Edinburgh-based beauty company, Faith in Nature, has become the first company to appoint a director to represent nature. The non-executive director (defined in the company’s articles of association as the "Nature Guardian") will represent nature, defined as the "natural world and all non-human species that inhabit it".
Faith in Nature has adopted new articles allowing for this change and including an objects clause by which it makes various commitments to nature, society and the environment, alongside returning value to its shareholders.
The Nature Guardian director will attend board meetings and, where a matter is deemed by the board to be a "Nature Reserved Matter", may circulate materials with the meeting agenda to be considered by the board. If the board ultimately votes on a Nature Reserved Matter in a way that is inconsistent with the vote of the Nature Guardian, the board must provide "balanced and comprehensive reasons for such decision" to ensure transparency.
The not-for-profit legal NGO, Lawyers for Nature, is the company's first Nature Guardian director. Lawyers for Nature is a community interest company dedicated to research, education and legal advice in environmental justice and will act through its own director and co-founder, Brontie Ansell, a senior lecturer in law at Essex Law School.
Faith in Nature has published guidance on the legal process it went through to amend its constitutional document and appoint "nature" to the board, enabling other organisations to follow suit.
Kate Higgins, Partner in Mishcon de Reya's Corporate Department and the firm's corporate governance lead, commented: "This is a pioneering twist on a growing trend for companies to nominate directors as responsible for representing particular stakeholder groups. It also demonstrates how this can practically be achieved. I applaud Faith in Nature for making this commitment."
There are a number of different models in existence for companies seeking to demonstrate commitment to wider purposeful objectives, of which this is one. For more information on the options available, please contact one of our Corporate team.