On September 13, 2022, the United Nations General Assembly “UNGA” opened its 77th session in New York City. The UNGA is an international policy making organization made up of several Member States. Businesses and companies look towards developments from UNGA to implement procedures for sustainable practices that ensure their companies contribute to a healthy and sustainable environment and development. This article analyzes why and how companies need to emphasize the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals “SDGs” and how the compliance industry can hold companies accountable.
Beverage corporation Diageo has recently been fined £1.2 million for violating environmental regulations. Diageo is a multinational corporation that owns a variety of liquor brands, including Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Don Julio, Crown Royal, and several others. Headquartered in England, it operates all over the world, with its North American subsidiary being one of its most profitable. In violation of UK regulations, the beverage company has failed to report the environmental impacts of some of its sites for the past six years and has failed to secure permits for the relevant operations. The corporation alleges that these omissions were the result of an administrative error.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are emerging digital assets with numerous rights and obligations. However, regulations and laws in the United States are only barely beginning to catch up, and NFTs consume nearly as much energy as a small country. Without NFT regulation, climate change catastrophes are likely to be evident sooner than expected.
On August 29, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (“the EPA”) announced a proposed reconsideration amendment to an Obama Administration rule regulating the natural gas industry’s methane emissions. This proposal is in response to President Trump’s order for federal agencies to review their actions, purportedly to remove potential resource burdens. The EPA asserts that the changes will remove regulatory duplication and save the industry millions of dollars, but the savings may come at the expense of increasing the planet’s vulnerability.
“I sometimes wonder if we’re in the branded litter business, branded trash.” That was a presumably half-joking statement made at the World Economic Forum in Davos by Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies. What certainly was not a joke was the pressure and criticism major consumer goods companies faced in Davos from activists and groups that believe not enough is being done to cut use of plastic packaging in goods. Companies like Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble (P&G) have emerged as new targets of environmental groups, who see these companies as major contributors to polluted oceans and endangered marine life. The impact of plastic waste on the environment has also drawn the ire of millennials, to the extent that one industry analyst claims the war on plastics is part of consumer goods companies’ marketing plans. While companies may be tailoring marketing plans and making pledges to reduce the amount of plastic in their products, the 8 million tons of plastic that end up in the world’s oceans each year means these companies will continue to feel the heat from activists, millennials, and regulators.
In early January of this year, the House Committee on Armed Services granted an extension to a bill that would increase border security. An unlikely opponent of this bill is the environmental lobby, since the bill would allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to waive the requirements of some of the most important environmental protection statutes. These statutes have been the basis for almost all the citizen enforcement in the environmental arena; they work to maintain protections for 73 different areas along the border, along with numerous endangered species.
As summer turns to fall, leaves begin to change, and farmers in the Midwest start the process of harvesting their crops. Farmers are hard-working, environmentally conscious, planners, who consider how their planting, fertilizer, and equipment effect the environment that their livelihood depends on. They do all of this while still attempting to remain compliant with all applicable state and federal laws. Currently, farmers are worried about changes being made to the Clean Water Act and if they are going to incur large economic damages because of it.
Environmental regulation has been heavily targeted by President Trump since the first days of his presidency, and even throughout his campaign. He announced early on that he wanted to cut general business regulations by at least 75%. His justification was that he wanted to remove red tape and delays and promote industry growth and economic development. The two industries potentially most affected by changes to environmental regulations are the oil industry and the coal mining industry.
One of this administration’s first big moves towards environmental deregulation was withdrawing from the Paris Accord. Against the advice of many leaders in the tech and fossil fuel industry, Trump chose to withdraw, stating that the terms of the accord were not as favorable to the United States. Experts say the support of the Paris Accord stems from a general trend towards reducing emission and creating more sustainable sources as a better investment than coal and oil, and a more “global framework”. Although some experts and leaders in the fossil fuel industry have been denouncing the changes, others are consulting with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Interior Department on policy changes and leading the teams created to evaluate and remove regulations.