Penn State Conference to Explore Law’s Role in Biz Sustainability


I will be speaking at a conference on law and sustainability being held October 4-5, 2013 at Penn State University. 

Entitled “The Impact of Law and Regulation on Transitioning to Business Sustainability,”  this interdisciplinary symposium will bring together professors and industry experts in law, business, sociology, and public policy to discuss the role of law and regulation on business transitions to sustainable practices.

Some examples of sustainable practices increasingly employed by firms include the institutionalization of “whole life-cycle” analysis in marketing and product design, utilization of sustainable inputs and energy sources, tracking and reporting sustainability performance, attempting the valuation of future generation prosperity and happiness as a discounting mechanism, and integrating sustainability into firm culture and management goals.

The symposium web site notes that law and regulation can play an important role in facilitating implementation of such practices:

It is clear that law and regulation have an extremely important role to play in the transition to more sustainable business practices. Broadly stated, law can provide structure for firms responding to forces that pull transition by enabling sustainability leadership and competitive advantage through funding models, intellectual property rights and collaboration means. Additionally, law can work to push transition by compelling firms to act through regulatory structures, accounting and governance mechanisms.

I will be discussing my recent article – Greenwashing 2.0 – and arguing that the large, important, and heretofore unstudied new category of actionable misrepresentations about green tech products and services in business-to-business transactions could adversely affect sustainability efforts.

Kevin McKnight, Vice President, Environment, Health and Safety and Chief Sustainability at Alcoa, will deliver the keynote address at the luncheon on Friday, October 4th.

The conference is organized by Dan Cahoy, Professor of Business Law at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, and Jamison Colburn, Professor of Law at Penn State Law School, and is sponsored by Penn State Law, Smeal College of Business, and the Penn State Social Science Research Institute.

More information about the conference can be found here, and you can register for the keynote address and luncheon here.

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Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.