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Practice Area

Product Stewardship and Sustainability

©2022 Keller and Heckman LLP

From initial design to end-of-life, managing a product’s lifecycle involves a myriad of regulatory and compliance challenges. Our Product Stewardship and Sustainability team brings extensive experience in dealing with product regulatory requirements, safety, advertising, and litigation. Drawing on the expertise of our in-house scientists where needed, we advise on all stages of product development, advertising and marketing, sale, use, component and material selection, and the disposal of consumer and industrial products. 

Regulatory Compliance and Public Policy

Our attorneys counsel clients on a wide range of laws and regulations that implicate sustainability and product stewardship, such as energy efficiency, limits on chemicals in products, recycled content requirements, and waste disposal requirements. We help clients comply with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy efficiency rules and waiver requests, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program requirements, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) biobased certification program. 

We are known for our deep knowledge of state green chemistry laws, Toxics in Packaging requirements, and California’s Proposition 65. We advocate on behalf of clients before federal and state legislative bodies; regulatory agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), EPA, and California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC); and represent clients in enforcement actions before those agencies when necessary. We also advise on global laws and regulations governing hazardous substances, e-waste, ecodesign, and other issues and advocate for clients before international regulatory bodies, including Health Canada and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). 

Environmental Marketing Claims, Green Chemistry, and Corporate Sustainability 

Environmental stewardship and social responsibility are of increasing importance. We regularly advise companies on environmental and sustainability claims and on how to improve their environmental footprint, such as by setting up voluntary recycling programs and complying with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. We also counsel clients on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides) and the growing number of state and international laws affecting green claims. 

We were instrumental in developing the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Marketing and Advertising Commission’s Framework Guides for Environmental Marketing Claims. As new claims enter the marketplace, we actively engage in policy debates about the role of private standards and advertising self-regulation, including consumer protection and competition aspects. 

Representative Matters

  • Assisted clients in responding to proposals to limit or ban lead, cadmium, alleged endocrine-disrupting substances, such as phthalates and bisphenol-A, ozone-depleting chemicals, formaldehyde, fluoropolymers, vinyl, and other substances in a variety of consumer products and packaging
  • Advised clients on CE marking and dossier requirements
  • Assisted clients in responding to investigations into compliance with the EU standby and network standby regulations
  • Advised clients on REACH, safety, and ecodesign implications of various product prototypes.
  • Represented clients in state enforcement actions concerning excess VOCs in consumer and industrial products
  • Assisted multiple companies in responding to alleged violations of California Proposition 65 involving various chemicals
  • Represented client in responding to DOE and California Energy Commission compliance inquiries
  • Represented clients in FTC and state investigations of environmental and “green” marketing claims, in competitor and consumer disputes about claims, and in policy proceedings around guidance and rules governing environmental marketing claims

Areas of Focus

Assisting clients with reporting obligations to consumer product safety agencies, such as CPSC and its global counterparts, to EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and on compliance with legislation governing products and packaging, including requirements developed by the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG)

Advising on phasing out of the use of heavy metals in consumer products and other regulatory requirements impacting heavy metals and on rules governing the use of ultraviolet and other forms of radiation, brominated flame retardants, ortho-phthalates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in consumer and industrial products and counseling on developing issues for nanotechnology-based products in an array of industrial and consumer applications

Evaluating available literature on toxicological risks and conducting exposure or migration assessments and assessing the suitability of test data to support specific claims

Helping clients navigate federal, state, and international laws governing “green” claims and evaluating standards and test methods developed to substantiate such claims and representing clients in connection with federal, state, competitor, and class action challenges to environmental and other claims

Assisting clients in Proposition 65 and Green Chemistry rulemaking proceedings and advising clients on state “green chemistry” laws, including processes to identify and prioritize “chemicals of concern,” reporting requirements, and alternative assessment and substitution obligations for manufacturers 

Counseling clients on a wide range of laws and regulations impacting the end-of-life stage of consumer and industrial products, including advising on compliance with global laws and regulations governing waste disposal, the more than 20 U.S. state laws on electronic waste (e-waste), and the California Rigid Plastic Packaging Container (RPPC) law and assisting companies in setting up voluntary recycling programs

Advising clients on energy efficiency and ecodesign requirements and energy claims and advising trade associations and corporate clients on obligations under the Conflict Minerals Act and California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, as well as sustainability compliance procedures and commitments

Advocating on behalf of clients before federal, state, national, and international authorities and advising on legislative strategy 

Responding to litigation or enforcement initiatives involving chemicals, VOC emissions, and other technical issues

Contact a Product Safety and Sustainability Attorney

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