Inside One Law Firm’s New Corporate Sustainability Team

Cheryl McMullen, Freelance writer

February 16, 2016

3 Min Read
Inside One Law Firm’s New Corporate Sustainability Team

Across the business world, companies are turning toward sustainable practices in building, operations and energy efficiency. Robinson & Cole LLP, in Hartford, Conn., has put together a team of lawyers to help clients like these with legal issues related to the many facets of sustainability.

The need is great, the firm says, for an interdisciplinary sustainability group made up of lawyers with experience and a history of collaborating to handle sustainability issues related to energy, environmental, tax, intellectual property, real estate, finance, mergers and acquisitions and construction matters.

Robinson & Cole LLP is a regional, national and international law firm with offices in the northeast, Florida and California.

“Sustainability enters just about every conversation we have with clients, whether it’s about how they can improve energy efficiency, convert to renewable or alternative energy sources, use green building methods, or preserve natural resources, green projects are at the top of people’s minds,” says Robinson + Cole Managing Partner John B. Lynch, Jr. “Our lawyers have a long track record and extensive experience in the sustainability and clean energy field, and bringing them together in a structured way better positions us to serve firm clients with the full-breadth of our capabilities.”

Companies around the country and throughout the world have been encouraged and required to address environmental sustainability and global climate change, says Joey Lee Miranda, Robinson & Cole LLP.

“Our lawyers have a long track record and extensive experience in the sustainability and clean energy field, and bringing them together in a structured way better positions us to serve firm clients with the full-breadth of our capabilities, whether it’s improving energy efficiency, converting to renewable or alternative energy sources, using green building methods, or preserving natural resources, Miranda says.

Companies from across business sectors are looking to improve sustainable practices.
In the waste industry, too, sustainability is top of mind.

In opposition to a traditional linear economy, where products are made, used and discarded, companies like Houston-based Waste Management Inc. are reaching toward a circular economy for sustainability.

Defined as a regenerative model that aims to keep components, materials and products at their highest value at all times, creating no waste for the landfill, the circular economy refers to a growing practice that encourages economic growth using waste for tomorrow’s resources.

Waste Management recently released its 2015 Sustainability Report, detailing several things it’s doing to embrace a circular economy and become a more sustainable company.

These are the types of programs and ideals that are forcing companies to ask more of law firms like Robinson & Cole.

In October, Nestlé USA, producer of everything from bottled water and coffee products to sweet chocolate treats and even cat litter, is looking to do more to bring its facilities toward environmental sustainability. Among the objectives Nestlé lists in its Corporate Sustainability Report, are several environmental goals the company is working toward through 2020. Those targets include: zero waste to landfill, responsible packaging and reducing food waste.

As of May 2015, all 23 Nestle USA factories reached landfill-free status. By year’s end, Nestlé reports 30 percent of its U.S. factories will achieve landfill-free status. This milestone supports its commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices and helps meet its 2015 global commitment of 10 percent of facilities achieving zero waste to landfill status ahead of schedule.

The overall goal, is working toward zero waste for disposal, where no factory waste is landfilled or is incinerated without energy recovery, and to maximize the value of remaining by-products. According to its Report, as of 2014, 12 of Nestlé’s facilities in the United States achieved zero waste to landfill status.

Indeed, environmental regulations are changing in the U.S and globally. The sustainability team, Miranda says, provides counsel to companies and government agencies in successful approaches to adopting environmental sustainability goals and mitigating exposure to environmental risks and losses.

“Our firm has an expansive knowledge of new and existing climate change policies such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to U.S. federal initiatives, to the Kyoto Protocol,” she says. “The group helps our firm’s clients assess and measure potential legal risks and opportunities of various strategies for incorporating corporate sustainability and environmental policies.”

About the Author(s)

Cheryl McMullen

Freelance writer, Waste360

Cheryl McMullen is a freelance journalist from Akron, Ohio, covering solid waste collection and transfer for Waste360.

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