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Business Faces New Environmental Challenges and Opportunities in 2014March 5, 2014
This past week, “Corporate Counsel” magazine published an article by E. Lynne Grayson and Alexander J. Bandza entitled “9 Environmental Challenges for US Businesses in 2014.” The issues “represent critical concerns that businesses, and their leaders, need to be aware of,” state the authors. Businesses are focusing their attention beyond compliance and risk management to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Being aware of current issues and trends can be a stimulus to promoting green efforts that go beyond the fundamentals. Here’s the list, with several annotated:
1. Corporate Social Responsibility—a company’s positive social impact and “do good” practices now includes environmental impact and actions to promote sustainability in both its products and services and internal operations.
2. Water Scarcity—people in the west can certainly attest to the impact of a record drought this year. Few places on earth are untouched by the vagaries in the weather systems and the impact of climate change. The challenge here is to minimize a company’s “water footprint”.
3. Shifting Federal Enforcement—the authors draw attention to some controversial moves on the part of the EPA and state and local environmental agencies impacting inspection and enforcement of environmental laws and rules.
4. Green Chemistry—government has new, fast tracks for the approval of new chemicals and products considered safer than existing. Think EPA’s “Design for the Environment” label program.
5. Nanotechnology—basically it is the manipulation of matter at the molecular or atomic level. And Green “nano” refers to clean technologies that minimize potential risk to the environment and to human health. This is a big industry employing 2 million US workers by 2020. Government agencies are collecting information and developing potential regulatory programs aimed at protecting the health of those engaged in nanotechnology research and material development.
6. Public (Mis)perceptions of Specific Environmental Issues
7. It’s Not All About the EPA
8. Social Cost of Carbon
9. Renewable Energy vs. Environmental Interests
For the complete article, visit “Corporate Counsel”. If you are not a current member, consider joining. I have a free, limited membership. It might seem unusual to subscribe to journals and newsletters outside of your “realm”, but I have always found a lot to learn from other business sectors and have borrowed many ideas that I could apply in my public law office. Read more.
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