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The Need and Benefits of the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) ESG Manual



By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publication of the Year 2021 and CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021*

According to informal survey carried out by NSE, listed companies in Kenya have a general awareness of ESG issues and corporate sustainability. However, there is need for capacity building on how to integrate ESG into business strategies of listed companies and how to report ESG performance in a consistent, transparent and principle-based approach that meets stakeholder expectations. The ESG Disclosures Guidance Manual (ESG Manual) is thus designed to guide listed companies in Kenya and other organizations interested in ESG reporting on how to collect, analyse, and publicly disclose important ESG information in a way that meets international sustainability reporting standards.[1]

The ESG Manual is proposed to act as a guide on how to progressively integrate ESG in strategy, operations, and performance management. It recommends the adoption of the Global Reporting Initiatives (GRI) Standards as the common framework for ESG Reporting for listed companies in Kenya to help reduce uncertainties. For an organization to claim that it has prepared information in accordance with the GRI Standards, it is required to have applied the GRI Reporting Principles. This is a set of reporting principles which guide organizations in ensuring the quality and proper presentation of the reported information. The principles include accuracy, balance, clarity, comparability, completeness, sustainability context, timeliness and verifiability.[2]

According to a 2020 Global Survey on Sustainability reporting conducted by KPMG, the GRI Standards are the most widely used framework for sustainability reporting.[3] The listed companies on the NSE that were reporting on ESG performance had already settled on and were using the GRI standards as their preferred framework for ESG Reporting even before the ESG Manual. The ESG Manual proceeds to propose a common set of ESG metrics for reporting by all listed companies to help facilitate comparability of ESG performance of listed companies in Kenya. It is also projected that over time, upon maturity of the ESG disclosures, it will become possible for stakeholders to correlate financial performance with specific ESG indicators such diversity and air emissions.[4]

Further, applying the ESG Manual is expected to assist listed companies comply with reporting requirements for other organizations such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and UN Global Compact (UNGC). The manual also includes a guide on how to meet corporate governance reporting requirements contained in the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) Corporate Governance Code. The ESG Manual also includes examples of sector specific ESG disclosures for reference by listed companies in its Annex 6. The ESG Manual is expected, with time, to make it possible to compare the ESG performance of organizations reporting within the same sectors including adopting common reporting framework for the respective sectors. The ESG Manual also seeks to support future plans for a responsible investment index by the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).[5]

The ESG criteria proposed in the Manual is also anticipated to be applied in investment selection given the momentum the trend has gained in recent years which is expected to continue in the future. According to the Manual. along with national policies and directives, ESG considerations in investments have become the most important driving force for ESG integration and disclosure in capital markets. As such, companies seeking to attract responsible investors are incentivized to ensure that they adopt the top ESG metrics commonly sought by investors. These include having an overarching ESG policy, assigning ESG management responsibility, having a Corporate code of ethics, presence of litigation on matters touching on environmental, social and ethical affairs, the presence or absence of People diversity among employees, Board and management, net employee composition including ratio of part-time and full-time employees, having formal environmental policy and estimation of carbon footprint, data and cybersecurity incidents if any that can put the company at risk and health and safety events that affect ability to provide safe working environments for employees, contractors and the wider value chain.[6]

The expected benefits for Listed Companies adopting the ESG Manual include ensuring transparency in ESG disclosures which helps in building integrity and trust in the capital markets thus enhancing competitiveness to attract investment to the capital markets. The adoption and promotion of ESG reporting by the NSE is expected to enhance trust and integrity of the capital markets in Kenya by providing valuable information that is of increasing importance to investors, thus contributing to more efficient capital allocation. Other key benefits of integrating and disclosing ESG performance by listed companies in Kenya include the fact that it ensures investors can assess and preferentially invest in issuers that demonstrate better ESG linked financial performance, resulting in more efficient capital allocation. Further, implementation of the ESG Manual is geared to ensure that organisations that demonstrate responsible investment practices are able to access new sources of capital from sustainability conscious investors such as Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Private Equity firms.[7]

In addition, a holistic view of corporate value facilitates product innovation by enabling consideration and management of the embodied environmental and social impacts of products and services. Measuring and reporting ESG performance also enables organisations embed circularity in their operating models and achieve operational efficiencies by optimizing energy and raw costs in production. By adding and demonstrating ESG integration into their supply chains, production systems and service delivery, the listed companies applying the manual will benefit from preferential access to new markets. ESG value creation framework also helps organisations to proactively address non-financial but critical environmental and social risks, thereby preserving and creating long term value for stakeholders. ESG integration enhances regulatory compliance and helps anticipate the impact of future ESG related regulations and policies. Finally, organizations are perceived as responsible corporate citizens and achieve brand value enhancement by systematically identifying and responding to stakeholder needs and expectations.[8]

