CBA Record November-December 2021

What Matters Most: Environmental Insights from In-House Counsel By E. Lynn Grayson

M ore Americans believe protecting the environment and addressing climate change should be top priorities for the president and Congress, according to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey. The survey revealed that most Americans continue to believe the federal government is doing too little to protect key aspects of the environment including water quality of lakes, rivers, and streams (67%); air quality (65%); climate change impacts (65%); animals and their habitats (62%); and open lands in national parks (54%). Even during the pandemic, a global survey by Accenture noted that consumers have dramatically evolved, with up to 60% reporting they are making more environ- mentally friendly, sustainable, and ethical purchases, and 9 out of 10 confirming they will continue to do so. Clearly, envi- ronmental protection and conservation of natural resources are top priorities for Americans in the communities where we live and work. Americans also agree that climate change is affecting their local communities (63%), and many view climate change as a major threat to the well-being of the U.S. (60%). Most Americans agree with certain

in support of the growing consensus that environmental protection and climate change mitigation are essential to the continued prosperity of the U.S. economy. We asked a group of experienced in-house counsel a series of questions to help us understand the client’s view of critical envi- ronmental issues and what matters most. What are someof themost significant environmental challenges facingU.S. companies? Landgraf: Many of the most significant environmental challenges frequently center on climate-change–related issues, and what companies can do to further

efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with 90% in favor of planting about a tril- lion trees to absorb carbon emissions. The SEC has stepped up its focus on climate change-related disclosures, with Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee recently com- menting that no single issue has been more pressing than ensuring the SEC is fully engaged in confronting risks and oppor- tunities that climate and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters pose for investors, our financial system, and our economy. The Biden Administration recommitted the U.S. to the Paris Agree- ment, requiring a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030

In-house counsel interviewed for this article were Christina Landgraf, BP; Chip Leen, CMC Materials, Inc.; Jason Yearout, The Home Depot; and Nancy Cisek, Hydro Extru- sion North America.

Chip Leen

Christina Landgraf

Jason Yearout

Nancy Cisek

18 November/December 2021

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