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Jenner & Block Partners Gabrielle Sigel and Donald E. Batterson are featured in a May Counsel to Counsel magazine article titled, "Develop Your Climate Change Strategy Now," discussing the important role in-house counsel can play in establishing a company's climate change profile.
The article addresses how in-house counsel can be of value when a company evaluates and inventories their carbon emissions.
"This is such a new area that in-house counsel can be of tremendous value to their companies, merely by staying on top of the issues," Ms. Sigel told Counsel to Counsel.
According to the article, in-house counsel should assist in ensuring compliance with climate changes regulations, and should also advise their companies on the legal aspects of tax credits, carbon trading and other offsets as well as privilege issues.
"The backdrop here is that there is significant securities disclosure litigation in the U.S. You have to ask: 'Are these changes, including trends and uncertainties, material risks to my business that investors have a right to know about?''' Mr. Batterson told Counsel to Counsel.
The article notes the potential for new disclosure obligations in regards to climate change. Due to the increased emphasis on full and fair disclosure since Sarbanes-Oxley went into effect, Ms. Sigel and Mr. Batterson stress that it is even more important that companies conduct transparent and well-documented inventories of their greenhouse gas emissions.
The article encourages practitioners to find the upside as companies begin to implement climate change awareness into their business strategy, as many companies are finding that this opens doors to create new products, forge new avenues of communication with clients and the public, and possibly even redefine their mission.
"There are opportunities for new technology, new investment, for new ways to market existing products," Ms. Sigel said. "There's an opportunity to make new connections with citizen groups which a company can integrate into its overall marketing approach. There are a lot of positives for the company as a whole and for in-house counsel in particular."