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Environmental Impact

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The imperative for climate change has led businesses to explore opportunities, address their impact on the environment and monitor relevant regulation. CMS is working with businesses across all sectors to deliver environment law advice on transactional, contentious and regulatory matters.

For over 25 years, we have led in a wide variety of transactional work where environment issues are dominant, including the cutting-edge development of contractual language.

Environment regulation is a huge element of the ESG mix. Issues are wide ranging and typical ESG environmental law considerations are outlined in the diagram below:

Highlights of our environmental impact track record

MEES - are the regulations working?
MEES is a flagship policy to help the UK meet its net zero targets. MEES returns over 50million hits on Google, so it is undoubtedly a widely discussed piece of legislation that should play a major role in reducing the carbon footprint of the non-domestic property stock in the UK. But is there sufficient bite to these regulations? 
ESG factors have moved from being a niche concern to a strategic board level priority across all sectors and jurisdictions. Whether a business is a financial institution, an energy company, or a tech start-up – all companies with a future must now focus on ESG as a business imperative. 


Key takeaways from Energy Day at COP28
As a young professional in the legal field, attending COP28's Energy Day was an eye-opening experience that provided valuable insights into the future of environmental policies and their potential impact. Day 6 of COP28 showcased a collective determination to address the pressing challenges of our time. The discussions emphasised the urgency of transitioning to sustainable energy sources, with a focus on innovation, collaboration and policy frameworks. Supply chain planning, streamlining approvals through a clear permitting process and advocating for mandatory carbon pricing were some of the other key points discussed in the various panel sessions we attended. Another noteworthy aspect was the emphasis on international co-operation and the role of legal frameworks in facilitating cross-border partnerships. Governments were urged to think strategically beyond the present, emphasising long-term planning for renewable energy expansion.  COP28 Key Takeaway  The key takeaway for me was not just the global agreements discussed but also amplifying the voices of those on the front lines – farmers, coal workers, the youth, indigenous people and others. What set this COP apart was its focus on showcasing these voices, by, for instance, dedicating a full day to discuss the impact of climate change on health. These voices are essential in translating agreements into on-the-ground success and bridging this gap between policy decisions and the real life experiences of those directly affected by climate change is our collective responsibility, ensuring the protection of our planet for present and future generations. The Impact on Legal Practice The outcome of COP28 may lead to more stringent regulations and compliance requirements, presenting both challenges and opportunities. Legal practitioners will play a pivotal role in navigating these complexities, offering counsel to businesses and other organisations seeking to align their operations with emerging environmental standards, one way of doing this would be through using contracts as a mechanism to de-risk. As we move forward post-COP28, the legal community's commitment to guiding clients through these evolving landscapes will be instrumental in ensuring progress in the renewable energy transition. In conclusion, COP28 has been a catalyst for reflection and action. It is an exciting time to be in the legal field, with the potential to be at the forefront of shaping legal frameworks that promote a more sustainable future.
CMS contributed to the conversations at, and around, COP28 by hosting a series of events to collaborate, debate and look forward. Here, our experts publish soundbites and commentary to share their perspectives on the impacts of the announcements and agreements. 
CMS UK signs up to the BPF Net Zero Pledge
CMS UK is pleased to announce that it is joining the BPF Net Zero Pledge, an initiative led by the British Property Federation (BPF), aiming to help its members to be net neutral by 2050 and accelerate...
A Look at the Engine for ESG: Finance
Between sus­tain­ab­il­ity-linked loans and, more recently, green bonds, the finance world has been one of the early adopters and promoters of the ESG movement. We spoke with CMS Partners Ana Radnev, Cristina...
Plastics and packaging: more change ahead
The pervasive nature of plastics has attracted significant consumer, media and le­gis­lat­ive in­terest over recent years. Present negotiations at UN level supplement more loc­al de­vel­op­ments on packaging...
It’s time we got on the right track with self-driving’ cars
Anyone who has spent hours on long motorway journeys will respond to the idea of an Automated Vehicle (AV) doing the work for you. In the real world, AVs have been developed more with an eye on improved...
Aviation - clearer skies ahead?
The last couple of years have been a turbulent time for the aviation industry as a result of both the pandemic and increasing environmental concerns. This report from Legal Flightpath – CMS Aviation...
Sustainability Claims and Greenwashing webinar
Join CMS webinar on Sustainability Claims and Greenwashing, which will be presented by the CMS Consumer Products Sector Group members Nikolas Gregor from our German practice, Stuart Helmer from our UK...
Archive news from COP26
Archived COP26 updates - Day 13Archived COP26 updates - Day 12Archived COP26 updates - Day 11Archived COP26 updates - Day 10Archived COP26 updates - Day 9Archived COP26 updates - Day 7Archived COP26 updates - Day 6Archived COP26  updates - Day 5Archived COP26  updates - Day 4Archived COP26  updates - Day 3Archived COP26  updates - Day 2