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Issue

Volume 49, Issue 2 — February 2019

Articles

Rise of the Shadow ESG Regulators: Investment Advisers, Sustainability Accounting, and Their Effects on Corporate Social Responsibility

by Paul Rissman and Diana Kearney

Actions that fall under the catchall of “corporate social responsibility” have been viewed with skepticism. In the United States, part of the blame lies with lax laws and regulations surrounding social and environmental disclosure. Disclosure may soon be vastly improved with finalization of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB's) financially material social and environmental reporting standards. While the standards are voluntary, the fact that they have been endorsed as “material” by many of the world’s largest investment advisers will transform them into legally actionable standards. This Article describes the current situation in which corporations have a deepening financial interest in fighting against authoritarianism and climate change, highlights a significant root of the problem as to why most companies still have far to go in strengthening their corporate social responsibility standards, discusses potential solutions to this problem, describes SASB's mandate, and explores the implications of this new regulatory role that large asset managers have unwittingly assumed.

The Changing Nature of Conflict, Peacebuilding, and Environmental Cooperation

by Carl Bruch, David Jensen, Mikiyasu Nakayama, and Jon Unruh

With respect to conflict and post-conflict environmental peacebuilding, three key themes characterize the post-Cold War world: (1) a change in how wars are fought and financed; (2) the United Nations’ more frequent and wide-ranging intervention in conflicts, as well as its increasing emphasis on peacebuilding; and (3) a change in international environmental policy and international cooperation around the environment. This Article discusses each in turn, their interrelationship, and the recently emerging interdisciplinary field of environmental peacebuilding. It concludes with recommendations for scholars and practitioners to continue to build this field.

Comment(s)

The Evolution and Influence of International Environmental Norms

by Armin Rosencranz, Shubham Janghu, and Pratheek Reddy

This Comment explores the evolution and influence of international environmental norms. One of the present authors, Prof. Armin Rosencranz, in a 2003 article discussed the origin and emergence of these norms. That article identified 20 norms as either prevailing or rising in the field of environmental law and organized them generally in order of their emergence. This Comment provides a comprehensive update, focusing on how 16 of these norms have evolved and continued to influence international environmental law, and sequencing the norms in terms of their broad acceptance and impact on the global landscape of 2018.

Dialogue

The Use of PFAS at Industrial and Military Facilities: Technical, Regulatory, and Legal Issues

by Scott Fulton, Peter Zeeb, Adam Baas, Eric Burneson, Rula Deeb, and Virginia Yingling

Contamination of drinking water by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has garnered much attention in recent years. PFAS include perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and PFAS exposures and risks can result in regulatory concerns and active management at contaminated sites and surrounding areas. On September 12, 2018, ELI hosted leading experts for an in-depth discussion on the sources, overarching chemistry, environmental fate and transport, exposure, toxicology, and occurrence of PFAS, with emphasis on the state of knowledge regarding the characterization, risk management, and remediation of PFAS-impacted sites. The panel provided updates on state and federal regulatory issues, and explored the spectrum of legal challenges associated with the use of PFAS at industrial and military facilities. This Article present a transcript of the discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.