Corporate Sustainability & Social Responsibility
We bring our knowledge, insights and experience with legal, regulatory and stakeholder concerns to companies seeking to address the impact of sustainability and corporate social responsibility considerations on their businesses.
What We Do
We advise for-profit and non-profit businesses on sustainability and social responsibility matters, including ESG, CSR laws, regulations, policies, financial and non-financial voluntary and required reporting obligations and practices, risk management and compliance, and stakeholder expectations impacting sustainable business strategies and activities. Our expertise is supplemented by our active participation with important domestic and international industry, legal, regulatory, financial and advisory organizations and thought leaders addressing the sustainability interests of our business and nonprofit clients.
- Assess and negotiate ESG and CSR requirements with public and private parties
- Advise on supply chain reporting obligations of public and private, commercial and nonprofit enterprises
- Review compliance with domestic and international laws regarding human rights violations in company supply chains
- Consideration of American Bar Association Model Principles regarding human trafficking, child labor and worker safety in company supply chains
- Compliance with sustainability requirements of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and various federal, state and local government departments and agencies
Advertising, Promotion & Trademarks
- Sustainability and other “green” claims
- Compliance with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Green Guide
- Compliance with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) labeling and declaration standards
- Advise on recyclable, recycled content, degradable, compostable, free-of, natural, organic, non-toxic, ozone-safe, refillable, renewable, and source reduction claims
- Assist with National Advertising Division (NAD) and class action disputes
- Draft endorsement and partnership agreements
Contact: Courtney Thompson
- Advice regarding and negotiations of agreements for the purchase of renewable energy or Renewable Energy Credits
- Structure ownership and operation of renewable energy assets
- Advice regarding and negotiation of EPC contracts, natural gas contracts, and other renewable energy related contracts, including hedging agreements
- Assess low carbon fuel content and content requirements in contracts
- Renewable natural gas contracts
- EPC contracts
- Assistance and advice respecting carbon and other renewable energy financing
Contact: Daniel Yarano
Real Estate and Environmental
- Assist with supply chain contracts, energy efficiency contracts and financing
- Advise on site assessments and remediation
- Advice regarding environmental building certifications and construction practices
Contact: Lindsey Remakel and
Labor, Employment and Human Rights
- Advise regarding ESG and CSR legal and regulatory requirements and stakeholder concerns re workers’ compensation, health, safety and human rights issues with respect to domestic and international employment and company supply chain practices
- Advise and defend employers with regulatory, employee and whistleblower complaints, claims, dispute resolution and litigation pertaining to ESG and CSR matters
- Assist employers with the design and implementation of effective policies, systems, processes, procedures and investigations to assess risks, detect, mitigate and resolve improper compliance activities and personnel conduct, as well as promote diverse and inclusive workplaces
Governance and Board Responsibilities
- Develop board sustainability policies, including transparency considerations
- Advice regarding sustainability and CSR oversight responsibilities
- Address sustainability strategy, risk assessment and possible business opportunities
- Review sustainability and CSR compliance systems and processes
- Advice regarding voluntary and required sustainability and CSR reporting
- Develop conflicts of interest and ethical conduct policies
- Analyze various stakeholder sustainability and CSR interests and proposals
- Assess clients’ business activities which implicate various domestic and/or international ESG and CSR reporting standards; assist clients with selection of suitable reporting frameworks and compliance with reporting requirements
Contact: John Stout
Mergers and Acquisitions Transactions
- Conduct ESG and CSR due diligence
- Address ESG and CSR risk assessment
- Advise regarding ESG and CSR impact on business transaction valuations
- Negotiate ESG and CSR contractual provisions
Securities, Financing and Investment Transactions
- Draft ESG and CSR disclosures in public and private securities offering documents
- Compliance with reporting requirements and guidance of various regulators and stakeholders, e.g., Dodd-Frank, SEC reporting (conflict minerals, supply chain, cybersecurity, ESG, CSR and other material risks)
- Analyze and advise regarding ESG and CSR exposure to activist investors and stakeholders
- Analysis and advice regarding stakeholder ESG and CSR proposals
- Monitor local, state, national and international ESG and CSR regulatory activities and guidance regarding reporting and listing standards, e.g., the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) Sustainability Working Group, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSEI), and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
- Assess and negotiate ESG and CSR requirements of investors and lenders
- Conduct ESG and CSR due diligence
- Advice concerning, and negotiation of, ESG and CSR contractual reporting and compliance requirements
Litigation and Investigations
- Advise businesses, executives and directors regarding ESG and CSR liability exposure, protection, mitigation and defense including entity structure, governing documents, policies, indemnification and insurance
- Advice regarding anti-corruption laws and regulations
- Assist with design and implementation of anti-corruption compliance plans, training, due diligence and investigations
- Advice, and where appropriate, defense respecting government demands and investigations, as well as shareholder and stakeholder litigation
Contact: Dulce Foster
- Represented a 100MW distributed solar energy generator facility in Minnesota that is comprised of 16 separate facilities, between 2 to 10 MW, through a contested case competitive acquisition process, power purchase agreement and cost recovery approvals, and the site permit process.
