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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

A while back, we wrote about the EU’s provisional agreement on environmental crimes legislation. The legislation gained approval from both the European Council and Parliament, finalizing its text and preparing it for publication in the Official Journal of the EU. A press release from Parliament describes the penalties under the law as:

“Environmental crimes committed by individuals and company representatives would be punishable with imprisonment depending on how long-lasting, severe or reversible the damage is. Qualified offences could be punished with eight years, those causing the death of a person with ten years in prison and the other offences with up to five years of imprisonment.

All offenders would be required to reinstate the damaged environment and compensate for it. They might also face fines. For companies the fines will reach 3 or 5% of their yearly worldwide turnover or alternatively 24 or 40 million euro depending on the nature of the crime. Member states will be able to decide whether to prosecute criminal offences that did not take place on their territory.”

The press release goes on to say that the law will promote a standardized “polluter-pays” framework and will help member states prosecute cross-border environmental crimes. This law adds another serious legal risk in the EU as the Union and various member states adopt more penalties for those violating environmental laws. Official Journal member states will have two years to transpose the Directive into national law, once the law is transposed companies operating in member states will be subject to its penalties.

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The Editor

Zachary Barlow is a licensed attorney. He earned his JD from the University of Mississippi and has a bachelor’s in Public Policy Leadership. He practiced law at a mid-size firm and handled a wide variety of cases. During this time he assisted in overseeing compliance of a public entity and litigated contract disputes, gaining experience both in and outside of the courtroom. Zachary currently assists the editorial team by providing research and creating content on a spectrum of ESG… View Profile