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Gabriela G. Merla

Partner

Contact
Woodhouse Lorente Ludlow, S.C.
Paseo de la Reforma 115
Piso 19
Col. Lomas de Chapultepec
11000 Mexico City
Mexico
Languages Spanish, English, French

Gabriela G Merla is a Mexican and French lawyer with over 20 years of experience specializing in corporate, environmental, and climate change law. Her work primarily involves advising public and private entities, international organizations, and multilateral development banks, primarily in Mexico, Latin America, and Africa.

With particular expertise in environmental law and climate change, Gabriela has been involved in assisting the governments of Latin America and Africa in implementing mitigation and adaptation policies to climate change. She has notably worked on the establishment of emission trading systems (ETS), the regulation of voluntary carbon markets, the structuring and documentation of carbon funds, and has contributed to the development of climate legislation.

Gabriela has also provided advice to the private sector to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and the implementation of projects aimed at reducing and capturing greenhouse gases. She has also contributed to negotiations and the development of contracts for the purchase and sale of carbon credits (or quotas from ETS markets) generated by projects in Latin America, Africa, and Asia (with a strong expertise in developing projects with a "programmatic" approach). Furthermore, she has participated in the establishment of climate change adaptation programs with various stakeholders, particularly in the real estate and agriculture sectors, to provide them with legal certainty and a framework of responsibilities, making the programs viable.

Gabriela also has extensive experience in environmental law, particularly in the energy, tourism, real estate, water and wastewater management, and waste management sectors.

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Relevant experience

Sustainability

·       Multimillion dollar investment in real estate and tourist development (Cabo del Sol): provided legal environmental advice for the construction and operation of its hotels (Sheraton, Fiesta Americana, Four Seasons, Park Hyatt), residences, three golf courses and retail center. Baja California Sur, Mexico.

·       Atotonilco wastewater treatment plant (the largest in Latin America): provided legal advice during construction and operation to one of the consortium parties (an American company providing the cogeneration expertise).

·       Wastewater and water reuse legal strategy: developed and implemented the legal strategy, involving foreign investment and Cabo San Lucas municipal wastewater treatment plant operation.

·       Municipal wastewater treatment plant Cabo San Lucas: provided legal compliance advice.

 Climate Change

Mitigation

·       GHG reduction projects: Structured and documented GHG reduction programs under voluntary schemes for their development in Africa and Asia, for European and Asian companies (investors and carbon companies) (2018 - present).

·       Carbon pricing mechanisms regulation. Legal advice to Mexico’s Finance Ministry (SHCP) for the regulation of carbon pricing mechanisms in Mexico (2024).

·       Emissions trading scheme (ETS): advised the Mexican government on the legal implementation of the ETS, its structure and financial entities’ participation. Development of the ETS regulation.

·       Gabon’s government investment in a multimillion-dollar carbon program: developed a legal audit on behalf of the Gabon Republic government (2014-2015).

·       Legal Guide for Latin American Coordinating Entities of Programmatic Clean Development Mechanism programs – GHG reduction programs (Programmatic CDMs): developed and coordinated (2013).

·       Six Programmatic CDMs in the energy sector: structured, documented, and implemented for private and government bodies: Public sector: Financiera Rural, FIRA, Comisión Reguladora de Energía, (2012-2013).

·       National carbon offsets market: Development of a legal framework for the implementation of the carbon offsets market; elaboration of the guidelines for the execution of Bilateral Agreements between Mexico and other countries for the sale of carbon credits (2012).

·       Cookstoves Programmatic CDM for West Africa: structured and documented a GHG reduction program for GERES (2013).

·       World’s first Programmatic CDM program registered by the United Nations: structured, documented and implemented an energy efficiency program for an Australian company (2011).

·       CDM projects: advised European companies on GHG reduction projects under Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and voluntary schemes in Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Argentina and Turkey (2007-2011).

·       Luxembourg’s government investment in CDM project: carried out a landfill carbon credit and environmental audit (2011).

 Adaptation

·       Real Estate – Climate Change Adaptation plan for the tourism sector: coordinated the first adaptation plan for the tourism sector in Mexico (Los Cabos) (2020).

·       Green Climate Fund Regional Climate Change Adaptation Program for the Central American Corredor Seco in the agricultural sector: led the development of the program proposal. Six countries were supported: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Honduras. Contracted by UNEP (2015- 2016).

·       Green Climate Fund Climate Change Adaptation Program (agriculture and forestry – coffee sector for El Salvador): led the development of the program proposal. Contracted by UNEP (2015-2016).

 Climate Policy

·       Paris Agreement: provided compliance strategy advice to the Peruvian government. Contracted by UNEP (2017).

·       Gabon’s Sustainable Development Law: provided legal advice for the implementation of the law. Contracted by the Gabon Republic government (2014-2015).

