Suz Mac Cormac was featured in a Duke Law Magazine article about her work as a pioneer in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, which is now at the top of the agenda for corporate clients in response to pressure from consumers, investors, and regulators.
"Five years ago nobody had an ESG practice," Suz said. "Now everybody does. Tying ESG to investments in public and private markets, operations, and corporate form and governance is the purview of corporate lawyers."
Suz added that interest in ESG issues has accelerated over the past two years as the COVID-19 pandemic and the killing of George Floyd by a police officer brought racial, social, and economic inequality into the national consciousness. Most of her private equity deals now are impact investments aimed at producing social or environmental benefits as well as profit, with clients most interested in addressing climate change and inequality.
"It's been gathering steam, but from the beginning of COVID there was a fundamental shift," Suz said. "Most of the large asset managers in New York say they can't raise capital now without considering ESG, whereas two years ago I was trying to convince them that this is not concessionary capital — that you can focus on this and still be return-based."
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