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What is the Cost of Environmental Breaches? A Look at the Evolving Jurisprudence of Environmental Compensation

The term ‘compensation’ has been legally defined by the Hon’ble Supreme Court to be a return for loss or damage sustained. The Court expressly states that compensation must always be just, and not based on a whim or arbitrary.[1]

Environmental compensation refers to payment of monetary reparation by industries, imposed by authorities and judicial bodies for violating environmental rules and regulations. The imposition of environmental compensation on industry finds its basis in the key environmental law principle of ‘Polluter Pays.’ The Polluter Pays Principle, simply put, makes the offending industry responsible for the damage caused to the environment and to human health.[2] In the 1990s, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India began relying heavily on this principle to order industries to pay environmental compensation for breach of environmental regulations. [3]

Continue Reading What is the Cost of Environmental Breaches? A Look at the Evolving Jurisprudence of Environmental Compensation
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‘Eco-Sensitive Zones’ (“ESZ”) or ‘Ecologically Fragile Areas’ are notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (“MoEF”) under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 around the boundary of a ‘protected area’ (i.e. national park, sanctuary, conservation reserve or community reserve)[1] (“Protected Area(s)”) to create a “shock absorber/ transition zone” in the Protected Areas and to preserve the areas outside such areas, which are often considered as vital ecological corridor links, by regulating and managing the activities around such Protected Areas[2].  

Continue Reading Supreme Court Relaxes Directions Concerning Eco-Sensitive Zones
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Financial Regulation

Central banks and other financial regulatory authorities are responsible for influencing major investment decisions and resource allocation through their policies. In India, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has joined a growing number central banks and financial regulators, who have incorporated climate change into their financial stability mandate seeking to frame prudential regulations and/or direct credit towards sustainable projects. We have analysed the recent developments in our previous posts available here and here.

Continue Reading Green Central Banks and Financial Regulators – Are they Legally Mandated?
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Climate Finance

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our times. It is a classic example of  a ‘collective action problem’  – one requiring collaborative action between individuals, groups and nations, but where such coordinated action is difficult on account of misaligned incentives. Climate change is likely to result in physical and transition risks that could have implications on stability of the overall financial system as well as the physical safety and financial soundness of banks, financial institutions. Given the potential implications of climate change on monetary policy as well as financial stability, addressing it should be part of the mandate of central banks and financial regulators.

Continue Reading Climate Finance for Regulated Entities – Upcoming Trends
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ESG and M&A

In recent years, investors and customers alike have been gung-ho about ESG, so much so that it has found its way into day-to-day commercial lingo. The term ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance and refers to three key factors when measuring sustainability and the ethical impact of an investment in a business or company.[1]

Continue Reading Interplay between ESG and M&A transactions: Key factors to consider

Evolution of Environmental Attributes in India

Environmental attributes represent the characteristics of electric power generation that have an intrinsic value (excluding the energy output), arising from perceived environmental benefits of electricity generation from renewable sources, that result in the avoidance of adverse impact on the environment. For renewable energy generators (RE Generators) to realise tangible benefits from environmental attributes, various renewable energy tracking systems have evolved. These help RE Generators to monetise the green component of electricity, by selling environmental attributes to various entities (both obligated and voluntary), thereby creating much required liquidity. RE Generators in India have been realising the benefits of environmental attributes by registering their projects under the renewable energy certificate (RECs) mechanism, and various other international programmes, as outlined below.

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Charging Up the EV Sector through Policy Reform

Government of India approach

As the world moves towards clean and eco-friendly mobility fuel alternatives, the Government of India (“GOI”) is playing its part by framing environmental-friendly policies & regulations and encouraging the use of electric vehicles (“EVs”) in the country. The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, 2020 had launched the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (“FAME Policy / Scheme”) in the year 2015. The FAME Policy was launched in two phases. FAME – I provided direct subsidies and grants for specific projects along with financial support for R&D, technology enhancement and public charging infrastructure. FAME-II, introduced in 2019 with a budgetary outlay of INR 10,000 crore, envisioned driving large-scale adoption of EVs, EV-related infrastructure and EV ecosystem development. Despite these efforts the EV market penetration currently stands at merely 3% of India’s total vehicle sales.[1]

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Old Rules applicable to CRZ-II areas of Mumbai will soon be obsolete - Development control rules 1967

The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification dated January 18, 2019 (“CRZ 2019”), requires the respective Coastal Zone Management Plans (“CZMPs”) framed under the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification dated January 6, 2011 (“CRZ 2011”) to be revised or updated as per CRZ 2019, before being submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (“MOEFCC”). CRZ 2019 says that until and unless the CZMPs are so revised or updated, the provisions under CRZ 2011 will continue to be followed[1].  Accordingly, suggestions/ comments on the draft revised/ updated CZMPs of Mumbai city and Mumbai Suburban District under CRZ 2019 were invited for a period of 45 days commencing from January 16, 2020.[2] After district level hearings have been conducted[3] and based on the suggestions and objections received, the CZMPs will be revised and approval of the MOEFCC shall be obtained.[4] This has specific implications for construction projects in CRZ-II areas of Mumbai.

Continue Reading Farewell to DCR 1967: Old Rules applicable to CRZ-II areas of Mumbai will soon be obsolete

Introduction to the Biodiversity Act of India

India is known to the world for its diversified biological resources. Arising out of its obligations as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity held at Rio de Janerio in 1992, and “to provide for conservation of Biological Diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources and knowledge”, the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 (BD Act) was enacted by India to regulate access to, and use of, its biological resources.

In essence, the BD Act mandates approvals from the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and to inform State Biodiversity Authorities (SBAs) for people to access and use biological resources, or knowledge associated thereto, for research purposes, commercial utilisation, bio-survey and bio-utilisation, for applying intellectual property or for transferring results of research. Continue Reading The Biodiversity Act of India: An Introduction