Senior partner Carol Hansell was featured in an article published by Canadian Lawyer Magazine on April 14, 2020 discussing the need to keep climate change risk at the forefront when evaluating insurance policies.
Below is an excerpt from the article:
Carol Hansell, a senior partner at Hansell LLP, says that, while corporations and governments are increasingly taking climate change seriously, Canada likely won’t see comparable levels of litigation. Hansell acts for public and private corporations and governments and advises boards, management teams and institutional shareholders and regulators on legal and governance matters.
“Their litigation environment’s very different from ours. They litigate much more frequently. And it’s obviously 10 times bigger than we are,” she says. “There is simply a lot more litigation.”
Hansell sees an increasing focus on environmental and social governance risks — something corporations and shareholders are taking “very, very seriously.” Directors need to be aware of environmental-related disclosure expectations from regulators, shareholders and stakeholders, she says, adding that government and regulators are encouraging corporations to take climate risk into account in their strategic planning and risk management.
“If there’s not proper disclosure of the environmental risks of climate change, climate risks facing an organization, and they do, in fact, end up with some kind of a loss as a result of something that happens on the environmental side, that could be a basis for a class action suit,” Hansell says.
An example are fires that engulfed Australia in 2019, she says.
“Even if you’re not in Australia, if you have customers or suppliers — anybody in your supply chain. . . . That’ll have a very real impact on your business. And, so, if you think that the fires are climate change related as opposed to some part of a normal cycle, then you need to be paying attention to the similar threats in the future.”