California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed three bills addressing carbon capture, utilization and storage (“CCUS”) and carbon dioxide removal (“CDR”). Collectively, these bills create a pathway for new regulation of CCUS and CDR projects, enabling them to become part of a solution for the State to meet aggressive carbon reduction / neutrality goals in 2030
An example of a new trend towards recognizing “Environmental, Social and Governance” (“ESG”) impacts from business operations is the recently introduced Climate Risk Disclosure Act of 2021 (“the Act”). As currently drafted, the Act would require significant new public disclosures from publicly traded companies regarding financial risks to their operations and profitability from climate change (e.g., air emissions, risks to facilities from storms, lending and insurance costs, etc.). Such disclosures could also indirectly impact non-publicly traded companies (domestic or foreign) who provide goods and services to publicly traded companies.
ESG is a topic increasingly accepted as central to legal, corporate and financial risk assessment and strategy for business leaders. The environmental stewardship aspect of ESG can be evaluated in part by measuring a company’s greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and overall sustainability. Social values often consider a company’s relationship with its employees, diversity and inclusion policies, labor standards, and contributions to the communities in which it operates. Lastly, the governance facet of ESG considers a company’s leadership, internal structure, and core values.
Board-level executives across industries are grappling with how to address and leverage ESG related issues to both mitigate risks as well as create long-term value for their organizations. ESG is a complex topic attracting comment from various stakeholders including shareholders, customers, suppliers, financial lenders and employees. We are now seeing more ESG initiatives in legislation, as described below.…