Archives: Sustainability

Subscribe to Sustainability RSS Feed

ESG in the Energy Sector

Like many companies in other sectors, oil and gas companies are increasingly confronted with the need to address Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) imperatives in their businesses.  Traditionally viewed as ‘license to operate’ issues—effectively ensuring that companies continued to have ‘social permission’ to operate—these considerations have assumed an ever-greater importance as companies face both an … Continue Reading

FERC Accepts Study Agreement to Assess New Jersey Offshore Wind Deliverability

On February 16, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order accepting an executed State Agreement Approach Study Agreement (Study Agreement) between PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJ BPU), pursuant to which PJM will solicit project proposals to expand or upgrade its transmission system to provide for … Continue Reading

On Day 1, President Biden Creates Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

The gears of the administrative state are whirling as President Biden refocuses federal agencies on fighting climate change.  Yesterday’s Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis (“EO”) shows just how seriously the incoming Administration views this reorientation, and it identifies a tool central to its … Continue Reading

DOE Rule Sharply Limits Evaluation of Environmental Impacts of LNG Exports

In a recently adopted final rule, the Department of Energy (DOE) revised its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementation procedures to include LNG exports by marine vessel within a categorical exclusion from NEPA review.  DOE finds that the only source of potential environmental impacts within its authority to review are those associated with transporting natural … Continue Reading

The CMA’s market study into the UK electric vehicle charging sector

On 2 December 2020, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced a market study (the “study”) into the UK’s bourgeoning electric vehicle charging sector. This blog post considers the scope of the study, and may be of interest to Electric Vehicle market participants across the supply chain.… Continue Reading

The UK’s 10-point Green Industrial Revolution Plan

With the UK due to host the COP 26 climate summit in a year’s time, the UK Government is keen to set out its credentials as a global ‘green‘ leader and demonstrate not only that it can make good on its election promise to level up (with much of the promised Green Industrial Revolution investment … Continue Reading

Covington Experts Discuss Decarbonization Strategies in the EU and US at a Leading Global Sustainable Technology Conference

In October 2020, Covington public policy experts Sebastian Vos and Gary Guzy were invited to the 2020 CleanEquity Monaco sustainable technology conference to discuss the policy outlook in the EU and US, and likely impacts on efforts to decarbonize carbon-intensive sectors of the economy. The event was presented globally on EarthX TV.  Covington’s London-based emerging … Continue Reading

The Role of Carbon Capture and Storage in California’s Net-Zero Future

Earlier today, the Energy Futures Initiative and Stanford University released a new joint report that provides policymakers in California with an action plan for realizing the significant decarbonization opportunities presented by use of carbon, capture and storage (CCS) technology within the state. The results of the study add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating … Continue Reading

FERC Takes Close Look at Carbon Pricing

Recently, the three sitting Commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) convened thirty industry experts at a virtual Technical Conference on state adoption of carbon pricing and its implementation in organized, wholesale electricity markets managed by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) or independent system operators (ISOs).  Public interest was high, with more than 2,000 computers … Continue Reading

UK: new “world-leading” deforestation and ecosystem supply chain law

The UK Government recently announced that it is developing legislation that would make it illegal for large businesses operating in the UK to use certain commodities that have not been produced in line with local laws, and require in-scope companies to conduct due diligence to ensure that their supply chains are free from illegal deforestation … Continue Reading

The Green Deal at the Border: Public Consultation on the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism Launched

Last week, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the possible adoption of a new EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”).  This consultation is yet another of the initiatives that the Commission is taking to roll out its ambitious European Green Deal (for a recent overview webinar see here).  Manufacturers in virtually all industrial … Continue Reading

FERC Carbon Pricing Conference Set

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has scheduled a conference on September 30, 2020 regarding carbon pricing in organized wholesale electricity markets.  According to the conference notice, the purpose is to discuss “considerations related to state adoption of mechanisms to price carbon dioxide emissions…in regions with FERC-jurisdictional organized wholesale electricity markets.”  This conference should be … Continue Reading

Sustainability and Competition: Covington Assists Unilever on Submission to European Competition Authorities on the Competition Implications of Sustainability Cooperation

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

Will the SEC Offer Hope for Clear, Uniform Sustainability Disclosure Standards?

On May 21, in an open virtual meeting the SEC’s 23-member Investor Advisory Committee debated and endorsed the Investor as Owner Subcommittee’s long-awaited recommendations that the Commission begin in earnest an effort to update the reporting requirements of Issuers to include material, decision-useful, environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.  That same day, BlackRock shareholders debated … Continue Reading

FERC Carbon Pricing Conference Urged

A diverse group of stakeholders filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to convene a public conference to discuss integrating carbon pricing into U.S. organized regional wholesale electricity energy markets.  The group says it is not asking FERC to direct carbon pricing but instead to gather a wide range of stakeholders to … Continue Reading

How Will COVID-19 Affect Corporate Sustainability Efforts – Virtual Earth Day

Next week – April 22, 2020 – brings the 50th anniversary of the inaugural Earth Day, a public awakening inspired and promoted by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson that prompted over 20 million Americans (at that time 10% of the national population) to participate in events and activities around the country to demonstrate for government … Continue Reading

Climate Change: The EU Moves Towards a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

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

The Dutch Supreme Court holds that the Netherlands Has a Human Rights Obligation to Mitigate Climate Change: The Urgenda Case

On December 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands confirmed the judgements of a District Court and an Appeal Court requiring the Dutch Government to achieve a reduction of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions of 25% by 2020 compared to 1990, instead of the 20% reduction that the government had envisioned since 2011. The case … Continue Reading

South Africa Prepares for a Battery Energy Storage System Tender

In a project that the World Bank hopes will be a catalyst for implementing its climate change strategy in low and middle-income countries, Eskom, South Africa’s 100% state-owned electricity utility, will launch a tender for a 1.4 gigawatt-hours battery energy storage system (“BESS”). The tender will likely be issued in the first or second quarter … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Rules Broad Discretion for Commerce in Country of Origin of AD/CVD Imports

On March 12, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) affirmed the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (“Commerce”) determination that solar panels assembled in China from non-Chinese cells were subject to antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD).  See Canadian Solar, Inc. v. United States.  In doing so, the Federal Circuit found … Continue Reading

Companies Face Greater Scrutiny for Misleading Environmental Claims and Nonstandard Sustainability Reporting

As more companies recognize the value of enhanced sustainability reporting and publicize the positive environmental features of their products and services, they should also be attentive to greater public scrutiny of “green” claims.  Companies that engage in greenwashing – asserting exaggerated, misstated, or immaterial environmental claims – are increasingly exposed to reputational damage and legal … Continue Reading

California Legislature Passes Bill Putting State on Path to 100% Renewable and Zero-Carbon Power

A bill that would set California on a trajectory toward carbon-free emissions from its electric power sector cleared a major hurdle with its passage through the California State Legislature. SB 100 (De León), The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, sets a state policy that eligible renewable energy and zero-carbon resources supply 100 percent … Continue Reading

The Roggeveld Wind Farm in South Africa

On 4 April 2018, Covington’s client Building Energy, a multinational company operating in the renewable energy industry, signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the South African state owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (Eskom) to build, own and operate a 147 MW wind plant in Roggeveld (on the border of the Western and Northern … Continue Reading
LexBlog