Sustainability, CleanTech and Climate Change

Increasingly, businesses are under pressure to respond to new regulatory mandates and business initiatives in sustainability and climate change, as government and private entities seek ways to protect the environment. Pepper Hamilton LLP helps clients meet the challenges of these government and societal demands.

Pepper’s Sustainability, CleanTech and Climate Change Team includes lawyers with experience in regulatory, commercial and litigation issues affecting various industries and commercial interests. The group includes lawyers with backgrounds in conflict minerals, construction, corporate and securities, real estate,  energy, environmental, government contracts, high performance building, international trade, intellectual property, Marcellus Shale, project finance, product liability, real estate, renewable energy, transportation and tax matters, and other relevant legal areas. We take a holistic approach to these matters, using the breadth of our interdisciplinary experience and perspective to solve client problems efficiently and effectively.

Our lawyers advise on sustainable development matters such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system and regulatory compliance matters such as greenhouse gas emission regulations. We also help clients obtain other regulatory approvals, develop and protect intellectual property, negotiate complex contractual arrangements, resolve disputes and manage risk avoidance.

The heart of sustainable business practices is innovation through the use of new technology or new ways of looking at old problems. Pepper’s Sustainability, CleanTech and Climate Change Team attorneys are experienced with solving the problems facing technology developers, understand the government programs that promote green technologies, and are familiar with the use of such technologies in their practices.

We provide counseling and advice on a wide range of sustainability and climate change issues including:

  • advising industrial clients on negotiating air pollution control permits in states where regulators are increasingly seeking to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG)
  • advising clients on integrating GHG emissions allowances and carbon offsets into their business and international trade planning decisions and negotiating contracts to ensure that these instruments are transferable
  • commenting on proposed GHG regulations and advising trade associations and industrial clients with respect to such regulatory initiatives
  • counseling clients on matters of corporate governance including new and expected emissions reporting requirements under Sarbanes Oxley
  • counseling clients on project developments under the Kyoto protocols
  • advising owners, prospective buyers, developers, lenders and local governments and redevelopment authorities interested in improving property, or otherwise enhancing its value or reducing liability arising from its environmental condition by:
    • counseling about actual and potential liability, remediation, reuse, financing, sale, lease, donation and strategic stockpiling of brownfield properties
    • counseling concerning advantages, disadvantages and impacts of Smart Growth, GreenScape, industrial recycling and other programs
    • negotiating cleanup obligations, liability limitations between buyer and seller, liability release under brownfields regulations, and title acquisition
    • assisting with acquiring liability limitation insurance, and counseling on funding brownfield cleanup and development through loans, grants, bonds and tax increment financing.
  • advising clients who make and use construction material on the effects of Green Building requirements
  • advising building owners and construction firms on the practical risk allocation, contracting scheme, and organization of a project team for Green Buildings. Pepper also has experience in creating contracts to promote or require integrated project delivery (which is needed to meet the LEED® requirement for integrative design).
  • litigating construction disputes arising from the inability to meet a Green Building requirement
  • advising on how to meet energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements
  • advising on legal limitations on green marketing provided by the Federal Trade Commission regulations
  • advising on Securities and Exchange Commission reporting requirements regarding potential climate change and sustainability liabilities
  • advising government contractors on how to qualify for the new US “green” government contracting requirements
  • advising companies on ways of minimizing legal risk from using new technologies that may not have well developed environmental, health and safety requirements (e.g., advice to companies using nanotechnology)
  • advising clients concerning product labeling requirements, product take-back programs, and using product labeling to lessen product liability risk
  • protecting intellectual property rights and developing business plans for new green technology
  • advising companies on required disclosures to investors and the advantages and disadvantages of codes of corporate social responsibility
  • commenting on regulations, obtaining regulatory approvals and ensuring compliance needed to market products (e.g., compliance with the Toxic Substance Control Act, the Federal Insecticide and Fungicide Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, California Proposition 65, the Federal Trade Commission green marketing regulations, and other product labeling and advertising issues)
  • advising generally on compliance with statutes implemented by the EPA, National Highway Safety Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and hazardous materials transportation safety requirements, including defending against penalties
  • advising companies that manufacture and use hazardous materials on methods of minimizing both regulatory and litigation risks.

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