With the assistance of Covington, Unilever submitted the attached paper to the European Commission and a number of National Competition Authorities. It suggests a possible framework for the application of EU competition law to sustainability collaborations between competitors.  The paper is available here.
Continue Reading Sustainability and Competition: Covington Assists Unilever on Submission to European Competition Authorities on the Competition Implications of Sustainability Cooperation

On March 4, 2020, the European Commission delivered the first major climate piece of its European Green Deal: it proposed a “European Climate Law,” which takes the form of a Regulation and establishes a framework for the irreversible and gradual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the enhancement of removals in the European Union.  The proposal and the fact that it takes the form of a binding Regulation may have a significant impact on a wide variety of legislative and policy initiatives that the EU and its Member States may take within the next years.
Continue Reading Call Me By My Name: The Importance of the European Commission’s Proposed Climate Change Law

Last week, the European Commission took a major step to implement the climate aspects of its European Green Deal.  It presented a proposal for a European Climate Law and two consultations on its announced Climate Pact and Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”).
Continue Reading Climate Change: The EU Moves Towards a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

Electronic devices and their components marketed in the European Union and European Economic Area are subject to a morass of environmental and product safety requirements that is only likely to increase with the EU’s implementation of its Circular Economy Strategy in the near future.  The requirements apply to all types of equipment, from sophisticated information technology equipment, to military equipment, aircraft components, electronic medical devices, household electronics, consumer devices, and industrial tools.
Continue Reading Environmental and Safety Requirements Affecting the Marketing of Electronic Devices and their Components in the European Union and European Economic Area

The European Union has adopted a new obligation on suppliers of articles that contain substances listed in the REACH Candidate List of SVHCs in concentrations above 0,1% to submit a notification to the European Chemicals Agency (“ECHA”).  The new requirement is intended to facilitate the recycling of products and was introduced by a new Directive amending the EU Waste Framework Directive.
Continue Reading New EU Requirements on Products Containing REACH Candidate List SVHCs

On June 21, 2018, the European Commission (“Commission”) started a new investigation to determine whether so-called destination clauses in Qatar Petroleum’s liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) supply contracts with European buyers infringe the European Union (“EU”) antitrust rules.
Continue Reading European Commission Launches New Antitrust Investigation into LNG Destination Clauses

Citing a responsibility to tackle the problem of marine litter originating from Europe, on May 28, 2018, the European Commission presented a proposal for a Directive on Single Use Plastic Products that if adopted will restrict and increase the costs of marketing different categories of single use plastic products and fishing gear containing plastic.  Many plastics, such as polypropylene, are produced from petroleum derivatives.  The proposal is one of the main measures that the Commission announced in its Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy and is mainly intended to address plastic marine litter in oceans and seas.
Continue Reading European Commission Proposes Marketing Restrictions on Single Use Plastic Products

This post looks at the recent English High Court decision in Dana Gas PJSC v Dana Gas Sukuk Ltd & Ors [2017] EWHC 2928.

Participants in the Middle East (and wider) Islamic finance markets held their breath during much of this year.  This was pending consideration by the High Court in England on some

Last week the European Commission presented an extensive package of legislative proposals (“Clean Energy Package”) that are intended to achieve and implement the European Union’s climate change and clean energy targets for 2030: a 40% cut of CO2 emissions, a share of 27% for renewable energies, and energy savings of 30%.

The package presents both opportunities and challenges for energy-related industries as well as for information technology companies whose products will help to achieve Europe’s energy efficiency objectives.  According to the Commission, its proposals should mobilize up to 177 billion Euros of public and private investment per year from 2021, and generate up to a 1% increase in GDP over the next decade.

The Commission’s proposals are a first step of a legislative process in the European Parliament and Council that is likely to last at least 18 months, and will provide industry with opportunities to influence the legislation on renewable energies and energy efficiency that will apply in the EU as of 2021.


Continue Reading The European Commission Presents its 2030 Clean Energy Package

The European Commission calculated years ago that someone flying from London to New York and return generates roughly the same level of CO2 emissions as the average person in the EU does by heating their home for a whole year. And air traffic is supposed to double by 2035…

This is why the European Union decided as early as 2008 that, as part of its effort to address climate change, it would extend its so called EU emissions trading system (“ETS”) to the aviation sector.[1] By 2012, in principle, emissions from all flights from, to and within the European Economic Area (EEA) – the 28 EU Member States, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – should have been included in the EU ETS system.

But this proposal was very negatively received by third countries. Airlines for America (A4A) together with several American air carriers engaged in legal disputes against the EU Directive, arguing that it broke the EU-US open sky agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, and the International Civil Aviation Convention. After their case was lost in the European Court of Justice, a coalition of countries led by the United States, China, Russia, India, Japan, and others launched a major political offensive against the unilateral character of the EU scheme. Their major argument was that the Directive, by imposing obligations on third countries, went against the principle of sovereignty. They pleaded that a satisfactory solution could only come through a global market based scheme, as it was discussed (but with not much success at the time) in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly .

As a result of these pressures – which included retaliation threats targeting Airbus sales – the EU renounced, provisionally, imposing its system to extra-EU flights. ETS requirements for flights to and from non-European countries were ‘suspended’ until the end of 2016, in order to give time to ICAO to develop a global ‘market-based measure’ (MBM) scheme. ICAO’s Assembly in 2013 decided in principle that a mechanism would be agreed by 2016 and applied by 2020. In the meantime, only flights within the EEA continued to be covered by the ETS system, with some exemptions for operators with low emissions.

ICAO has respected its self-imposed deadline: In its 39th session, on October 6th 2016 in Montreal, an agreement was reached on a ‘Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). According to the scheme, CO2 emissions for international aviation would be capped at the level of average emissions between 2019 and 2020, with participants offsetting any increases; the offsetting obligation would apply to all international flights between States that are part of CORSIA. In order to offset its emissions, an airline operator would have to buy ‘Emission Units’ originating from various emission reduction programs and projects across the globe. The specific criteria for these ‘Emission Units’ will be developed by ICAO in the next two years.

But, in order to ensure broad support, negotiating States concluded substantive compromises on the timeline of implementation, exemptions to the agreement, and the distribution of offsetting requirements among airline carriers.[2]  The European Union fought to reduce these exceptions or delays to a minimum but with limited success. It decided, anyway, in the end, to accept the final agreement.
Continue Reading The EU reaction to ICAO ’s Agreement on Aviation Emissions