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ENVIRONMENTAL


SEC Adopts New Rules for Climate-Related Disclosures

March 30, 2024


On March 6, 2024, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3-2 to adopt new rules mandating climate-related disclosures in public companies’ annual reports and registration statements. While the final rules are meaningfully scaled back from the proposed rules and adopt a materiality-based approach, they nevertheless add potentially significant climate-related disclosure requirements for companies, including foreign private issuers. The final rules provide extensive phase-in periods as summarized in the annex to this publication, and the earliest compliance period applies to large accelerated filers for their annual reports for fiscal year 2025.



EPA Finalizes Regulations for the Use of Chrysotile Asbestos Under TSCA

March 29, 2024


EPA has issued new regulations under TSCA (40 CFR 751, Subpart F) to address the unreasonable risk of injury to human health from the use of chrysotile asbestos. Specifically, EPA is prohibiting the manufacture, import, processing, distribution in commerce and commercial use of chrysotile asbestos in the following uses: for diaphragms used in the chlor-alkali industry, sheet gaskets used in chemical production, brake/linings, vehicle friction products, gaskets, and aftermarket automotive chrysotile asbestos-containing brakes/linings and gaskets for consumer use. EPA also finalized disposal and recordkeeping requirements for these conditions of use.


Source: EPA


EPA Finalizes Hazardous Substance Worst Case Discharge Planning Regulations

March 29, 2024


EPA is finalizing regulations outlining planning requirements for worst case discharges of hazardous substances governed by the Clean Water Act (CWA) at onshore non-transportation-related facilities. These regulations target facilities with the potential to cause substantial environmental harm by discharging CWA-regulated hazardous substances into navigable waters, adjacent shorelines, or the exclusive economic zone.


Source: EPA


A Global Baseline? How to Navigate Interoperability Across Sustainability Reporting Rules

March 28, 2024


Sustainability reporting rules developed by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) for the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards are set to be adopted across jurisdictions in the next few years, establishing a global baseline for corporate disclosures. This represents an opportunity for companies to harmonize their sustainability data in a complex regulatory environment. Adopting these new standards as early as possible and understanding their interoperability with other regulations are crucial considerations for sustainability leaders.



How Patagonia And Seventh Generation Include Banks in Their Climate Action Plans

March 27, 2024


Most companies don’t report the “hidden” carbon emissions generated by how their corporate cash deposits are invested, but it’s larger than many realize.

If Apple, Google and Salesforce included that data in their disclosures, their total emissions would rise by 128 percent, 207 percent and 206 percent, respectively, according to a report published this week by a group of NGOs.


Their analysis found that non-financial companies in the United States cumulatively hold $7 trillion in cash and investments. The cumulative emissions enabled by those cash holdings account for more than 20 percent of all U.S. emissions, according to the Carbon Bankroll 2.0 report. By engaging with their financial partners to decarbonize those portfolios, those corporations could facilitate major emissions reductions, the report concluded.


Source: GreenBiz


EPA Proposes the Addition of Chemical Substances to the Health and Safety Data Reporting Rule

March 27, 2024


EPA is proposing to amend the Health and Safety Data Reporting Rule under section 8(d) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to require manufacturers (including importers) of 16 chemical substances to submit copies and lists of certain unpublished health and safety studies for those substances.


Source: EPA


EPA Revises NSPS for Crude Oil and Natural Gas Source Category

March 11, 2024


EPA is finalizing multiple amendments to control air pollution emissions from the Crude Oil and Natural Gas source category. The amendments resolve inconsistencies between VOC and methane standards (40 CFR 60, Subpart OOOOa); address fugitive emissions monitoring at low production well sites and gathering and boosting stations (40 CFR 60, Subpart OOOOa); finalize provisions for a super emitter program to investigate very large emissions events (40 CFR 60, Subparts OOOO and OOOOa); and add language to clarify when sources transition between NSPS subparts (40 CFR 60, Subpart KKK, Subpart OOOO, and Subpart OOOOa).


Source: EPA


EPA Creates New National Primary Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for PM 2.5

March 7, 2024


Based on EPA’s 2021 review of available scientific evidence and technical information, the agency is revising the primary annual PM 2.5 standard by lowering the level from 12.0 micrograms/m3 to 9.0 micrograms/m3. EPA is not changing the current primary 24-hour PM 2.5 standard, the primary 24-hour PM 10 standard, the secondary 24 hour PM 2.5 standard, the secondary annual PM 2.5 standard, nor the secondary 24-hour PM 10.


Source: EPA


EPA Amends Risk Management Program with Final Rule

March 1, 2024


On March 1, US EPA finalized amendments to the Clean Air Act Risk Management Program (RMP) chemical emergency preparedness requirements. The intent of the Final Rule is to further protect at-risk communities from chemical accidents, especially those near facilities in industry sectors with high accident rates.


The Final Rule covers all 11,740 regulated RMP facilities across the country and contains more rigorous requirements for a subgroup of facilities that are more accident-prone and pose the greatest risk to communities.


Source: EPA


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SOCIAL


US Department of Labor Issues Final Rule to Clarify Rights to Employee Representation During OSHA Inspections

March 29, 2024


The U.S. Department of Labor today published a final rule clarifying the rights of employees to authorize a representative to accompany an Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance officer during an inspection of their workplace.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act gives the employer and employees the right to authorize a representative to accompany OSHA officials during a workplace inspection. The final rule clarifies that, consistent with the law, workers may authorize another employee to serve as their representative or select a non-employee. For a non-employee representative to accompany the compliance officer in a workplace, they must be reasonably necessary to conduct an effective and thorough inspection.


Source: OSHA


Forgotten Due Diligence: Overlooked Occupational Safety & Health, OSHA Liabilities During M&A Transactions

March 19, 2024


The leading indicators identified in this article can help prospective buyers assess target companies, the risks they pose, and the opportunities they may present for creating a safer workplace. Of course, the absence of a serious accident or injury does not disprove the existence of a hazard. And all the best written safety programs may be ineffective and preventing accidents where an employer has not established a strong safety culture.



PHMSA Answers 19 Questions About Hazmat Training

March 14, 2024


PHMSA released a 19-question set of FAQs meant to increase the understanding and awareness of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), including where the regulations stand on online/virtual training.


Source: Lion


18 Hazmat Rule Revisions Add Flexibility, Cost Savings

March 4, 2024


A March 4, 2024, Final Rule to amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) will save hazmat shippers, carriers, packaging manufacturers, and other stakeholders $2 million per year, US DOT/PHMSA estimates.


The Final Rule takes effect on April 3, 2024 and adopts 18 petitions for rulemaking from business and industry organizations with a stake in the safe, efficient transportation of hazardous materials. The final revisions are intended to add flexibility for the regulated community while maintaining an equivalent level of safety.


Source: Lion


GOVERNANCE


ESG Moving Forward: Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future

March 19, 2024


Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) evaluations impact firms' market value, but inconsistencies and uncertainties in these assessments suggest that following past practice may not be the best way forward.



Global Corporate Governance Trends for 2024

March 6, 2024


Corporate governance is dynamic. Boards and the businesses they oversee face new challenges and opportunities—and new demands from their stakeholders—each year. To help you and your companies stay ahead of the curve in 2024 and beyond, RRA annually brings together the best thinking from our leadership advisors and a diverse array of influential governance thought leaders. With thanks to those experts, we are pleased to share our ninth annual report on what to watch in 2024.


Corporate governance and demands on corporate leaders vary significantly from country to country, but four topics stand out as most important to businesses and their boards across the globe in 2024


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