As the most proactive companies plan for the future, the importance of a sustainable footprint, innovative healthcare, and community engagement is factoring into business development and continuity plans. More businesses are actively setting goals to limit their environmental footprint and address climate change concerns through energy storage, green business, and electric or hybrid transportation initiatives. Other companies are looking at their investments through an environmental, social, and corporate governance lens. And as COVID-19 turned a healthcare crisis into an economic one, the growth of telehealth, regulation and distribution of a safe vaccine, and rebuilding of a taxed healthcare system are sure to stay in the limelight.
The environmental, social, and governance (ESG) landscape is being shaped by the establishment of various ESG standards and frameworks, many of which have been adopted on a voluntary basis by funds, investment managers, and the companies in which they invest. Although, as of June 2021, there are currently no ESG-specific regulations or rules in the United States, there are many existing securities laws that apply to ESG investing and related claims, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is focused on ESG investing from policy, regulatory, examination, and enforcement perspectives. There are a number of steps that funds and their investment managers can, and should, take to assess and address the potential issues presented by ESG investing.
Hydrogen has been widely touted as a solution to achieve ambitious emissions reduction goals. But in order to unleash hydrogen’s potential as a viable energy source to meet current targets, it needs to be produced in larger quantities than it is today without generating large amounts of undesirable emissions during the production process, and at a cost that is not prohibitive.
Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Angus King (I-ME) introduced the Accelerating Charitable Efforts Act (ACE Act) on June 9. A joint press release states that the purpose of the ACE Act is to reform private foundations and ensure that donor advised funds (DAFs) make resources available to “working charities” in a “reasonable period of time.”
The scope of commitments by corporations involving their own sustainability efforts around the globe has markedly accelerated this year. About 300 companies have signed on to the RE100 initiative, which brings together businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. And recently, more than 400 businesses urged the Biden-Harris administration and the United States to set goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.
US President Joseph Biden issued the Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk on May 20, 2021, directing federal agencies across the US government to take action addressing climate-related financial risk.
Partners Louise Skinner and Lee Harding authored an article for International Employment Lawyer that outlined strategies for maintaining a healthy workplace culture.
Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador approved for publication on May 4 changes to Mexico’s Hydrocarbon Law (the Hydrocarbons Reform), which is aimed to impair investors in the sector. Following publication in the Federal Official Gazette (Diario Oficial de la Federación), it entered into force on May 5, 2021.
Partners Bill Kissinger, Ella Foley Gannon, and Rick Rothman authored an article for Law360 about recent US regulatory and legislative developments addressing climate change and renewable energy.
Partners Kirstin Gibbs, Jennifer Josefson, Felipe Alice, Olivier Chambord, Hao Su, and Tsugu Watanabe authored a Petroleum Review article about the global energy transition to net zero emissions.
Partners William Yonge and Rob Mailer authored an article for Investment Week that outlines considerations for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) funds.
Firm Chair Jami McKeon is among the legal industry leaders denouncing “anti-Semitism and the demonization of Jews pervading the press, social media, and the streets of this country” in a letter to the editor published by The American Lawyer.
Partner Ella Foley Gannon was quoted by Law360 after the Biden-Harris administration released plans to lease federal waters in California to an offshore wind project.
Morgan Lewis partner Grace Speights was featured in an article by The American Lawyer on changes in the way law firms talk about social justice and racial inequity that arose following the murder of George Floyd last summer.
Partners Kirstin Gibbs and Felipe Alice and associates Pamela Wu and Patrick Pennella discussed the laws and regulations that govern the siting, construction, and operation of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in a recent Practical Law Oil & Gas article.
Partners Kirstin Gibbs and Ella Foley Gannon were quoted by Law360 in an article about the new US presidential administration’s efforts toward tackling climate change.
Partner Jedd Wider was quoted by Private Equity International after he spoke at the Morgan Lewis Private Investment Funds Summit. During the session, Jedd covered a number of topics including what the private funds industry can expect to see from new US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler.