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Investors, customers, and regulators are increasingly focused on businesses’ environmental impact as the risks of climate change, water shortages, biodiversity loss and zoonotic disease become clearer.

Compliance with regulation at the operational and product level is more relevant than ever to meet stakeholder expectations and to access finance. We have been at the forefront of supporting clients on environmental and climate regulation, designing governance frameworks, compliance systems and implementing crisis response strategies.

We advise on the full range of environmental and health and safety regulation. This includes industrial and chemical regulation, emissions trading and regulation, environmental permitting and decommissioning, and contaminated land. We also advise on product and substance regulation, including packaging and chemical regulation and on the governance and quality systems necessary for compliance.

Linklaters has truly global reach that enables us to provide comparative advice across the world. The group is well known for its standalone expertise, but also functions seamlessly with Linklaters’ market-leading transactional and financial regulatory teams.

We are recognised by independent legal commentators as a top-tier specialist environmental practice that are “truly leaders in the field of environmental law”.

How Linklaters can help you

Contaminated land

Legacy liabilities for environmental contamination are a common issue for industrial and extractive sector clients. Our team is skilled in negotiating proportionate allocation of contamination liabilities and mechanisms for remediation, and we can support you in regulatory engagements where you are alleged to be a responsible party. We also advise on regulatory and civil disputes relating to contamination liabilities.

Emissions trading and regulation

Our specialist carbon team in London has been at the forefront of the carbon markets for nearly 20 years decades (from advising on the first CDM transactions through to helping clients to shape the blended compliance / voluntary carbon markets of today). We work closely with our clients to help them integrate emissions costs and constraints into their operating strategy and decision-making processes. We also support clients who trade in the voluntary markets or through regulated trading schemes, and we also advise on the acquisition or disposals of trading businesses. Our experience includes working on industrial and programmatic emission reduction programs as well as forestry and agriculture related projects.

Environmental regulation

Navigating the intricate and constantly evolving landscape of environmental regulations for businesses can be challenging. We have a wide ranging regulatory practice that can provide targeted regulatory advice on topics such as biodiversity/conservation, deforestation-free regulation, chemical regulation, nuclear, and the disposal and transfrontier shipment of waste. We are also able to support you in engagements with regulators in relation to specific environmental regulatory issues.

Environmental permitting

Regulatory imperatives and the enforcement of existing environmental requirements are important not only in relation to operational compliance, but also for project development. Project developers need to pay close attention from the outset to ensure that their permitting procedures are sufficiently robust to manage exposure to future third party challenges and associated risks. Operators will want to maintain good relationships with regulators and other stakeholders to optimise their flexibility in planning in any required upgrades. Our team provides strategic legal advice to help you meet these challenges in a timely and cost effective manner. We cooperate closely with technical environmental experts and relevant regulatory authorities.

Health and safety

We work hand in hand with our corporate team to provide specialist environment, health and safety (EHS) input throughout the lifecycle of a transaction. This includes EHS legal due diligence (on which we work closely with EHS consultants); negotiations on the contractual allocation of EHS liabilities through warranty packages and indemnities; and advising on post-completion action plans (where required).

Our advisory practice additionally focuses on complex regulatory analysis, and our team has experience of advising on major safety related incidents as part of our crisis practice. We also advise on the growing trend to impose parent level liability under tort laws or under regulatory duties of vigilance including in respect of supply chain issues.

Circular economy

The growing focus on circular economy has led to continued regulatory developments in the areas of waste management, recyclability, packaging, and batteries, among others.

We provide tailored guidance on these highly complex topics and have experience supporting clients under investigation from their regulators, and in defending prosecutions and/or developing mitigation strategies.

Selected environment experience

A leading energy company: advising in relation to the environmental, health and safety aspects of the sale of four distribution networks as part of a hive-down and share sale, including advising on complex permitting and legal requirements triggered by the transfer and the contractual allocation of contaminated land and health and safety liabilities.

A multinational oil and gas company: advising on the environmental, health and safety aspects of the $5bn sale of its acetyls and aromatics businesses to a global chemicals manufacturer.

Various clients: advising companies in the high-tech industry, an international commodities business, a construction products manufacturer, a global aeroplane furniture manufacturer, and an asset manager on the application of the REACH Regulation.

A major international chemicals manufacturer: advising on environmental law requirements and current legislative developments regarding plastics, both on a chemicals-related level (i.e. EU REACH Regulation No 1907/2006) and an end-product-related level (i.e. EU Plastics Strategy).

An operator in the German dual system: advising on collection and recovery of packaging waste on the fulfilment of reporting and auditing requirements under applicable packaging law and respective agreements between system operators.

The financial lead investor: advising on the US$1bn equity investment and debt financing into Northvolt AB, a Swedish start-up founded in 2016 by former Tesla executives that is set to build Europe’s largest battery factory in Sweden.

A multi-industrial company: advising on the environmental, health and safety aspects (including contaminated land, carbon emissions, waste management and permitting) of its agreement to acquire certain assets of a leading steel manufacturer.

The sponsors: advising in relation to biodiversity issues and the designation of special protection areas under EU legislation with respect to the proposed financing of a wind farm.

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Biodiversity & Nature - what it means for businesses

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Deforestation Regulation: EU imposes new due diligence duties on operators and traders

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EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

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UK: New data reporting requirements for packaging producers under EPR regime

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TNFD publishes fourth and final draft framework on nature-related risks

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Packaging and single-use products – new obligations and restrictions

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