June 10, 2013
A Summit on Private Environmental Governance: Facing the Challenges of Voluntary Standards, Supply Chains and Green Marketing
Co-sponsored by The Advertising Self-Regulatory Council
Council of Better Business Bureaus and
Environmental Law Institute
Corporations and other non-governmental entities now regularly work to develop voluntary agreements, standards and other practices aimed at fostering sustainability and reducing environmental impacts. This growth in "private governance" is implemented through various vehicles, including collective standard-setting, certifications, supply chain agreements, and other mechanisms. The influence of private governance is broad, impacting industries from electronics to forestry to apparel and many others. This conference provided an overview and initiate a dialogue about the legal issues taking shape amidst the growing popularity of private governance approaches. The conference identified, for stakeholders across affected industries and Non Governmental Organizations, how sustainability initiatives, standard-setting, consumer protection and competition law work together in this important and rapidly developing area.
Welcome and Conference Objectives: John Cruden - President, Environmental Law Institute and C. Lee Peeler - President & CEO, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council
Keynote: Deborah P. Majoras, Chief Legal Officer, The Procter & Gamble Company, (Former Chairman, Federal Trade Commission)
The Emergence and Implications of Private Environmental Governance
This session explored the emergence of private environmental governance, and outlined the most common types of tools, including unilateral and collective standards setting as well as hybrid approaches. The session also examined what drives private governance activities, the effects on environmental behavior and environmental quality and how it is shaping environmental law.
- Errol Meidinger - Professor of Law and Director, Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy, State University of New York at Buffalo
- Michael Vandenbergh - Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School
Supply Chain Management, Contracting and Enforcement
To improve sustainability and reduce environmental footprint, many companies are imposing environmental requirements on the production of the goods and ingredients they buy. In some cases these requirements are specific to the contract and in others they adopt an established public or private standard. This panel examined the incentives for and extent of this corporate supply chain contracting, as well as common patterns of this type of procurement activity. The panel also addressed the complex issues associated with and the practical limitations of tracing, an activity central to supply chain management.
- Moderator: Maria Vargas - Director, Better Buildings Challenge, U.S. Department of Energy
- Michael Godfrey - VP, Sustainable Agriculture, Rainforest Alliance
- Ann Condon - Director, Environmental Health & Safety Programs, General Electric
- Lisa Monzón - Program Officer, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Best Practices for Voluntary Standards: The Intersection between Private Governance and Competition Law
Sustainability issues are driving an explosion in voluntary standards. This panel examined the development of standards, including the process and participants in order to understand their growing impact. The panel considered best practices in standard-setting, such as inclusiveness, transparency, due process, and harmonization and explore different approaches to setting standards. The panel also covered the legal framework that governs participants when they take joint action outside government regulation, including antitrust exposure.
- Moderator: Scott Cooper - Vice President of Government Relations, American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
- Susan Dorn - General Counsel, U.S. Green Building Council, Inc & Green Building Certification Institute
- Will Martin - Chair, Marine Stewardship Council
- Cassie Phillips - Vice President of Sustainable Forests and Products, Weyerhaeuser
- Ryan Tisch - Partner, Crowell & Moring LLP
Avoiding a Red Card with Green Claims and Labels
The abundance of green claims and labels can overwhelm businesses and consumers alike. This panel examined green advertising and the consumer protection laws that apply to business-to-business as well as consumer claims. Speakers explored the opportunities and challenges of communicating with labels, seals and third -party endorsements and considered the risks associated with "green washing," including FTC enforcement, class action lawsuits, and the role of self-regulatory mechanisms such as NAD. The panel also explored the challenges presented by the evolution of standards, including multi-attribute v. single attribute standards and the introduction of life cycle analysis.
- Moderator: Sheila Millar - Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP
- Scot Case - Director, Market Development, UL Environment
- Jim Kohm - Associate Director of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission
- David G. Mallen - Deputy Director, National Advertising Division (NAD)
- Julia Oas - Corporate Counsel, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
Summary and Conclusions