A New Environmental Paradigm (2018 ELI-Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum) (October 23, 2018)


Corporate Governance in an Age of Increased Environmental Accountability, Liability and Risk (2018 Corporate Forum) (October 23, 2018)


American Waste: Paradigm Shifting Toward a Circular Economy  (October 4, 2018)

Private Environmental Governance (2017 J.B. & Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Symposium) 

Thursday March 2 - Friday March 3, 2017

We think of private environmental governance as occurring when private organizations take actions that supplement (or perhaps displace in some instances) the traditionally governmental functions of reducing negative externalities, managing common pool resources and producing public goods. Private governance may prove especially important in light of the recent election, which may result in a reduced federal role in at least some areas of environmental governance. Our goal was to identify common research questions across disciplines, to discuss what we know about the reasons private governance is being pursued and the structure of these programs, to better understand how companies monitor performance of private governance systems, to explore whether and how private governance is or is not contributing to better environmental outcomes, and to examine how linkages between private and public governance systems might produce better outcomes.



The Cutting Edge of Corporate Sustainability Disclosure: Scope, Metrics, Standards, and Ratings

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Many firms regularly publish voluntary corporate environmental or sustainability reports beyond what is required by law or regulation. They also disclose sustainability data and information in reporting formats developed by third parties, such as the Global Reporting Initiative and the CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project). In addition, organizations such as Dow Jones and Newsweek create and publish sustainability indices or rankings, often in conjunction with other firms that conduct the analyses. This special ELI event presented a series of discussions on a cutting edge issue for corporate environmental management and examined key environmental disclosure challenges and opportunities that corporations and their counsel face today, including:

  • the scope of voluntary corporate environmental reporting in 2014;
  • leveraging the expertise of both the corporate Environment, Health & Safety team and legal staff;
  • pros and cons regarding standardized metrics and benchmarks;
  • the reliability and value of external rating systems across industries and time; and
  • the idea of integrated reporting, in theory and practice.

Entering the Marketplace: Public & Private Product Regulation at Home and Abroad 

This four-part webinar series enhanced understanding of the complex range of legal, regulatory, product stewardship, standard setting, and private retailer initiatives influencing the marketing, distribution, and sale of products with significant chemical components. Participants also developed a greater understanding of chemical regulation in the U.S. and abroad and future policy and directional changes.

Webinar #1: The Regulatory Structure of Products (Wednesday, November 13)

Webinar #2: Setting Standards Beyond Regulations (Tuesday, November 19)

Webinar #3: Bringing a Product to the Marketplace (Wednesday, December 4)

Webinar #4: Product Marketing (Thursday, December 12)


Big Data: A Game Changer for Environmental Managers, Advocates and Regulators?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Every minute vast amounts of useful data are generated by diverse sources ranging from energy meters to iPhone apps to customer service requests. Improved technology is enabling unprecedented collection, storage and analysis of this data, and a growing market of products and companies offer these services. Many now see the potential to harness big data to achieve environmental objectives, such as increasing energy efficiency, selecting the most effective sustainability investments, and mapping environmental degradation. This conference included panel discussions and keynote presentations on the applications and implications of big data for corporate environmental management, including the changing landscape of federal environmental enforcement.


A Summit on Private Environmental Governance: Facing the Challenges of Voluntary Standards, Supply Chains and Green Marketing

Monday, June 10, 2013

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 initiated a dialogue about the legal issues taking shape amidst the growing popularity of private governance approaches. The conference identifed, 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.


Corporate Environmental Management in the Era of Private Governance
Corporate Roundtable

Tuesday, November 8, 2012

This invitation-only discussion for corporate chief sustainability officers, vice presidents of environment, health and safety, and general counsel or lead environmental counsel addressed how private governance—management standards, private benchmarking, certifications, supply chain monitoring and compliance, green rankings, and corporate agreements among private firms and with stakeholders—intersects with managing environmental sustainability and legal risks. The peer-to-peer discussion among ELI Corporate Program members and invited guests focused on the questions:

  • How are these new tools used and what benefits, costs, and risks are entailed?
  • What are best practices for using private governance tools and approaches and making the internal case for investing or not investing in them?