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Environment

Companies face increasing regulatory, governance and public pressure to manage and minimise the environmental impact of their business operations. At the same time the environmental agenda is opening up significant opportunities for new and evolving businesses.

CMS has consistently led in the area of specialist environmental legal advice, based on our depth of knowledge and experience across a wide range of industry sectors.

As well as providing counsel on current and proposed regulations, we work with clients on a variety of transactions where environmental issues are of crucial importance. We also advise on disputes in relation to regulatory enforcement, permit appeals and variations, civil nuisance, claims under indemnities and warranties, insurance, D&O claims and professional negligence.

Multi-national and national organisations come to us for matters where environment issues, risks and opportunities are significant to the commercial success of their business. We work for clients in virtually all sectors, including chemicals, clean-tech, construction, consumer products, energy, energy efficiency, energy from waste, environment consultancies, finance, infrastructure and projects, insurance, manufacturing, real estate and hotels, renewables, telecoms, transport, water and waste management. We are well-known for our horizon scanning and creative thinking.


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24/06/2022
Reg­u­la­tion on for­eign sub­sidies is head­ing for the fin­ish line - European...
Since 5 May 2022, EU tri­logue ne­go­ti­ations have been un­der­way on the first Reg­u­la­tion to lim­it the ef­fect of sub­sidies from third coun­tries to com­pan­ies act­ive in the EU. That an agree­ment will be reached...
03/05/2022
Ukraine sim­pli­fies li­cens­ing and per­mit­ting pro­ced­ures dur­ing mar­tial law
On 18 March 2022, the Cab­in­et of Min­is­ters of Ukraine ad­op­ted Res­ol­u­tion No. 314 “On Cer­tain Mat­ters for En­sur­ing Busi­ness Activ­ity Dur­ing Mar­tial Law”. For the dur­a­tion of mar­tial law, the Res­ol­u­tion...
08/04/2022
The Pro­posed Dir­ect­ive on Cor­por­ate Sus­tain­ab­il­ity Due Di­li­gence – a step...
The Pro­posed Dir­ect­ive on Cor­por­ate Sus­tain­ab­il­ity Due Di­li­gence (the “CSDD Pro­pos­al”), pub­lished on 23 Feb­ru­ary 2022, aims to im­pose ob­lig­a­tions on com­pan­ies, their sub­si­di­ar­ies and their value chains...
04/04/2022
Ukraine de­vel­ops the guideline for eval­u­at­ing war dam­age and losses
On 20 March 2022, the Cab­in­et of Min­is­ters of Ukraine ad­op­ted Res­ol­u­tion No. 326 “On Ap­prov­al of the Guideline for Eval­u­at­ing Dam­age and Losses Caused to Ukraine in the Res­ult of the Rus­si­an Fed­er­a­tion...
01/03/2022
Pro­posed man­dat­ory cor­por­ate sus­tain­ab­il­ity due di­li­gence re­quire­ments...
On 23 Feb­ru­ary 2022, the European Com­mis­sion ad­op­ted a long-awaited pro­pos­al for a Dir­ect­ive on cor­por­ate sus­tain­ab­il­ity due di­li­gence for widely-defined spe­cified “com­pan­ies”. The pro­pos­als are wide...
24/02/2022
Pro­spects for in­stall­a­tion and util­iz­a­tion of rooftop sol­ar photo­vol­ta­ics...
CMS Guide
31/01/2022
Time for trans­ition: En­ergy M&A 2022
While world lead­ers have been gath­er­ing for COP meet­ings for dec­ades, what made COP26 per­haps par­tic­u­larly not­able is that the private sec­tor also gathered in force, and with a com­mit­ment and de­term­in­a­tion to be a key driver in the de­car­bon­isa­tion of the world’s eco­nom­ies.  In pre­vi­ous years, there have been mur­mur­ings from vari­ous cor­por­ates that to make so­cial or en­vir­on­ment­ally driv­en in­vest­ment de­cisions may not align with their fi­du­ciary duty to act in the in­terests of share­hold­ers. As share­hold­er act­iv­ism has driv­en the de­bate in­to board­rooms from above, this at­ti­tude is rap­idly re­vers­ing dir­ec­tion. While re­turns are gen­er­ally seen as lower in the clean sec­tor com­pared to, say, the oil & gas sec­tor, be­ing in­ves­ted in the green trans­ition is in­creas­ingly seen as a key route to pre­serving and pro­tect­ing share­hold­er value. At the same time, vol­un­tary and man­dat­ory cli­mate re­lated dis­clos­ures are align­ing the drivers for in­vestors across the board so that cap­it­al is in­creas­ingly driv­en by the met­rics they pro­duce.  