Environment & Natural Resources

Brussels – Whereas more than half of the EU consumer population is found to be receptive to green claims, only one-fifth appears to actually trust the sustainability claims made by brands. More and more, the market is realizing that “sustainability” is more than a buzzword and green claims should be substantiated by clear and transparent data. The reputation and trustworthiness of the brand can be at stake.
Continue Reading ESG in fashion (2) : the EU framework on greenwashing in the fashion industry

On November 2, 2021, Crowell & Moring attorneys Judith Bussé, Ryan MacFarlane, Nicole Janigian Simonia, and David Stepp will be presenting a webinar to address the top 5 ESG challenges and opportunities for international companies and organizations.

Climate change is a global challenge that demands a global response. Global standards are vital in a number of areas to tackle the cross-border problems that many organizations face from forced labor issues, global initiatives, and disclosure requirements to greenwashing. Among the pressing issues are how plastic packaging and waste is regulated on a global level, how the recent EU initiatives apply to companies established outside of the EU territory, x, and x. Level-setting will need to go beyond what environmental, social and governance (ESG) basics address and so called “green” or sustainable investments that claim to pursue environmental goals will begin to see more scrutiny. Governments around the globe are working on numerous voluntary standards and a wave of new ESG regulation calls for more extensive and detailed corporate disclosures including that ESG risks are appropriately managed by third parties, such as supply chains and other business relationships.
Continue Reading Webinar: Top 5 ESG Challenges and Opportunities for International Companies and Organizations

Lithium cell and battery manufacturers long have been required by the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) and international hazardous materials/dangerous goods transportation regulations to prove that lithium cells and batteries meet UN testing, specifically Sub-section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria. Last year, the U.S. DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a rule that will help each entity along the distribution chain easily know that the lithium cell or battery meets UN testing. (85 Fed. Reg. 27810 (May 11, 2020)).
Continue Reading Are You Ready for the U.S. DOT’s January 1, 2022 Deadline for Lithium Battery Test Summaries?

Retailers need to prepare for a major shift in chemical regulation policy recently announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that could affect a broad range of products currently being sold in the US. Under this sweeping new policy, EPA plans to address chemical risks by directly regulating articles that are manufactured with those chemicals. Crowell environmental attorneys, Warren Lehrenbaum and Jennifer Giblin, addressed this and other important developments at EPA in a wide-ranging question and answer session with the Retail Industry Leaders Association on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.
Continue Reading EPA’s Shift In Chemical and Hazardous Materials Regulation and What Retailers Can Expect

Brussels – More and more fashion companies are announcing programs with ambitious (some more than others) goals in relation to environmental, social and governance criteria. Recently ASOS launched its ‘Fashion with Integrity’ (FWI) 2030 programme, committing to achieve Net Zero across the full value chain by 2030. Also consumer demand is not lagging behind, urging fashion companies to change the way they run their businesses and minimizing environmental impact while keeping track of human rights and labour practices across the production and supply chain.

Continue Reading ESG in fashion: a general overview of the EU framework on environment, social and governance criteria in the fashion industry

On October 1, 2021, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) published a proposed regulation that would list Nail Products Containing Toluene as a Priority Pollutant under its Safer Consumer Products (“SCP”) program.

Comments will be accepted by the DTSC respecting the proposed regulation until November 18, 2021.

The proposed regulation is aimed specifically at nail salon workers as well as pregnant women and their fetuses, infants, children and adolescents.

The rationale behind DTSC taking this action at this time, in part, is that these populations, within the specific context of nail salons currently under consideration, are deemed “sensitive subpopulations” pursuant to 22 Cal. Code Regs. § 69501.1(a)(64), as well as comprising a significant percentage of persons of color and/or persons of lower socioeconomic status, as set forth in Cal. Gov’t Code 65040.12(e) (“Environmental Justice”).

The proposed regulation covers nail coatings and nail polish thinners, including an array of specific types of coatings, including solvent or UV base coating, top coating, lacquer, gel nail polish, hard gel, shellac, nail art paint, and nail polish thinner, and thus is quite comprehensive in scope.
Continue Reading DTSC Proposes Adding Toluene-Containing Nail Products To SCP Priority Pollutants

In 2020, Greenpeace published a major report that purports to show that less than 15% of all plastic, including single-use plastic that is labeled as “recyclable,” is actually recycled in the United States. These dramatic findings kicked off a new wave of putative class action cases against manufacturers who regularly use plastic packaging, much of which is labeled as recyclable. For example, mere days after issuance of the Greenpeace Report, Earth Island Institute sued a group of ten major companies, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Clorox and Nestle over the use of plastic packaging that allegedly contributes substantially to plastics pollution in California waterways.

On Monday, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed one of the more prominent recent cases, which had been filed by Greenpeace itself against Walmart. Greenpeace, Inc. v. Walmart, Inc., No. 21-cv-00754-MMC (Sept. 20, 2021). Greenpeace’s case, brought under the widely-used, California consumer protection law, Cal. Bus. & Professions Code §17200 (“UCL”), sought to hold Walmart liable for making what Greenpeace alleged were false and misleading “recyclable” claims for certain products. Greenpeace alleged that the claims were false, not because the products are not recyclable, because most consumers do not have access to recycling programs that could accept the products for recycling.
Continue Reading Greenpeace Plastics Recyclability Suit Dismissed for Lack of Standing

On September 8, 2021, Crowell & Moring attorneys Karel Bourgeois and Judith Bussé will be presenting a webinar in collaboration with IBJ/IJE.

This webinar will discuss some of the most important European and national initiatives and their likely impact in practice: from the EU Action Plan on Sustainable Finance (March 2018) to the more

On June 23, 2021, Brussels-based Judith Bussé spoke at the International Consumer Product Health and Safety’s (ICPHSO) North American Workshop. ICPHSO is an international, neutral forum for product safety stakeholders to learn, network and share information.

In her presentation, Judith explored new EU Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) related measures and their practical consequences for

The Biden Administration has promised an across-the-government effort to combat climate change, consistent with policy priorities during the Obama Administration. While much speculation has focused on a climate infrastructure package or a possible revamp of the Clean Power Plan, appliance manufacturers should be prepared for a less publicized but similarly significant change in direction from the current administration: increased enforcement under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) appliance standards program.

Background

The DOE administers the appliance standards program under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), which includes setting mandatory appliance energy and water efficiency standards for over 60 covered products, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, vacuums, and battery chargers. Each appliance standard has two components: a conservation standard and an associated testing procedure through which the manufacturer demonstrates compliance with the applicable standard.

Although this program has existed since the 1980s, the Obama Administration was the first to explicitly include goals for greenhouse gas emission reductions as a component of the standards-setting process. Over the course of 8 years, DOE issued new and updated conservation standards for numerous products, and DOE’s Office of Enforcement investigated and issued monetary penalties to companies failing to comply with updated standards incorporating these emission reduction goals. The Trump Administration, by comparison, has not directly incorporated these greenhouse gas-related factors into the rulemaking process, and has been comparatively less active in updating standards in general. The Trump Administration also has pursued fewer enforcement actions on the whole – and appears to have sought smaller penalties – relative to the Obama Administration.
Continue Reading Appliance Manufacturers Should Prepare for Increased DOE Enforcement Activity