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Corporate Sustainability, Renewables & Climate Change Law

Climate issues dominate many business issues today.

Businesses are challenged by rapidly evolving mandatory and voluntary programs to address climate change, disclose risks, protect limited resources, respond to consumer preferences and, generally act to further global sustainability efforts. Protecting and conserving water, air, and land resources figures front and center in these programs. Our practitioners’ deep knowledge in this arena, coupled with our problem-solving abilities, underpin a range of services we provide to support your company’s sustainability program.

Traditional environmental laws and practices are foundational to understanding and reaching global sustainability goals. ArentFox Schiff’s Environmental Group has played a role in the development, interpretation, or implementation of major environmental and energy legislative and regulatory schemes for more than 40 years. Facing the complexities of traditional emission and discharge permits and new permitting regimes and understanding the business risks and opportunities that accompany new issues are the bedrock of our practice. Our extensive experience positions us to counsel clients seeking to implement sustainability plans and to assist with assessing the growing climate change regulatory reach.

Climate Change Risks and Opportunities

Climate change presents opposing challenges: reducing fossil fuel and other greenhouse gas emissions while improving the economic health of our communities. New transportation, energy production, transmission, and manufacturing methods are necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Developing, financing, and constructing these new technologies requires lawyers who both understand how emissions are generated and can help you predict environmental consequences to land and water. ArentFox Schiff understands that meeting the issues head-on with reasoned approaches that incorporate policy, technology, stewardship, and public education are key to meeting sustainability goals.

ArentFox Schiff assists clients in developing and implementing business and legislative strategies by bringing together highly skilled lawyers from a cross-section of practice areas — including Environmental, Energy, Real Estate, and Corporate — to help clients efficiently implement sustainability programs and applicable requirements, and capitalize on new market opportunities.

Environmental Drivers

In the past, starting a new business or production process required environmental permits and pollution prevention strategies. Planning for and obtaining energy supply contracts or water resources, while necessary, were often not a major factor in whether to manufacture a new product or build a new facility. Now, energy needs and limited resources have become driving forces,  pressure to develop sustainable practices throughout the supply chain requires additional forethought and innovation, and locations are being evaluated for fire, storm, and sea level risks.

Current and expected legislation and regulations are forcing businesses to focus on the technologies of production and transportation as never before. Electricity generation, transmission, and distribution are the subject of state and federal rules that are constantly changing — and these are affecting the availability and cost of power in new ways. “Carbon accounting,” building codes, energy efficiency standards, and “green guides” affect businesses’ environmental compliance programs, requiring new data collection, analysis, and reporting, all of which may affect a business’ sustainability goals. Industry sectors facing these new challenges include the traditional — energy, transportation, manufacturing, building, and construction — and the not-so-traditional — retail, insurance, government, banking, and finance.

At the same time, new regulations are creating new markets and new opportunities. New markets, including renewable energy, carbon trading, reuse, resale, resource recovery from former waste products, and clean energy technologies (“clean tech”), demand new approaches to create new earning potential for businesses. Businesses may be able to better manage the risks of tighter environmental controls and limited resources through conservation and reuse technologies. ArentFox Schiff can assist businesses that rely on the adoption of sustainable business practices to attract new clients and investors maximize these opportunities.

Awards & Honors

  • Chambers USA
    • Environment, Illinois (2012-2021)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” – National Tier 1
    • Litigation – Environmental (2012-2015 and 2019-2022)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” – Metropolitan Tier 1
    • Environmental Law, Chicago (2012-2022)
    • Litigation – Environmental, Chicago (2012-2022)

Key Contacts