INTERNATIONAL LAW FIRMS IN SPAIN
Allen & Overy
Madrid-based Banking and Finance partners Jimena Urretavizcaya and Charles Poole-Warren, among others, collaborated with their counterparts in London to advise a syndicate of banks on the renewal of a €2 billion sustainability-linked loan to Naturgy, and with their counterparts in Milan to advise EIG on the issuance of €140 million of bonds to finance OPDEnergy’s development of clean energy projects.
Herbert Smith Freehills
The firm’s Madrid office is highly active within the green hydrogen space, a new and underregulated sector in Spain. It is advising Acciona and Plug Power on their joint venture to establish a leading green hydrogen platform for the Iberian Peninsula which seeks to develop, operate, and maintain green hydrogen projects, and provide storage, transportation, and delivery services to its customers in Spain and Portugal. A multidisciplinary team is also assisting Iberdrola on the drafting, review, and negotiation of a green hydrogen purchase agreement (HPA) and other associated documents in relation to a green hydrogen plant to be in Puertollano, Ciudad Real. Head of the public law, environmental and regulatory practice in Madrid, Iria Calviño, is a key contact.
Pinsent Masons’ Madrid-based team has extensive experience advising on major urban mobility projects and on the development of innovative technological solutions necessitated for a net-zero world. Miguel Nieto and Zoila Jimenez are acting as key advisors in launching the Madrid Green Urban Mobility Lab project with consultancy firm Kearney, EMT (public transport operator of Madrid), and Madrid City Council. The lab aims to promote the sustainable and technical development of urban mobility, facilitating collaboration between public and private bodies, and covers work in areas such as low emission zones and zero emissions industry. The firm’s mobility and technology practices frequently work together on mandates: The two recently collaborated on Siemens-Everis’ development of Renfe’s new platform which will enable users to cover a journey via a point-to-point solution, providing a sustainable and efficient means of mobility for citizens.
A 2021 highlight for the Madrid-based Capital Markets team was the IPO of Corporación Acciona Energías Renovables; the firm advised the managers on this biggest IPO in Spain since 2015 with an initial market capitalisation of €8.8 billion. Other recent matters include advising Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) on the €2 billion sale of Eolia Renovables, having previously advised on AIMCo’s initial €1.4 billion acquisition of Eolia.
NATIONAL LAW FIRMS
In a particular ongoing highlight, Ibero-American firm ECIJA is advising Greenpeace on its case brought before the European Commission against the Spanish state for failure to comply with the EU’s reuse and recycling targets; recycling rates are set at 50% but Spain is only operating at 33.5% and dumping more than 3.5m tonnes of untreated waste. Key contact and urban planning and environment expert, Víctor Moralo Iza, leads on the case. The firm regularly acts as Legal counsel for multinational organisations including MAKRO, the Spanish subsidiary of the German group METRO, in ensuring compliance with circular economy law. It has also acted as counsel on major environmental matters to several regional governments in Spain. Beyond work for clients, a number of internal projects raise awareness and accountability, such as the #EcijaTeam Forest initiative where over 900 employees participated in a reforestation activity in collaboration with NGO Reforest Project; the firm’s partnership with Terra Incognita Docs, a production company which makes documentaries about the environment to raise awareness among viewers; and pro-bono work on projects that seek to reverse climate change, air pollution and preserve local coastal reefs in the Dominican Republic.
Spanish-origin, multi-national firm Garrigues demonstrated an early commitment to ESG having signed the UN Global Compact in 2002 and drawing up its annual carbon emissions since 2004. Over two decades ago, it also established its subsidiary G-Advisory, a consulting firm in the areas of environment, energy, sustainability, climate change, risk, and compliance. The firm’s Eco-Efficiency Plan is a roadmap guiding the business towards more sustainable consumption and a lower carbon footprint and is applied throughout its value chain. For instance, 100% of energy from its EU operations is derived from renewable sources. The ESG Committee, led by head of Employment Rosa Zarza, oversees the firm’s strategy and is comprised of an international, cross-disciplinary team. To spread awareness internally and externally, the firm promotes ESG in its Sustainable Dialogue Webinars. Its longstanding environmental practice (established in the nineties) positions it well to advise clients in this rapidly changing space. Gaspar Atienza Becerril, ESG Committee member, and sustainable finance expert, recently advised EIB on a €50 million facility granted to Wenea to support long-distance and interurban electric mobility in Spain, while a cross-practice team assisted Ferrovial Mobility with accelerating its ZITY-branded electric car-sharing alliance with Renault (Car Sharing Mobility Services). A pioneering mandate was also the public law group’s advice to ArcelorMittal factory regarding the construction of a direct reduction of iron ore plant which will operate with green hydrogen, allowing the factory in Sestao to be the first steelwork in the world with zero carbon emissions in its productive system.
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo
Spanish full-service firm Gómez-Acebo & Pombo recently launched a sustainable development group both in order to advance the firm’s internal best practices and carbon footprint reduction measures and to better assist clients with their ESG commitments. The latter encompasses cross-cutting advice from green finance and taxation, corporate governance, and regulatory compliance to climate, energy, and environmental law. Clients benefit especially from a strong environmental practice, including know-how in water law, biodiversity, waste management, and circular economy. Various partners have a background working in the Ministry of Environment, including renowned partner Pedro Poveda and of counsel Eduardo Orteu, who also previously held a position as sustainable development advisor as a permanent representative of Spain to the United Nations in New York. Other notable expertise lies in sustainable mobility and sustainable agri-food business matters. Among current standout, instructions is the ongoing advice on draft legislation to a group of Spain’s most prominent recycling and waste management NGOs, as well as the ongoing advice EMGRISA, a state-owned company providing advice to the Ministry for Ecological Transition, among others, concerning the regulatory development for water planning, water public constitutional and legal coordination, wastewater and water reuse legal framework.
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