We frequently write about the ways in which local, state and federal environmental laws affect business practices in the United States. When businesses fail to comply with many of these laws, they may be held accountable for environmental violations or they may find themselves defending their practices within the scope of environmental litigation.

However, environmental laws and policies enforced by local, state and federal agencies are not the only regulations that businesses need to concern themselves with. International laws often play a significant part in regulating businesses, even if those businesses operate primarily within the confines of U.S. borders.

Recently the United Nations made significant efforts to strengthen the scope and force of international environmental laws in ways that may or may not affect any given business in California. Specifically, the new U.N. Environment Assembly met in Nairobi last month in order to discuss ways of fortifying international environmental laws and fostering greener forms of economic growth.

The UNEA is a new forum comprised of business leaders, environmental ministers and prominent members of civil society. The new assembly is especially concerned with potentially reforming international environmental laws, regulations and policies that are well-intentioned but are not currently effective.

If you have questions about how the evolving nature of international environmental laws may impact you and your business, please seek the advice of an attorney experienced in such matters. He or she should be able to successfully guide you through your rights and responsibilities in regards to this area of law.

Source: Reuters, “U.N. enlists legal help to crack down on environmental crime,” Alister Doyle, June 22, 2014