I understand that the landscape of risks and opportunities is vastly different today to what it was even just a few years ago. Businesses are already being disrupted by the impacts of climate change and the transition to a net zero emissions world. Looking ahead, risks and liabilities abound over short, medium and long term time horizons. I help clients navigate this dynamic risk landscape and heightened regulatory and investor expectations on climate change.
Based in London, I am a member of MinterEllison's market-leading Climate Risk Governance team. We are unique in approaching climate and environmental issues squarely through an economic and commercial lens. As an Australian-qualified lawyer, I provide climate and environmental-related risk management and disclosure advice to corporations across a diverse range of sectors and federal, State and local government entities. I help companies implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and integrate climate risks assumptions into the financial statements.
While I have a laser focus on risk and liability, I also help clients to be part of the solution to these complex global challenges, by aligning business models with the goals of the Paris Agreement or to progress the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I am passionate about the role of lawyers to address these challenges and am a member of the Steering Committee of The Chancery Lane Project, a solutions-focused pro bono collaboration among the global legal profession to re-wire contracts and laws to tackle climate change.
As the part time Executive Director of the non-profit Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative, I lead a collaboration between civil society, academia and corporate lawyers. Since its launch by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in 2015, the CCLI has been at the forefront of legal research and stakeholder engagement globally on the intersection of financial risks arising from climate change and biodiversity and the legal implications under companies and securities laws.
With degrees in law, finance and philosophy from Oxford University, Monash University and the Australian National University, I bring an inter-disciplinary skill-set to complex systems challenges. I am a core team member of the Oxford University Sustainable Law Programme and a member of the Technical Working Group for the Climate Disclosure Standards Board. I teach executive education on climate risk and climate liability at Oxford University and am regularly invited to speak at conferences and events internationally
- Assisted the World Economic Forum with climate governance initiative, authoring the legal chapter of the white paper launched at Davos in 2019 and presenting on climate risk governance to non-executive directors internationally, including via simultaneous translation
- Governance and disclosure advice to a range of ASX100 and multi-national listed corporations and their boards in the financial services and resources sectors
- Advisor on climate-related litigation risk exposures to financial services institutions and their boards
- Pro bono advisor to Plant-for-the-Planet, a global youth-led charity focused on educating and empowering children to address the climate crisis through tree planting at scale
- Advisor on renewable energy projects, Australian carbon market contracts and various greenhouse gas emissions and climate regulations
- Sector-specific expertise in the mining, oil and gas, power and transport sectors, having advised on projects and cross-border private M&A transactions, acting for both buy-side and sell-side in competitive acquisitions, and bidders and government vendors in privatisations.
- Dr Richard Bater, Robin Hamaker-Taylor, Ellie Mulholland and Sarah Barker, 'Questions to assist non-executive director oversight of physical climate risk management', report prepared by Acclimatise and MinterEllison for Chapter Zero, the Directors' Climate Forum, July 2020
- Sarah Barker, Ellie Mulholland, Cynthia Williams, and Robert G. Eccles, ‘Climate Change and Directors’ Duties: Closing the Gap Between Legal Obligation and Enforcement Practice’, in Richard LeBlanc (ed), The Handbook of Board Governance (2nd ed), Wiley, April 2020
- Sarah Barker, Ellie Mulholland and Jackie Peel, Australia's international climate change commitments – Associated accounting assumptions and auditing of climate risk disclosures, report to CPA Australia, January 2020
- Sarah Barker, Ellie Mulholland and Ben Caldecott, 'Directors' Liability and Climate Risk: Navigating the Step-Change in Disclosure and Governance Expectations', in Beekhoven van den Boezem, Jansen and Schuijling (eds.), Sustainability and Financial Markets, Wolters Kluwer, Deventer, 2019, Chapter 9 pp231-254.