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Seán Finan

Seán Finan is an associate in the Life Sciences team.  His practice covers environmental, food and beverage and pharmaceutical regulation. 

Seán has specific experience in a number of key areas for EU and UK clients in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and consumer goods industries, including:

  • General food regulation; novel food regulation; genetically modified and "precision bred" products;
  • Advertising claims, particularly environmental claims and "greenwashing";
  • Environmental and ESG compliance issues (Extended Producer Responsibility, ); and
  • Chemicals legislation (REACH, CLP, Biocides).

Seán is qualified in both England & Wales, and the Republic of Ireland.

On 19 June 2023, after almost 20 years of negotiations, the United Nations (“UN”) member states adopted a landmark treaty to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine Biodiversity of areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (the “BBNJ” treaty).

One of the cornerstones of the BBNJ treaty is the creation of a new mechanism for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from activities with respect to “marine genetic resources” (“MGRs”) and “digital sequence information” (“DSI”) from MGRs.  This mechanism is groundbreaking because it will require companies to pay for the use of genetic resources beyond national jurisdiction for the first time.  Until now, under the existing Convention on Biological Diversity (“CBD”) and its Nagoya Protocol, companies were required to make (non-)monetary contributions only for the utilization of genetic resources under national jurisdiction (e.g., from national territories, national seas and exclusive economic zones).  The BBNJ creates new “Access and Benefit-Sharing” (“ABS”) obligations on MGRs from maritime areas beyond national jurisdiction (i.e., the High Seas and the Area). 

Companies in sectors whose R&D depends on marine genetic resources will be required to contribute to share financial and other benefits.  In this blog we focus on those provisions of the BBNJ which will have the most direct impact on companies.Continue Reading Historic Marine Biodiversity Treaty creates new Access and Benefit-Sharing obligations for life sciences companies

On March 22, 2023, the European Commission (“Commission”) presented its proposal for a Directive on substantiation and communication of explicit environmental claims (“Proposed Green Claims Directive”).  The Proposed Green Claims Directive is intended to work in tandem with the Commission’s 2022 Proposal for a Directive empowering consumers for the green transition through better protection against unfair practices and better information (“Proposed Greenwashing Directive”).  Both Proposed Directives are intended to contribute to the EU’s green transition towards a circular, climate-neutral and clean economy by enabling consumers to make informed purchasing decisions based on reliable information about the sustainability of products and traders.  In particular, the Proposed Green Claims Directive would create a common methodology for substantiating green claims about the environmental footprint of products, services and companies and require companies making environmental claims to secure a certification of compliance from an independent national “verifier.”Continue Reading Greenwashing: EU Unveils Ambitious Proposal on Green Claims