Environmental Policy – The United States environment continues to improve at a steady pace, in many cases, exceeding the progress of our international neighbors. With this improvement, the state of environmental regulations and requirements has and will continue to expand. Each new obligation demands added responsibilities along with potential liabilities. It no longer makes sense for companies to operate in a single media platform. A broad swath of federal regulatory requirements needs to be considered and evaluated before any decision is made. For example, a chemical manufacturer must not only look at the regulations for the chemical itself but must also consider the process for the handling of the substance as well as its disposal.
Climate Change – To meet the myriad of federal, state and local benchmarks for net-zero emissions, large decreases in greenhouse gas emissions, or simple waste reduction, companies, international and local, need an innovative approach to Climate Change to remain competitive. In the past, the issue was led predominantly in the corporate world by fortune 100 companies and the energy sector. Today, all businesses must be cognitive of advances made and be prepared to meet ever expanding goals. The savvy company will look for opportunities to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and in the public arena.
Water Infrastructure – The United States faces nearly a billion-dollar backlog in water infrastructure projects across the country. Tremendous resources are available and the Biden Administration has committed in principle to additional resources. The demand, however, will far outweigh available funds. Water issues, such as lead pipes, forever chemicals (PFAS and micro-plastics), and water scarcity can compound local problems. There are innovative approaches that can be used to meet the needs of the 21st century.
Energy Policy - Every form of harvested energy presents not only positive and negative consequences, but short- and long-term repercussions as well. Americans continue to become more cognizant of their energy usage and how it is supplied. What it means to be clean verses renewable, are standards that are constantly being modified and reconsidered, and questions regarding the energy life cycle will continue to arise. It is difficult to be ahead of the curve in terms of energy policy, but it has never been more critical in terms of energy security, reliability, and market responsiveness.
Fuels Issues – Fuels issues reside at the intersection of energy policy and environmental programs. Eagle Mill Consulting personnel has been working in the liquid fuels policy and regulatory space for over twenty-five years including ethanol, gasoline, and refining issues.
Sustainability – Customers, shareholders, and employees alike are demanding that businesses operate in a sustainable fashion. It is important for all entities to consider their impact upon the environment in terms of resource and energy use as well as waste and disposal issues. Companies must navigate not only how to measure sustainability practices but also how to discuss them and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
ESG – While Environmental, Social and Governance Considerations have been key buzz words in corporate board rooms for a number of years; supply chain members, investors, and customers have become more engaged and educated as to what exactly the terms mean and whether companies are taking these issues into account rather than merely providing window-dressing. In the past only the largest companies and smaller niche companies have focused on these issues. Today companies of all sizes, even those without stockholders or outside investors, are being asked how they are managing the ESG issues.
Recycling and Waste Issues – Most Americans believe that we recycle far more than we actually do. The unfortunate truth is that recycling rates have steadily decreased over the last twenty years and negatively accelerated when China stopped accepting recycling materials. This has caused an increase in waste disposal fees that will only increase. There are opportunities for forward thinking companies and municipalities who wish to get ahead of the curve. Americans, as well as people across the world remain concerned about the use of plastics and the impact on the environment. While there has been a lot of innovation the challenge remains in affordability and scalability. The companies which solve these issues have an optimistic future in terms of environmental impact and marketplace growth.
Food Waste – Food waste accounts for over one third of the total waste sent to landfills annually in the United States. This is a dire waste of not only the food itself, but the decreasing available land. Another unfortunate byproduct is the unnecessary expense for large scale providers of food such as grocery stores, hotels, institutional entities and sporting arena venues. Corporations and communities need to engage across the food waste value chain, from farmers and processors to food pantries and other non-profits, to explore a more socially and environmentally responsible way of managing food waste, that will be right for them.
The Clean Energy Transition - Over the last decade there has been a significant increase in both the interest and use of clean energy. But today with the agenda of the Biden Administration and Congress we have begun a clean energy transition which will transform energy generation and usage across the country. This transition has ramifications for all businesses and energy consumers. Between public demands and governmental regulations at all levels it will be incumbent upon all businesses to understand the requirements and States and local governments to plan for their future energy needs.