The implementation timelines of the ESG Manual for listed companies on the NSE including the requirement of issuing a public report on their ESG performance at least annually. The steps outlined in the ESG Disclosures Guidance Manual are expected to guide such reporting. In addition, the manual is also made available as a public good for other organisations in Kenya that would be interested in ESG reporting. On their part, listed companies have been given a grace period of one year from the date of issuance of the guidelines (29th November 2021) to interact and familiarize themselves with the ESG reporting steps contained in these guidelines for implementation. Thus, listed companies will after 29th November 2022 be expected to include a sustainability/ESG report in their annual integrated reports. The Sustainability/ESG Report under the NSE ESG Manual must at minimum contain the mandatory ESG disclosures discussed in Chapter 6 of the manual. Issuers can also choose to publish a separate ESG/sustainability report.[9]

*This article is part of an ongoing series on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) in Kenya by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya). Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert in Kenya. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized as one of the leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts by the Chambers Global Guide 2022. 


[1] NSE, “ESG Disclosures Guidance Manual,” November 2021, p. 8; Available at: on 10/02/2022).

[2] GRI, “A Short Introduction to the GRI Standards”, Available at:

[3] KPMG, “The Time has Come: The KPMG Survey on Sustainability Reporting 2020,” Available at: on 10/02/2022).

[4] NSE, “ESG Disclosures Guidance Manual,”op. cit., p. 9.

[5] NSE, “ESG Disclosures Guidance Manual,”op. cit., p. 9.

[6] Broderick, S., “The Top 10 ESG Metrics Private Equity Funds Should Collect,” IHS Markit, 2019; Available at: on 10/02/2022).

[7] NSE, “ESG Disclosures Guidance Manual,”op. cit., p. 9.

[8] NSE, “ESG Disclosures Guidance Manual,”op. cit., p. 10.

[9] NSE, “ESG Disclosures Guidance Manual,”op. cit., p. 10.

News & Analysis

Why is THE LAWYER AFRICA Listing Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers?




The Litigation Hall of Fame | Kenya in 2023 (The Most Distinguished 50 Litigation Lawyers in Kenya).

We live in the age of information overload where too much information (TMI) is increasingly making it difficult to find actionable legal data about a good law firm or lawyer. At the same time, legal services are increasingly going digital and finding your next lawyer is a now a matter of a few clicks. Many existing, new and potential clients are interested to know more about the lawyer handling or likely to handle their next case or transaction as every HR Manager seeks to know how their In-house Lawyer or next hire compares to peers.

The biggest dilemma especially for commercial consumers of legal services  is where to begin the journey in finding the law firm or the lawyer to meet their immediate legal need created by their new venture,  business, transaction or dispute. In-house counsel are also called upon to justify opting for one lawyer or law firm or over the other.  Hence, the rise in the popularity of international law directories rankings as an attempt to fill the yawning gap by listing a few dozen lawyers and law firms in esoteric categories that often don’t align with the legal needs of the domestic legal market.

But ranking two dozen elite lawyers or big law firms in a big jurisdiction like Kenya there are over 20,000 lawyers is merely a drop in the ocean. The result is the same candidates are listed year after year and an In-house Legal Team looking to infuse new blood in their external counsel panel is left very little discretion. At best, International legal ranking only succeed to tilt the scales in favour of few big firms and their lawyers and to aid the choice of International Legal buyers who are constrained for time in picking their External Counsel in jurisdictions where they cannot find referrals.

The questions that beg are: What about the other top law firms and lawyers who are equally good if not better but don’t have the time to fill the technical paperwork that comes with International Legal Directories rankings? What about Domestic Legal Buyers who simply want to justify why they prefer a lawyer or law firm not listed in the International Directory? Can increasing the number of listed lawyers or law firms from less 0.1% of the profession (as captured by International Law Directories) to at least 1% of the profession or higher for those specializing in the practice area help in enhancing access to justice in Africa? Can ranking law firms by number of fee earners help in the quest for a more accurate bird’s eye view of a country’s legal landscape?

At THE LAWYER AFRICA, we have set out to list Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers in the various practice areas in a way that democratizes law rankings and listings and brings this essential value add within reach of most lawyers and every law firms doing top legal work. We don’t promise to list all the top lawyers or law firms, but we commit to make sure every lawyer or law firm we list is at the top of the game in the listed practice area. We aim to help both little known and already known law firms and lawyers doing top legal work in their area of specialization get discovered by discerning clients and possibly get more opportunities to do great work.

THE LAWYER AFRICA is looking to list up to Top 200 Law Firms in every African Jurisdiction based on their reputation and number of fee earners headcount with a goal of listing at least Africa’s Top 1,000 Law Firms which are leaders in their respective countries. We also seek to list up to Top 1,000 Lawyers in every country in Africa in at least five main practice areas, namely, Litigation, Commercial Law, Property law, In-house and Private Sector or more.

