Managing Associate Barrister Olivia Wybraniec joined nearly 300 legal professionals from 35 countries at the AIJA – International Association of Young Lawyers Half-Year Conference in Edinburgh on 16 – 19 November 2022. The subject of the conference was "Environment, Climate and Sustainability: Opportunities, Challenges and Risks". Delegates received keynote addresses from Ukrainian lawyer Anna Babych, looking at the devastated impact of the Ukraine war on the environment, and from Ed Brewster of Climate Connection, starkly examining the competing forces that determine global temperature changes.
The transactional academic programme focussed on environmental and sustainability issues relevant to energy security, renewable energy and supply chains, while the dispute resolution academic programme looked at significant environmental disputes around the world and themes of greenwashing and fiduciary duty. Olivia Wybraniec was invited to join a panel discussing the rise of climate litigation, where she spoke to the conference on the emerging commercial litigation trend of shareholder derivative actions on issues relating to environmental responsibilities, alongside lawyers from Germany, Norway and the Netherlands who discussed current trends in climate litigation in their respective jurisdictions. Olivia emphasised the importance of identifying the potential for climate actions to deliver impact beyond the scope of the individual case, and also took the opportunity to talk to delegates about Greener Litigation, the Mishcon-led sustainability initiative which seeks to reduce the carbon impact of dispute resolution.
More than 40 panellists participated in conference programme, highlighting the key trends, challenges and opportunities for the legal profession on a range of environmental issues at this critical time for action on climate change. At the conference dinner at the National Museum of Scotland, conference sponsor Deloitte Legal presented the ESG Expert Speaker Award to Olivia, noting the clear commercial context and high-quality legal content of her talk on shareholder action, as well as her personal commitment to ESG issues through her founding role in Greener Litigation.