Webinar on "Duty of care litigation – beware of your supply chain liability"

Published: 25/5/2022

We recently hosted an ESG webinar entitled "Duty of care litigation – beware of your supply chain liability".

On the webinar, we discussed the growing need for corporates operating in the UK and European market to properly supervise and manage their extended operations and supply chains, and the risks of failing to do so.

The panel included members of our ESG team: Daniel Levy, a partner specialising in international litigation and arbitration and Anna Brownrigg, a senior associate who regularly advises multinationals on ESG disputes and risks. We were joined by Marie-Aude Ziadé, founding partner of Paris-based firm Fierville Ziadé, and Nicola Cobb, Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting. The event was attended by over 150 guests including multinationals, general counsels and legal experts from various jurisdictions including the UK, Brazil, and France. The level of interest in the webinar signifies the rising concern amongst businesses surrounding developments in this area, and their need to remain apprised of what is meant by good supply chain management.

The panel discussed the reality today - that global businesses are operating with increasingly long and complex supply chains. Why does this matter? Because both the legislators and the courts have signalled that ESG does not stop at the corporate veil. It is not enough for businesses to supervise and manage their subsidiaries; businesses must also supervise and manage their extended operations:

  • The legislative trend towards mandatory reporting and corporate due diligence is clear.
  • In the courts, both the UK and European courts have shown they will entertain claims against a UK or European company, based on a duty of care, for harm caused by a third party in that company’s supply chain. The panel noted a significant increase in cases being brought to the UK and European courts for harm suffered overseas, describing recent examples.

The panel agreed on the importance of businesses recognising and understanding the liability risks, and addressing them proactively. Nicola Cobb, who helps clients manage regulatory and reputational risks arising in their supply chains, shared her experience and the panel discussed practical recommendations on how best to do this.

For more information on this topic and how it might impact your business, please visit our ESG page or contact Tim Elliss, Daniel Levy or Anna Brownrigg.

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