, one of the founding partners of WRD LLP, on our latest podcast episode of After the pandemic. Ragoonanan’s corporate law practice focuses on helping growing businesses deliver on corporate social responsibility.

Also the incoming chair of the CBA’s national international law section, he explains that lawyers are in a unique position to help businesses embed ESG principles into their DNA by working them into their various legal documents.

“As lawyers, we have an important role because at the end of the day, capitalism is a creation of law,” says Ragoonanan. “The entire free market system is grounded in the principles that all of us learned in our first year of law school – contracts and private property.”

It’s because we understand the relationship between those legal principles and the harmful effects of capitalism that we can assist in its rebuild.

Ragoonanan also discusses the enduring myth around shareholder primacy – the notion that shareholder interests should be given priority over those of all other corporate stakeholders. He says that it has no legal basis, adding that it is incumbent again upon legal practitioners to remind people that corporations have to balance the interests of multiple stakeholders.

You can stream and download our full conversation here. You can also subscribe, rate and review our podcast if you are enjoying it on Apple Podcasts.