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The Circular Economy: Regulatory and Commercial Law Implications

December 2016

Citation: ELR 11009

Author: Ira Feldman, Reid Lifset , Timothy Ellis, Wayne Rifer, and Roger D. Feldman

Many have put forward a vision for a “circular economy” that would not only conserve and recycle materials, but also contribute to new technological, financial, and environmental innovations. As this circular economy approach gains traction, adjustments to our system of regulatory and commercial law will be needed. For lawyers and their clients, the circular economy represents a new and important thought construct that will lead to legal frameworks better adapted to the 21st century. On February 23, 2016, the Environmental Law Institute and the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources co-sponsored a day-long seminar that looked at the circular economy and how it is being applied at the intersection of energy, environment, and materials management. The panelists also discussed some of the specific regulatory, procurement, financial structuring, and other legal initiatives that are emerging to help actualize its objectives globally. In this Dialogue, we present a partial transcript of the event, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

Ira Feldman is President and Senior Counsel, Greentrack Strategies. Reid Lifset is Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Industrial Ecology, Yale University. Timothy Ellis is President, RSR Technologies. Wayne Rifer is Director of Research and Solutions, Green Electronics Council. Roger D. Feldman is Counsel at Andrews Kurth LLP.

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