Archives: Sustainability

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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

Covington CleanEquity Conversations: Will Market Driven Innovation Alone Save Us from Climate Change?

On March 8-9, 2018, a bespoke group of approximately 200 leading entrepreneurs, investors and advisors focused on deploying and commercializing cutting edge technologies gathered in Monte Carlo from across the globe for the 11th annual CleanEquity® Monaco Conference.  Complementing other plenary sessions and emerging company presentations, the conference initiated a new feature — Covington CleanEquity … Continue Reading

Covington Hosts 14th Annual Environmental Transactional Roundtable

Covington hosted the 14th Annual Environmental Transactional Roundtable on May 18, 2018. More than 70 attorneys attended, including from multiple countries outside the U.S., representing 31 law firms and organizations. The event was a great success, and featured panel discussions that sparked lively discussion among participants. The three panels covered product stewardship issues, environmental issues … Continue Reading

Covington CleanEquity Conversations

On March 8-9, 2018, a bespoke group of approximately 200 leading entrepreneurs, investors and advisors focused on deploying and commercializing cutting edge technologies gathered in Monte Carlo from across the globe for the 11th annual CleanEquity® Monaco Conference. Complementing other plenary sessions and emerging company presentations, the conference initiated a new feature — Covington CleanEquity … Continue Reading

Does California Offer a National Model For Energy Storage Rules?

Energy storage has frequently been cited as the critical missing link in an electric infrastructure designed to maximize the benefits of cheap, renewable energy.  Because energy from the sun and the wind is inherently intermittent, it has not been able to satisfy a round-the-clock need for electricity.  And in many places we’ve built more renewable … Continue Reading

California Looks Ahead to S.B. 100

California continues to cement its position as a global leader in renewable energy policy and climate change reform.  This session, California State Senate President, Kevin de León, authored Senate Bill 100 (S.B. 100), which would require California utilities to procure 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2045.  S.B. 100 has been approved … Continue Reading

Another Large Equity Fund Sharpens its Focus on Climate Risk Disclosures

Today The Vanguard Group, the Nation’s second largest fund group with over $4 trillion in assets under management, issued three publications — a press release, an open letter by Vanguard’s CEO, and its 2017 Investment Stewardship Annual Report  — highlighting Vanguard’s evolving view that responsible disclosure and management of climate risk is an essential governance … Continue Reading

Suniva Requests Global Safeguards For U.S. Solar Industry Under Section 201

On April 26, 2017, the U.S.-based solar manufacturer Suniva, Inc. filed a petition for global safeguards with the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”). In particular, Suniva requests the imposition of tariffs on solar cells and the establishment of a minimum price for solar modules imported into the United States. The petition was filed under Section … Continue Reading

Windstream v. Canada: How Regulatory Winds of Change Affected a Clean Energy Project

A recently-published NAFTA arbitration award in Windstream Energy LLC v. Government of Canada illustrates the perils of investing in clean energy projects in jurisdictions with ever evolving regulatory and policy frameworks.  The case is also a good reminder of the importance of investing in foreign jurisdictions through vehicles incorporated in countries that have adequate investment-protection … Continue Reading
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