Global Reporting Initiative Revises its Universal Standards on Sustainability Reporting

On October 5, 2021, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) revised its Universal Standards on sustainability reporting. GRI is one of several stakeholder-led organizations that publishes voluntary standards for sustainability reporting. Through its standards, GRI seeks to promote standardized environmental, social, and governance reporting by companies and industries to their stakeholders.

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California to Ban PFAS in Certain Consumer and Children’s Products

On October 5, 2021, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed A.B. 1200, which bans per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in paper-based food packaging by January 1, 2023, while requiring cookware manufacturers to begin disclosing PFAS and other toxic chemicals used in their products by 2024. The bill also requires manufacturers to use “the least toxic alternative” when replacing PFAS in the food packaging.

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Environmental Marketing Claims Receive Business Scrutiny

Consumers and governments have applied greater scrutiny to environmental marketing claims. Enforcement for environmental marketing claims has typically come from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), under its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims at 40 C.F.R. Part 260, also called the “Green Guides.” But last week the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs issued a decision on environmental marketing, reminding manufacturers of actors outside the federal government that can affect environmental claims for products.

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U.S. EPA Announces Further Regulation of Manufactured Goods Under Toxic Substances Control Act

In an announcement that portends substantial regulatory changes, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chemicals office announced a shift in policy to further regulate chemicals within manufactured goods or finished products. The change would mean that importers, manufacturers, and processors will need to know the chemicals in manufactured or finished goods and assess whether EPA restricts those chemicals.

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EPA Issues Final Rule to Reduce Hydroflurocarbons

On Friday, September 23, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final rule to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 85% by 2036. The rule sets baselines for HFC production and consumption from which reductions can be measured and establishes a compliance and enforcement program. In addition to announcing the final rule, EPA also announced an interagency task force with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to prevent the illegal import and trade of HFCs.

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EPA Drops Guidance From Previous Administration Interpreting Post-Maui Clean Water Act Permitting Requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) Office of Water announced that it will be rescinding guidance (the “rescission memo”) prepared in the final days of the Trump administration that provided an interpretation of federal Clean Water Act permitting requirements in the wake of the Supreme Court’s significant April 2020 decision in County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

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