Partner and Co-Chair of ESG Risk and Investigations Johnjerica Hodge appeared on Hire Ground's Breaking Barriers podcast to discuss the intersection of law; environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors; and racial equity. Johnjerica noted that when a company is facing legal challenges, the complexities of also maintaining ESG and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) commitments can be difficult but necessary. "Everyone is trying to get to a certain level. And so, some of the companies we speak with, they are very, very ESG savvy. They've implemented the policies, implemented the procedures, they are doing the monitoring, they feel comfortable, and they are near the forefront of the space."

ESG issues in supply chains pose both a challenge and an opportunity — larger companies need to be cognizant of any ESG criteria and reporting requirements and smaller, diverse businesses may need to report up or answer questions to the larger companies they supply to.

Additionally, Johnjerica discussed how in-house legal teams must be intimately familiar with DEI initiatives and regularly update their policies and procedures. Staying informed about legal developments, such as court rulings and state attorney general letters, is critical to staying ahead of changes that impact company policies. She indicated that conducting a risk analysis makes a difference in seeing where those policies and procedures align against legal requirements and can help mitigate potential legal risks.

"Breaking Barriers, Building a Hire Ground – Episode 170: The Evolving Landscape of ESG: Legal Considerations for In-House Legal Teams with Johnjerica Hodge of Katten," Breaking Barriers, January 23, 2024