Clean, Green and Candid: Environmental Issues Every GC Should Know

ACC Cleantech Committee Meeting - San Francisco Presentation

03/11/2010 11:30 a.m. - 01:30 p.m.

Clean Technology, Environmental Litigation, Environmental Permitting + Regulation, and Land Use + Development

Morrison & Foerster
425 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Robert L. Falk and William F. Tarantino

Robert L. Falk and William F. Tarantino


Genevieve Oransky

In this day and age, and particularly in light of growing political, media, and shareholder/investor attention to climate change and other sustainability issues, virtually all companies need to be mindful of running into environmental law matters and associated risks, either directly or indirectly.  Please join us for a program on environmental issues of which every general counsel should be aware and learn some key recommendations on how to go about addressing them. 
Private practice environmental lawyers and inside counsel from top US companies will share their unique perspectives on environmental risk management, sustainability programs, the future of climate change regulation, the regulation of environmental marketing (“green”) claims, managing corporate disclosures concerning climate change and environmental matters, and the avoiding potential for inheriting CERCLA (Superfund) cleanup liability in M&A and real estate transactions undertaken in the recovering economy.  The panel format for this event is highly interactive and audience questions and participation will be encouraged.  Discussion topics will likely include:
• Cleaning House on Climate Change:  Uncertainty is the name of the game for carbon in 2010.  EPA has taken significant steps toward regulating climate change with its mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rule, endangerment finding, and tailoring rule.  Federal courts are hearing climate change lawsuits based on common law nuisance theory which, if successful, could have far reaching implications for business.  Congress is conflicted over cap and trade legislation while the international community struggles to move forward after a challenging COP15 in Copenhagen.  Learn how your company should view the climate change black box and how to best prepare in light of the various legal schemes that might emerge.  
• Sustainability throughout the Supply Chain:  As evidenced by Walmart’s Sustainability Index Initiative, there is a growing hunger for sustainability data and lifecycle analysis in the marketplace.  A recent Carbon Disclosure Project survey found that over half (56%) of member companies may cease doing business with suppliers who do not take steps to manage their carbon emissions.  Supply chain management includes more than just carbon emissions; companies are faced with difficult questions about their water usage, material inputs and waste outputs. Whether your company is a purchaser or supplier, learn how to play this emerging market trend to your advantage.
• Avoidance of Greenwashing Liabilities:  The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is in the process of updating its “Green Guides” rulebook on the use of environmental terms in marketing and advertising.  References to carbon, renewable energy credits (“RECs”) and other sustainability-related matters may soon be subject to detailed FTC guidelines.  Enforcement of, and media and competitor scrutiny towards broad general “green” claims and the use of various previously-regulated environmental marketing terms is definitively on the upswing.  Learn how various parts of your company should be sensitized to these issues to avoid potential liability for “greenwashing.” 
• Enhanced Corporate Disclosures Requirements for Environmental and Climate Change Matters: On January 28, 2010, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) voted to provide interpretive guidance for the SEC disclosure requirements on business and legal developments related to climate change. The interpretive guidance gives specific examples of areas in which companies may have to provide disclosure, including pending legislation and regulations on climate change and international accords and treaties on climate change. Last October, the SEC reversed a rule that prevented shareholders from asking companies about the impact of climate change on their businesses and now allows shareholders to submit resolutions seeking information on the financial risks companies face from social and environmental issues.  The Financial Standards Account Board is also emphasizing the need for disclosure of potentially material environmental and climate change risks.  Learn how companies are dealing with issues of voluntary disclosure and the prospect of mandatory disclosure on these environmental risks.
• John Busterud, Director and Counsel, Environmental Affairs, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
• Scott Rickman, Associate General Counsel, Del Monte Foods
• Robert Falk, Partner, Morison & Foerster LLP
• Bill Tarantino, Associate, Morrison & Foerster LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP (Provider #2183) certifies that this activity has been approved for MCLE credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of 1 hour(s).

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