·       COP20 Lima Mexican Delegation: legal advisor on financial matters (2014).

·       Climate Change Fund: developed the legal structure and framework of the Mexico City Climate Change Fund. Contracted by the Government of Mexico City (2013-2014).

·       Operating Rules of the Mexican Carbon Fund: developed the rules. Contracted by the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) for the Mexican Ministry of Environment (2013).

·       Mexico’s Special Climate Change Program: developed the agreements to be executed between the Federal Government and i) States; ii) Private Sector; iii) NGOs, for the implementation of the program. Contracted by the Mexican Ministry of Environment (2013).

·       Climate Change Law: Reviewed and contributed to the mitigation chapter of Mexico’s climate change law. Contracted by the Environmental Commission of the Chamber of Deputies (2012).

Professional activities

LEAD International.(Leadership for the Environment)/ Chair of the Board (2017-2022). Trustee (2014-2022).British charity founded 25 years ago by the Rockefeller Foundation to train leaders in a global network, focused on environmentally sustainable development. LEAD has 13 member programs globally and more than 3,000 LEAD Fellows.

Stakeholders Advisory Network on Climate Finance. Coordinating Committee member founder (2021- present). 

Climate Investments Fund / Observer representing the International Chamber of Commerce (developed countries private sector) (2015-2021).

Gold Standard Fundation / Legal counsel of the Technical Advisory Committee (2014-present).

Fundación para el Acceso a la Justicia /Trustee (2013-2018)

Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats Vice-president of the Energy and Environmental Commission (2010-2012).

Task force team member /International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Lex Mercatoria project (2011).

Task force team member /International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). ICC Model Subcontract Agreement for Major Works. Drafting Subcontract (2013).

 

 

 

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Education

Education

1998, Escuela Libre de Derecho, Law Degree

2000, Universidad Iberoamericana, Postgraduate on Law and Environmental Policies in Mexico

2001, London School of Economics, Masters´ Degree in Environmental Law

2009 Passed the Paris Bar Exam

Postgraduate studies

2003 September, Research Centre Jülich. Germany, “Climate Change: Identifying Options for Developing Countries”, under the sponsor of the German government.

2010 September, RENAC Academy, Berlin, “Renewable Energies & Energy Efficiency“, under the sponsor of the German government.

 

 

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Feed

15/04/2024
Green/sus­tain­ab­il­ity claims and advertising and consumer greenwashing
In the era of increased environmental awareness, the spotlight on green claims has never been more intense. As consumers are concerned about global heating and ecological sustainability, they are scrutinizing products like never before, seeking eco-friendly options that align with their values. In response, businesses have responded to this concern and consumers’ purchase interest, with brand-owners increasingly highlighting the benign or even beneficial effects their products and services have on the environment fostering a surge in green marketing initiatives. Yet, amidst this push for sustainability, the risk of being accused of greenwashing is omnipresent. As environmental characteristics of products and services are highly technical and the understanding of the various concepts involved is continuously changing, en­vir­on­ment­al/sus­tain­ab­il­ity claims raise a significant risk of confusing and misleading consumers. Many companies have fallen foul of advertising standards in this area recently. Given the high sensitivity of environmental claims and the reputational damage that can result from allegations of greenwashing, it is particularly important to make sure environmental claims are compliant. By ensuring truthful, accurate and unambiguous information is always given to the consumers, companies can avoid the risks and build a reputation for authenticity in their sustainability advertising and communications. CMS guides companies through the maze of regulations and case law and advise on the steps a company can take to ensure their advertising is not only compliant but also authentic and impactful. The priority questions we address are: Which green claims are likely to raise litigation or regulatory enforcement risks?What can businesses do to mitigate these risks?What are the likely claims/en­force­ment that could arise?Who is likely to make a claim?What are the risks in the event of a violation or a complaint? What future regulatory measures are expected and what companies have to do now to be prepared? We offer various solutions to help you be compliant and avoid accusations of greenwashing: Sustainability claim checks including regulatory risk matrix as well as litigation: evaluating the planned claims and mapping their risk as well as developing compliant marketing strategies and claims custom-tailored to your business's unique pro­file;Sus­tain­ab­il­ity-re­lated litigation: providing comprehensive support in legal disputes in the area of advertising with environmental claims;Training sessions: to empower your legal, compliance and sustainability as well as advertising teams with in-depth knowledge of sustainability risks and mitigation strategies; andBoard packs: to equip your directors/board members with actionable insights into greenwashing risks, ensuring they steer the company toward sustainable strategies with confidence and integrity.  For an initial conversation on how we can support you on greenwashing risk, please reach out to the lawyers listed on this page or to your usual CMS contact.
20/12/2016
Mexico publishes environmental Safeguard Zones
One of the key areas of the Mexican Energy Reform is the environmental reform. The Mexican Government has changed its philosophy in relation to this area and is set to improve current regulation. As part...