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Managing Private Sector Environmental Initiatives (ELI Master Class)


September 6, 2019
9:00 am - 1:30 pm


Environmental Law Institute
1730 M Street, NW, Suite 700 (Map)

Washington, DC (and webinar)


This event is open to the public but registration/payment is required by August 30. Registration fees: ELI members $100-$75; non-members $150-$100.
If you are unsure if you are an ELI member, contact mcmurrin@eli.org PRIOR to registering (or go HERE to join).

  • For in-person attendance, REGISTER HERE.
  • For webinar/telecon, REGISTER HERE.  Webinar information will be emailed one business day prior to the event. If you are unsure if you can access the webinar via the GoToMeeting platform, please go HERE to view system requirements prior to registering.
  • ELI is an accredited CLE provider in Pennsylvania and Vermont and is therefore approved in those jurisdictions. Application to California and Virginia will be submitted. Several states have reciprocity with the aforementioned; please check to see if your jurisdiction has reciprocity eligibility before requesting CLE on the registration form. Please READ the CLE information at the bottom of this page for your participation requirements.
  • Any cancellations after the registration deadline will be subject to a $35 charge.
  • Event/Webinar start times are as follows:  9 AM Eastern, 8 AM Central, 7 AM Mountain, and 6 AM Pacific. Please note that your browser may/may not automatically adjust the time for your zone when you register.
  • Contact mcmurrin@eli.org with questions.

NOTE: All registrants for ELI events need to have an ELI "account." When you click on the above Register Here link, you will be asked to log in.

  • ELI members and previous registrants have accounts. If you don't remember your password, please click on the "Request new password" tab.
  • Non-members who have previously not set up an ELI account may click on the "Create new account" tab, complete the process, and then return to this page to register. While creating this account does not confer membership, it will allow you to register for this and future events at any appropriate non-member rate that may be required.

An ELI Signature Master Class

To get to the scale we need to address climate, biodiversity, human rights, and other environmental and social challenges, we need strategies to increase private sector participation in collaborative sustainability initiatives. In the United States we now have over 30 years of experience with voluntary environmental, health and safety, and human rights compliance programs. This experience with Private Environmental Governance (PEG) is powerful and will be the focus of this upcoming Master Class, featuring legal and policy experts covering the legal and relationship issues that arise from voluntary, collaborative initiatives.


8:30 AM Registration & Light Refreshments

9:00 AM

Opening Remarks: John Pendergrass, Vice President, Programs and Publications, Environmental Law Institute

9:15 AM

Panel 1:  Navigating the Legal Risks of Private Environmental Programs

Panel 1 will cover experience with individual company programs, including legal risks and opportunities that arise from setting individual company performance and purchasing standards, and related reporting.

Who starts an initiative? Why go beyond compliance? What legal considerations are there in establishing your company’s own environmental, social, or governance program? When does a publicized standard create third party rights? When does it increase or decrease the risk of government enforcement actions? Managing supply chain expectations, data exchange and privacy, and establishing a program that will meet external expectations is the focus of Panel 1 

10:30 AM

Coffee & Networking Break

10:45 AM

Panel 2:  Managing Collaborative Programs

Panel 2 will focus on experiences with multi-party programs, including the practical challenges and legal risks associated with working collaboratively with other stakeholders.

Creating Sector Strategies – To create greater scale, companies in specific sectors have deep experience with voluntary standards and other frameworks to address environmental and social issues. Collaborations with competitors and NGOs can yield widespread environmental benefits, but they also raise complex anti-trust and other legal compliance issues.

Ensuring Credibility – Business-developed standards raise concerns about whether they whitewash (or greenwash) an issue that would be more effectively addressed through regulation or third party verification. Leading panelists will explore lessons learned on how to create structure and credibility.

  • Cassie Phillips, Director, Private Environmental Governance Initiative, Environmental Law Institute and former Vice President, Sustainable Forestry, Weyerhaeuser, Moderator
  • Hal Hodes, Senior Attorney, National Programs, National Advertising Division (NAD)
  • Elizabeth Seeger, Director, Sustainable Investing, KKR
  • Jennifer E. Tarr, Associate, Proskauer Rose LLP

12:15 PM

Panel 3:  Private Environmental Governance and the Public Sector

Panel 3 will turn the focus to the interactions between public and private sector initiatives.

Interfacing with the Government - At times, the government has sought to encourage private environmental and social compliance programs with mixed success. Are there good examples in which private programs have eliminated the need for environmental or social regulation, or aided in enforcement? Or where the experimentation in private programs has led to better legislative or regulatory solutions?

Lessons Learned for Voluntary, Collaborative Programs - Sustainability efforts often go beyond the businesses affected and include other stakeholders, especially government. Leading panelists will examine the interactions between public and private environmental initiatives and share lessons learned. Why do public-private collaborations arise? What challenges and opportunities do they present for government, NGO, and corporate attorneys, and others? Do they complement or compete with government programs? What training is crucial to fostering success in this area?

  • Michael P. Vandenbergh, David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law; Director, Climate Change Research Network; Co-director, Energy, Environment and Land Use Program, Vanderbilt University Law School, Moderator
  • Daniel Fiorino, Ph.D., Distinguished Executive in Residence, Department of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public Affairs, American University
  • Stephen Harper, Global Director, Environment and Energy Policy, Intel Corporation
  • Vickie Patton, General Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund

Speaker materials/presentations will be posted here as they are received.

Supplemental Materials:
Any supplemental materials will be posted as they are received.


In-person CLE Attendees:

  • We will have a sign-in and sign-out sheet for you to initial and fill out with time total time of attendance for the Master Class.
  • We will provide you with your CLE information at the end of the Master Class.

Webinar CLE Attendees (you must have selected CLE info when you registered):

  • When watching the webinar you will need to have the webinar at the forefront of your computer screen as GoTo webinar software will be tracking attentiveness and creating an attentiveness report.
  • You will need to be watching the webinar for a majority of the time to receive CLE Credit.
  • We will email you the CLE information and certification within one week of the event.