Sustainability & Product Stewardship

Advancing Manufacturers’ Success through Sustainability and Product Stewardship

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Driven by business and consumer demands, manufacturers strive to ensure that their products and operations are legally compliant across the globe and satisfy the company’s sustainability objectives. Our multidisciplinary team works collaboratively to help clients develop and implement practical strategies that identify, prioritize, and meet these constantly and rapidly-changing demands. Whether a client seeks assistance with product stewardship, traditional environmental matters, sustainability, chemical and regulatory product compliance, environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, or emerging contaminants, we match the client with the attorneys best positioned to provide practical and useful guidance.

Product stewardship (managing the compliance, risks, and impact of products) has become more complex in recent years with the increased regulations, “voluntary” standards, and regulatory scrutiny regarding product contents, safety, and use. Our team advises clients across the spectrum of activities affecting product stewardship, from product concept and design through manufacturing, distribution, product labeling, packaging, marketing, sale and use and, ultimately, recycling and disposal. Our attorneys can help businesses address topics as diverse as consumer product safety, regulatory approvals, certification and registration, and labeling and marketing considerations regardless of product category or geography. To help you cross international borders and operate in different jurisdictions with greater ease, we evaluate existing and new products for compliance with the regulations of a potential new market and can help you solve stewardship issues that would otherwise delay product importations at customs.

Like our manufacturing clients, we strive to stay a step ahead of any necessary compliance changes and to identify the best ways to comply with changes to regulations and standards before they become effective. Thus, we assist with pre-development screening to ensure that products comply with current regulations as well as to identify regulatory changes that may be on the horizon. If a regulator or private party contests a manufacturer’s compliance, our team includes experienced litigators to defend a regulatory action or private litigation (including class actions).

We also recognize that manufacturers and their suppliers seek to develop policies and tools to meet sustainability and product stewardship targets and reporting objectives. From identifying relevant sustainability metrics to structuring supply chain contracts that meet clients’ stewardship goals, our attorneys bring broad-based knowledge and experience to guide your business. A comprehensive sustainability and product stewardship program will include policies and procedures to guide product-compliance reviews, including supplier surveys, record retention policies, audit procedures and more.  Foley can help create fit-for-purpose tools to meet these needs. We also have a deep and knowledgeable ESG team to assist with ESG issues and reporting obligations.

Our sustainability-focused practice also includes advising clients on the challenges of emerging contaminants.  These emerging contaminants are chemicals commonly used in medicines, cleaners, and other products but identified as posing potential threats to human health and the environment. Even absent current applicable regulations, emerging contaminants can pose significant exposure for manufacturers who need to both manage upstream impacts to their supply chain as materials are banned or phased out, as well as potential risks related to the handling, sale or disposal of materials affected by such contaminants.

With the growing emphasis on and commercial value of corporate responsibility and environmental impact, manufacturers have the opportunity to highlight their current sustainability and compliance successes or to evolve their businesses to stay ahead of the competition and within the regulatory guardrails.  Foley attorneys are here to provide the legal insight and practical business knowledge you need to achieve your most ambitious goals, sustainably.