To mark World Environment Day on 5 June 2023, this article spotlights global environment and climate change challenges and counteractive measures, as discussed by ILO’s expert authors.
Environment & Climate Change
Plastic pollution represents one of the most significant environmental challenges today. In keeping with this year’s World Environment Day theme – “solutions to plastic pollution” – Johanna Lindqvist and Erika Sköld from Advokatfirman Lindahl discuss how the legal framework in Sweden continues to evolve as businesses navigate the complex issue of plastic waste.
Energy & Natural Resources
In New Zealand, renewable energy is a significant part of the electricity generation mix. This is primarily due to the jurisdiction’s large hydro fleet representing approximately 57% of total generation and geothermal power plants representing approximately 18%. Mei Fern Johnson, Michael Loan, Peter Callus and Steven Sutton from Russell McVeagh introduce the current renewable energy systems in place in New Zealand.
Greece has made considerable efforts to achieve a green transition by increasing the number of renewable energy system shares in its energy mix. Mira Todorovic Symeonides and Panagiota Maragkozoglou from Rokas discuss these efforts, detailing the legal framework in place to support them.
In Nigeria, special consideration has gone into bringing renewable energy into the energy mix as part of measures to reduce global warming. Ibukun Konu from Streamsowers & Köhn provides a detailed overview of these measures and the benefits of renewable energy.
In the energy sector in Switzerland, the Federal Council has developed the Energy Strategy 2050. This strategy aims to maintain Switzerland's high supply standard but also to reduce Switzerland's energy-related environmental impact. Marcel Meinhardt and Patrick Sattler from Lenz & Staehelin outline the regulatory tools in place.
Banking & Financial Services
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a new framework for acceptance of green deposits for RBI-regulated entities to offer "green deposits" to finance green activities and projects. Aditya Bhargava, Mithila Bhati and Sristi Yadav from Phoenix Legal outline the key provisions of this framework.
In Croatia, the ultimate goal is to channel financing into green projects and create an economy that is resilient to climate change. Zrinka Buzatović and Antea Muschet from Maćešić & Partners discuss the development of sustainable financing in their jurisdiction.
The development of social loans and sustainability-linked loans is still in progress in Hungary. Gergely Szalóki and Bodó Bálint from Schoenherr provide an overview of the progress being made on the sustainability side of the financial sector.
Meanwhile, sustainability-linked loans have grown in popularity in the Swedish market in recent years. Lisa Antman, Klara Larsson and Arvid Hed from Wigge & Partners explain how these loans are used in Sweden and provide some examples of common sustainability loan criteria from Swedish transactions.
Environmental litigation in China presents unique challenges for those involved. Tim Yimin Liu and Luke Li from Global Law Office explore the key aspects of the burden of proof in environmental litigation in China, and what this means for companies operating in the country.
Back in New Zealand, Alex Young from Wilson Harle discusses the importance of tikanga Māori and Te Tiriti principles in his analysis of several cases centred on environmental claims.
In Indonesia, the precautionary principle is one of the principles of protection and management of environment. Eddy Leks at Leks&Co examines this principle and its application in environmental cases.
Poland is currently in the process of an energy transition, striving towards decarbonisation. Patrycja Wysocka from Kubas Kos Gałkowski discusses the disputes that have arisen in the context of this transition, highlighting the importance of combining competencies relating to both litigation and knowledge of energy and climate policies.
Malaysia's need for proper enforcement of environmental laws is great. Hui Juan Lee and Hui Yee at Gan Partnership explore the repercussions of environmental law breaches in their discussion of a case concerning the discharge of pollutants and noxious substances.
Employment & Immigration
The Finnish criminal code recognises various environmental crimes, a common aspect of which is wilful neglect. Jouni Kautto from Waselius & Wist outlines the parameters for employer liability in a case where an employee makes a mistake that causes environmental damage.
In the United Kingdom, employees are increasingly concerned about the environment and many wish to partner with employers in making the business more environmentally friendly. Hannah McGovern and Carla Davidson from Lewis Silkin LLP outline 10 environment-related initiatives that employers can put in place.
In the Philippines, extreme weather conditions have put many jobs in jeopardy, and global warming is significantly affecting worker productivity. Consequently, the Green Jobs Act was passed into law in 2016. Rashel Ann C Pomoy and Roy Santos Necesario from Villaraza & Angangco discuss this law and how generating green jobs will build resilience against climate change.
The extent to which a company makes a positive contribution to the environment and climate plays an increasingly important role in the Netherlands too. Marieke Verschoor and Caroline van Gent from BarentsKrans outline the role of the works council as an environmental advocate.
Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media
In Turkey, as some companies take steps to capitalise on environmental awareness, a practice known as "greenwashing" has emerged. Burak Özdağıstanli, Cennet Sümeyye Uçar and Ebru Gümüş from Özdağıstanli Ekici Attorney Partnership discuss this issue and the regulations that fight against greenwashing to protect consumers.
Canada is also facing challenges regarding greenwashing. Jamie-Lynn Kraft and Alexandra Johnson Dingee from Smart & Biggar highlight the fine line between green branding and greenwashing while discussing the regulatory considerations of this issue. See also their analysis of the trademark implications of greenwashing in Canada.
Kalindhi Bhatia and Pratik Bakshi from BTG Legal discuss greenwashing in their article too. They state that an advertiser engaging in greenwashing, by making deceptive or exaggerated claims about its environmental impact, would likely be considered in violation of the applicable legal requirements.
In Argentina, concern about the practise of greenwashing has increased and has drawn the attention of regulatory specialists. Rachel Flanzbaum and Josefina Piñeiro from Ojam Bullrich Flanzbaum comment on the various regulatory provisions applicable in Argentina. See also their discussion of the IP implications of greenwashing in Argentina.
In line with the international and investment context, the influence of ESG has grown in M&A transactions in Brazil over the past few years. Bernardo Freitas, Thiago Riccio and Marcela Assis from Freitas Ferraz Advogados discuss the importance of remaining updated and competitive. Corporate lawyers must stay informed of new legal approaches and regulations relating to ESG, and the impacts of ESG over the lifecycle of an M&A transaction.