Nowadays the word "green" can take on many different meanings. Sure it's a color--but it can also describe something or someone that is fresh and new. As the new editor of InsideCounsel, some may even refer to me as "green." But through the years, green has taken on a more important meaning--it describes the growing global movement to support and protect the environment. This Green movement has affected all of us one way or another.
For the record, I don't fancy myself an environmental activist (I sometimes forget to turn off the kitchen light), but I try to do my part (that kitchen light fixture houses a compact fluorescent bulb). So I was excited to learn that my inaugural issue as editor of InsideCounsel wasn't only our first-ever themed issue, but also was one that would focus on the Green movement's impact on corporate legal departments.
Of course the idea of environmental friendliness isn't new. It was more than 100 years ago that the Sierra Club organized a group dedicated to protecting the earth. But whether it was the gradual feed of environmental information from the media throughout the years or the shock-and-awe message delivered by Al Gore in "An Inconvenient Truth," the general population has become increasingly educated about global warming. Now they are demanding to know: How is your company responding to environmental threats?
This level of public awareness has placed the onus on companies to be more transparent not only about how they are addressing environmental concerns--both proactively and reactively--but also about their internal environmental practices. In our cover story, "Green-House Counsel," we discuss the approaches five high-profile companies in different industries are taking to address environmental challenges.
Utility giant AEP talks about its involvement in purportedly the largest settlement in an environmental enforcement case, and Ford explains its do-or-die strategy of developing environmentally friendly technologies for the auto industry. Our department pieces look at how environmental concerns are changing laws, regulations, business practices and even relationships between traditional adversaries.
When an issue affects a company, it affects the company's legal department. InsideCounsel's Green issue details how companies can stay ahead of the curve on environmental issues and practices, and how legal departments play a major role in that effort.