THE LAWYER AFRICA categorizes law firms in large jurisdictions as Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 50 and Top 100 (and allow tying where number of counsel is equal). The Top Lawyers are listed in three categories, namely, Hall of Fame (the Distinguished Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area), Top 100 (the Leading Top 100 Practitioners in a Practice Area) and Up-and-Coming (the promising Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area).  The placing of a listings depends on a number of key factors including the number of key matters or transactions handled, years in practice and experience, size of team working under a counsel, reputation and opinion of peers (where available) as established by THE LAWYER AFRICA.

THE LAWYER AFRICA prefers to list a counsel in only one listing, as far as possible. The Team tries (as far as possible) not to contact listed law firms or lawyers before the listing is finalized in the first. However, a listed law firm or lawyer may be contacted at the pre-launch stage of a list for purposes of selling merchandise relating to the launch but such engagement will not affect the listing. In case of future listings, it is expected that interested lawyers or law firms who feel they were previously left out of the list may to provide information for consideration to determine if they qualify for the next listing but that will not guarantee any listing.

THE LAWYER AFRICA undertakes not to charge for listing any lawyer or law firm. However, upon publication of a listing, as part of recovering the sunk costs we incur in the research and publication of the listings, we shall charge a token for printing and shipping of Quality A3 Certificate for listed Law Firms and/or A4 Certificate for listed Lawyers who wish to have or display the branded souvenirs or to use our proprietary digital materials in their business  branding. We may also charge listed and unlisted law firms and lawyers an affordable fee for limited banner advertising or publishing of enhanced profiles next to the listings.

For any question or feedback on any list or listing, feel free to contact THE LAWYER AFRICA PUBLISHER at info[at]thelawyer[dot]africa.

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News & Analysis

The Roles of the Three Parts of the Permanent Court of Arbitration




H.E. Amb. Marcin Czepelak, the Fourteenth Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

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News & Analysis

Brief History of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)




By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, C.Arb, Current Member of Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Representing the Republic of Kenya.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is a 124 Years Old Intergovernmental Organization currently with 122 contracting states. It was established at the turn of 20th Century during the first Hague Peace Conference held between 18th May and 29th July 1899. The conference was an initiative of then Russian Czar Nicholas II to discuss peace and disarmament and specifically with the object of “seeking the most effective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and, above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments.” The culmination of the conference was the adoption of a Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which dealt not only with arbitration but also with other methods of pacific settlement, such as good offices and mediation.

The aim of the conference was to “strengthen systems of international dispute resolution” especially international arbitration which in the last century had proven effective for the purpose with number of successful international arbitrations being concluded among Nations. The Alabama arbitration of 1871-1872 between the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) under the Treaty of Washington of 1871 culminating in the arbitral tribunal’s award that the UK pay the US compensation for breach of neutrality during American Civil War which it did had demonstrated the effectiveness of arbitration in settling of international disputes and piqued interest of many practitioners in it as a mode of dispute resolution during the latter years of the nineteenth century.

The Institut de Droit International adopted a code of procedure for arbitration in 1875 to answer the need for a general law of arbitration governing for countries and parties wishing to have recourse to international arbitration. The growth of arbitration as a mode of international dispute resolution formed the background of the 1899 conference and informed its most enduring achievement, namely, the establishment of the PCA as the first global mechanism for the settlement of disputes between states. Article 16 of the 1899 Convention recognized that “in questions of a legal nature, and especially in the interpretation or application of International Conventions” arbitration is the “most effective, and at the same time the most equitable, means of settling disputes which diplomacy has failed to settle.”

In turn, the 1899 Convention provided for the creation of permanent machinery to enable the setting up of arbitral tribunals as necessary and to facilitate their work under the auspices of the institution it named as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). In particular, Article 20 of the 1899 Convention stated that “[w]ith the object of facilitating an immediate recourse to arbitration for international differences which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy, the signatory Powers undertake to organize a Permanent Court of Arbitration, accessible at all times and operating, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, in accordance with the rules of procedure inserted in the present Convention.” In effect, the Convention set up a permanent system of international arbitration and institutionalized the law and practice of arbitration in a definite and acceptable way.

As a result, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was established in 1900 and began operating in 1902. The PCA as established consisted of a panel of jurists designated by each country acceding to the Convention with each country being entitled to designate up to four from among whom the members of each arbitral tribunal might be chosen. In addition, the Convention created a permanent Bureau, located in The Hague, with functions similar to those of a court registry or secretariat. The 1899 Convention also laid down a set of rules of procedure to govern the conduct of arbitrations under the PCA framework.

The second Hague Peace Conference in 1907 saw a revision of the 1899 Convention and improvement of the rules governing arbitral proceedings. Today, the PCA has developed into a modern, multi-faceted arbitral institution perfectly situated to meet the evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community. The Permanent Court of Arbitration has also diversified its service offering alongside those contemplated by the Conventions. For instance, today the International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration serves as a registry in important international arbitrations. In 1993, the Permanent Court of Arbitration adopted new “Optional Rules for Arbitrating Disputes between Two Parties of Which Only One Is a State” and, in 2001, “Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment”.


PCA Website: (accessed on 25th May 2023).

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