This is be­ing re­flec­ted in, among oth­er things, the plum­met­ing cost of cap­it­al for green in­vest­ments. At the same time high car­bon in­tens­ive in­vest­ments, such as coal based pro­jects and busi­nesses, are strug­gling to se­cure fund­ing, with many fa­cing in­solv­ency. In­vest­ments in the en­ergy trans­ition, a key part of the green trans­ition, will prin­cip­ally take the form of M&A. The out­come of COP26 and the mo­mentum it has gen­er­ated means that European deal­makers in the en­ergy sec­tor will be even busier in 2022. Europe leads the world in the en­ergy trans­ition and the race to net zero is driv­ing near-re­cord levels of deal­mak­ing – not­ably in wind and sol­ar photo­vol­ta­ic gen­er­a­tion.At the same time, the en­ergy trans­ition is both ex­pand­ing and frag­ment­ing the en­ergy sec­tor. For many, it has tra­di­tion­ally been fo­cused on en­ergy gen­er­a­tion. The trans­ition is bring­ing to the fore less vis­ible tech­no­lo­gies. Everything from tra­di­tion­al hy­dro­power to grid-scale bat­ter­ies, elec­tri­fic­a­tion of trans­port and hy­dro­gen. It is also bring­ing in­to the mix sec­tors that have not tra­di­tion­ally been fo­cused on en­ergy, such as in­dus­tri­al de­car­bon­isa­tion, ship­ping and min­ing for the nat­ur­al re­sources needed for the en­ergy trans­ition. In par­al­lel with this, there is a huge and grow­ing story around en­ergy trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion. Elec­tri­city net­works will need to ex­pand massively to fa­cil­it­ate elec­tri­fic­a­tion and new tech­no­lo­gies. They are also be­com­ing smarter with the use of di­git­al tech­no­logy to op­tim­ise the way power is dis­trib­uted, traded and con­sumed. Fur­ther, new types of net­works may provide in­vest­ment op­por­tun­it­ies for those look­ing for stable long term as­sets, such as hy­dro­gen and car­bon net­works.Against this back­ground, tra­di­tion­al fossil fuel-based play­ers are de­car­bon­ising their op­er­a­tions. For the oil and gas ma­jors, this means ac­quir­ing or sig­ni­fic­antly en­han­cing their cap­ab­il­it­ies in re­new­ables, in­clud­ing wind, sol­ar and hy­dro­gen, while sim­ul­tan­eously di­vest­ing se­lec­ted car­bon-in­tens­ive as­sets in re­sponse to mount­ing ESG pres­sures. This may be one of the reas­ons why 50% of re­spond­ents in our study point to dis­tress-driv­en deals as a top sell-side driver.Change is en­dem­ic in the en­ergy sec­tor, but the cur­rent trans­ition makes the years since lib­er­al­isa­tion of en­ergy mar­kets in the late 1980s seem al­most steady-state in com­par­is­on. Des­pite the mo­mentum and push for cap­it­al to be in­ves­ted in the en­ergy trans­ition, there re­main obstacles, not least the lim­ited pipeline of good qual­ity in­vest­ment op­por­tun­it­ies, con­tinu­ing con­cerns over lock­downs and COV­ID-19 vari­ants, fin­an­cing dif­fi­culties arising from po­ten­tially un­stable long term rev­en­ue streams and di­min­ish­ing rates of re­turn. Not­with­stand­ing these chal­lenges, our study finds that en­ergy sec­tor M&A will in­creas­ingly be an en­gine driv­ing cap­it­al in­to pro­pos­i­tions that match so­cial and polit­ic­al am­bi­tions for the green trans­ition. Key find­ings  En­ergy re­mains a premi­um as­set class for most in­sti­tu­tion­al in­vestors, with its per­form­ance dur­ing the pan­dem­ic and im­petus from COP26 fur­ther en­han­cing its at­tract­ive­ness75% of en­ergy com­pan­ies are con­sid­er­ing an ac­quis­i­tion and/or di­vest­ment in 2022Along­side premi­um as­sets, in some sub­sect­ors there are un­der­val­ued tar­gets driv­ing buy-side activ­ity, with sellers shed­ding dis­tressed as­sets as the sec­tor shifts in re­sponse to the en­ergy trans­ition45% think COV­ID-19 will be a ma­jor M&A obstacle in 2022, but this re­mains a flu­id situ­ation that can change rap­idly
25/01/2022
Re­ima­gin­ing CEE: EU Tax­onomy re­port­ing has be­gun for banks and busi­nesses...
Wel­come to the first edi­tion of our ‘Re­ima­gin­ing CEE’ series, reg­u­lar Law-Now e-alerts dis­cuss­ing ESG-re­lated up­dates with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on the im­pact on busi­nesses across Cent­ral and East­ern...
18/01/2022
The Road to the (Autonom­ous) Fu­ture
It is no longer pos­sible to dis­cuss the fu­ture of trans­port without the ques­tion of autono­ma­tion be­ing raised. The ques­tion of ‘how long’ un­til Autonom­ous Vehicle (AV) de­ploy­ment be­comes a real­ity...
06/12/2021
In­vest­ing and Do­ing Busi­ness in Ukraine 2021 Guide
A guide cov­er­ing over 25 sec­tors and in­dus­tries
04/11/2021
Re­ima­gin­ing En­ergy – the fu­ture of the heat sec­tor in CEE
One of the main chal­lenges in meet­ing the EU-wide ob­ject­ive to have a cli­mate-neut­ral eco­nomy is the de­car­bon­isa­tion of the heat sec­tor. Heat­ing and cool­ing ac­count for about 50% of en­ergy de­mand in the...
22/09/2021
EU Green Deal, sus­tain­ab­il­ity and com­pet­i­tion law: European Com­mis­sion’s...
In Decem­ber 2019, the European Com­mis­sion presen­ted the “European Green Deal”, which com­mits to cli­mate neut­ral­ity by 2050. EU Mem­ber States prom­ised to re­duce emis­sions by at least 55% by 2030, com­pared...