- Received a $59.4 million settlement following a water contamination dispute between a local city and the U.S. government that went on for over 30 years. John Drawz, Rick Snyder, Tim O’Shea, and Lindsey Hemly Remakel were instrumental in achieving this outstanding result.
- Assisted in the development of over 100 MW of community solar projects, from permitting, real estate acquisition, construction and financing.
- Assisted clients in the development, permitting and negotiating of land rights for more than 1,500 MW of large wind energy projects throughout the Upper Midwest.
- Assisted a client in securing financing and a sale leaseback arrangement with a local wastewater treatment authority to install an innovative on-site wastewater treatment system at the site of the industrial facility to pre-treat wastewater and remove solids from the waste stream prior to discharge from the site.
- Handled LED replacement lighting, biomass fractionation, high-efficiency HVAC equipment, and heat transfer modules for optimizing ethanol plant operation.
- Advised plastic manufacturer on recyclable and recycled content claims.
- Advised cosmetic company on natural, recyclable and recycled content claims.
- Advised public food company on natural and organic claims.
- Erik Malinowski moderated “Community Solar Market Outlook,” 2017 Solar Power Finance & Investment Summit, San Diego, CA, March 21, 2017
- Nena Lenz and Jeremy Duehr presented “The Federal Government as a Large Customer—Update on the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Initiative,” Eighth Annual Renewable Energy in the Midwest Conference, October 2016
- Nena Lenz presented “Demand Drivers for New Renewable Resources,” Law Seminar International’s Eighth Annual Renewable Energy in the Midwest Conference, October 3-4, 2016
- Christy Brusven presented “Federal Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit,” RMEL Renewable Planning and Operations Conference, Denver, CO, October 13, 2016
- Christy Brusven presented “Wind Turbine Decommissioning,” RMEL Renewable Planning and Operations Conference, Denver, CO, October 13, 2016
- Dan Yarano was co-chair of the Law Seminar International’s Seventh Annual Renewable Energy in the Midwest Conference, October 8-9, 2015
- Nena Lenz presented “Demand Drivers for New Renewable Resources,” Law Seminar International’s Seventh Annual Renewable Energy in the Midwest Conference, October 8-9, 2015
- Christy Brusven moderated “Working Through the Complexities of Permitting Renewable Energy Projects,” Law Seminar International’s Seventh Annual Renewable Energy in the Midwest Conference, October 8-9, 2015
- Nena Lenz and Jeremy Duehr presented “The Federal Government as a Large Customer: Update on the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Initiative for Military and Civilian Facilities,” Renewable Energy in the Midwest Conference, Minneapolis, MN, October 2015
- John Stout moderated the ABA’s Business Law Section program, “Sustainability and the Financial Markets” ABA Corporate Social Responsibility Task Force, Chicago, IL, September 2015
- Lindsey Remakel and Nathan Franzen (Geronimo Energy, LLC) co-presented “Meeting Utility Resource Needs with Solar: The Merits of The Aurora Solar Project,” March 19, 2014
- Dan Yarano was program co-chair and co-presenter of the Introduction and Overview, and “What Do We Need to Do at the State and Federal Level to Make Things Better?,” Fifth Annual Conference on New Developments in Renewable Energy in the Midwest States, Minneapolis, MN, August 15-16, 2013
- Jeremy Duehr co-presented with Tony Sullins (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and Richard Baker (MN DNR) “Endangered Species Act Issues in Renewable Energy Development,” Renewable Energy in the Midwest Conference, Minneapolis, MN, August 2013
- Dan Yarano was program co-chair and co-presenter of the Introduction and Overview, and “A Look at the Future: Coming Issues and Litigation,” Fourth Annual Conference on New Developments in Renewable Energy in the Midwest States, Minneapolis, MN, August 16-17, 2012
- Dan Yarano was program co-chair and co-presenter of the Introduction and Overview, Third Annual Conference on New Developments in Renewable Energy in the Midwest States, Minneapolis, MN, August 25-26, 2011
- Dan Yarano presented “New Developments in Renewable Energy,” Law Seminar International’s Second Annual Conference, August 19-20, 2010