On December 14, 2023, the European Parliament and the European Council reached a provisional deal on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CS3D). Initially proposed by the European Commission in February of 2022, the CS3D requires certain companies to account for and mitigate adverse human rights and environmental impacts throughout their supply chains, including both their own operations as well as upstream and downstream activities. In November 2022, the European Council adopted the general approach proposed by the European Commission. Since then, the Council and the European Parliament have negotiated the parameters of the CS3D to reach a provisional agreement. While press releases from the Council, the Parliament, and the Commission all confirm an agreement has been reached, the text of the agreed upon CS3D is not yet publicly available. It is likely to be released in early 2024.Continue Reading EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive Nearly Final
With the growing emergence of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws, companies selling products in the United States must increasingly plan for the end of a product’s life. EPR programs shift waste-management responsibilities that have traditionally been handled by consumers or state and local governments to the “producer” of the product.
Most existing EPR programs in the United States target packaging materials, especially plastic packaging. So far, four states have finalized EPR legislation for packaging: Maine, Oregon, Colorado, and California. Each of these states is currently in the process of developing a regulatory program. In 2023, several additional states introduced EPR legislation, signaling that other states may soon follow.Continue Reading Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging: What’s Ahead in 2024
Last week marked the conclusion of the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). As we previously discussed, the expectations were COP28 would tackle a range of critical issues toward achieving the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Below is an overview of the most significant developments coming out of Dubai, as reflected in the COP28 agreement, and the expectations for future climate action.Continue Reading COP28: Unpacking the Results and the Road Ahead in Global Climate Action
The 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiating process will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, beginning today, November 30, through December 12. As in the past, we are closely following the events on the ground in Dubai and the actions taken and the commitments made toward achieving the climate change goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The themes of COP28, set by the host nation, include technology and innovation (aligning on actions by governments and the private sector to limit warming to 1.5°C); inclusion (engagement with diverse peoples); frontline communities (ensuring the most climate-vulnerable communities can adapt); and finance (funding to close the finance gap on adaptation and the energy transition and aligning public and private finance with the Paris Agreement’s goals). Beyond these themes – that will guide the two-week negotiations – there are a few specific issues we expect to be a priority at COP28, which we briefly discuss below and intend to follow closely. Continue Reading COP28: What to Expect in Dubai
A set of mandatory environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting standards, the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), are set to enter into force in the European Union (EU) at the end of this year. These standards require mandatory ESG reporting for certain companies that do business in the EU. This summary provides an overview of who is subject to the CSRD and when, summarizes key information covered under this initial set of standards, highlights technical guidance from the entity that created the standards, and discusses planned future development of additional standards.
Continue Reading European Union Advances Mandatory ESG Reporting Standards
On October 7, 2023 California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two landmark climate disclosure laws aimed at making major companies publicly disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and report on their climate-related financial risks. The first, the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act (SB 253), will require all business entities with an annual revenue exceeding $1 billion to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions in a format accessible to the public. The second, SB 261, will require all business entities with annual revenue exceeding $500 million to publish a report on their “climate-related financial risks” on their websites. These first-in-the-nation laws are broader than the proposed SEC climate disclosure rule and reach more than just California-based entities.Continue Reading First-in-the-Nation Climate Disclosure Bills Become Law In California
The US Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) recently finalized its long-anticipated National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives (“NECIs”) for fiscal years 2024 through 2027, naming six “priority areas” on which EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (“OECA”) will focus its enforcement efforts and direct additional resources. In his first significant action since being confirmed by the Senate on July 20, 2023, OECA Assistant Administrator David Uhlmann issued a memorandum on August 17, 2023 to the EPA Regional Administrators, advising of the six NECIs. He stated that over the next four years EPA will “address the most significant public health and environmental challenges, protect vulnerable and overburdened communities, and promote greater compliance with our environmental laws.”Continue Reading EPA Announces Its Final National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives for FY2024-2027
On July 10, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a suite of bills intended to facilitate the permitting and approval processes for clean energy and other infrastructure projects in California.
Enactment of these measures in conjunction with the state’s budget bill marked the culmination of negotiations between the governor and state legislators that began on May 19, 2023, when the governor’s office announced a number of legislative proposals to streamline approval and permitting processes for clean infrastructure projects in California. On the same day, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-8-23, creating an Infrastructure Strike Team to work across state agencies to maximize federal and state funding opportunities for California innovation and infrastructure projects. The governor’s legislative proposals and executive order reflect the administration’s commitment to infrastructure development in California.Continue Reading California Governor Newsom Signs Legislation Intended To Facilitate Clean Energy and Infrastructure Development
On June 5, 2023, the US Department of Energy (DOE) published its US National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap. This report addresses the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) requirement that the DOE “develop a technologically and economically feasible national strategy and roadmap to facilitate widespread production, processing, delivery, storage, and use of clean hydrogen.” Notably, in developing this strategy, Congress instructed the DOE to focus on clean hydrogen production and use from a variety of sources—including natural gas, coal, renewable energy, nuclear energy, and biomass.Continue Reading Department of Energy Establishes Clean Hydrogen Roadmap
On April 27, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Proposed Rule to grant Louisiana primacy to administer and enforce the Class VI Underground Injection Control (UIC) program within its borders. EPA approval of Louisiana’s primacy application would authorize the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) to issue UIC permits for Class VI geologic carbon sequestration facilities and undertake compliance enforcement for such facilities located within the state. EPA has determined that Louisiana’s application meets the necessary requirements for approval and is soliciting public comments on the proposal. One of the major sticking points in EPA’s approval of Louisiana’s program has been the approach to incorporating environmental justice (EJ) into the Class VI permit process. LDNR has agreed to implement a number of EJ-focused elements into the permitting process, including robust EJ analysis and public participation.Continue Reading EPA Proposes to Give Louisiana Authority for CO2 Injection Permits Under Condition that State Permit Process Includes Robust Environmental Justice Analysis and Outreach