Model law

Green Project Officer Bill

Ben's Law

The challenge to become 'more green' should be considered in a similar way to becoming GDPR compliant or avoiding money laundering - part of the everyday functioning of any medium or large business.

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Why use this?

This approach would embed a consistent response across firms and business in a way that maximises the positive impact while minimising the risk of a non-compliant company deriving unfair advantage.

How it promotes a net zero future

Until now, ecological concerns have been marginalised. They have been given only as much importance as the leadership of a firm chooses to give them.

Employing GPOs would facilitate the gathering and standardisation of data concerning the footprint of businesses in a way that facilitates an effective response. There is a growing public demand for pro-environmental policies. Employing GPOs would reinforce public confidence in this regard and address the concerns of climate change protesters.

The law

Environment Bill (Green Officer) (Amendment) Bill

A BILL TO

Amend the Environment Bill to require companies and public authorities to appoint an individual responsible for the environmental compliance and footprint of their organisation.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Environment officers

69 Designation of an environment officer
(1)  The entity must designate an environment officer.

(2)  When designating an environmental officer, the entity must have regard to the professional qualities of the proposed officer, in particular:

(a) the proposed officer’s expert knowledge of environmental law and regulation, and

(b) the ability of the proposed officer to perform the tasks mentioned in section 71.

(3)  The same person may be designated as an environmental officer by several entities, taking account of their organisational structure and size.

(4)  The entity must publish the contact details of the environment officer and communicate these to the Environment Agency.

70 Position of environment officer

(1)  The entity must ensure that the environment officer is involved, properly and in a timely manner, in all issues which relate to regulatory standards [to be set].

(2)  The entity must provide the environment officer with the necessary resources and access to data, premises [LIST ITEMS NECESSARY TO ASSESS FOOTPRINT] to enable the environment officer to:

(a) perform the tasks mentioned in section 71;

(b) maintain his or her expert knowledge of environmental law and practice;

(c) fully understand the environmental impact of the entity.

(3)  The entity:

(a) must ensure that the environment officer does not receive any instructions regarding the performance of the tasks mentioned in section 71;

(b) must ensure that the environment officer does not perform a task or fulfil a duty other than those mentioned in this Part where such task or duty would result in a conflict of interests;

(c) must not dismiss or penalise the environment officer for performing the tasks mentioned in section 71.

(4)  A consumer may contact the environment officer with regard to all issues relating to: the environmental impact of the entity, or the exercise of that data subject’s rights under this Part.

(5)  The environment officer, in the performance of this role, must: 

(a) report to the highest management level of the entity; and 

(b) submit a publicly available environmental impact report to the Environment Agency.

71 Tasks of environment officer

(1) The entity must entrust the environment officer with at least the following tasks:

(a) informing and advising the entity, or any sub-entity engaged by the entity, and any employee as employee of the entity, of that person’s obligations under environmental regulations;

(b) 64 and monitoring compliance with that section,

(c) co-operating with the Environment Agency,

(d) acting as the contact point for the Environment Agency, and consulting with the Environment Agency, where appropriate, in relation to any other matter,

(e) monitoring compliance with policies of the entity in relation to maintaining environmental regulatory compliance, and

(f) monitoring compliance by the entity with this Part.

(2) In relation to the policies mentioned in subsection (1)(e), the environment officer’s tasks include: 

(a) assigning responsibilities under those policies,

(b) raising awareness of those policies

(c) training staff, and

(d) conducting audits required under those policies.

(3) In performing the tasks set out in subsections (1) and (2), the environment officer must have regard to the risks associated with non-compliance with environmental regulations, taking into account the nature, scope, context and purposes of processing. 

Penalties

XX Penalty notices

(1) If the Environment Agency is satisfied that a person has failed to comply with [insert relevant regulation here], the Commissioner may, by written notice (a “penalty notice”), require the person to pay to the Commissioner an amount in sterling specified in the notice.

(2) When deciding whether to give a penalty notice to a person and determining the amount of the penalty, the Environment Agency must have regard to the following, so far as relevant:

(a) the nature, gravity and duration of the failure;

(b) the intentional or negligent character of the failure;

(c) any action taken by the entity to mitigate the environmental damage;

(d) the degree of responsibility of the entity, taking into account technical and organisational measures implemented by the entity in accordance with [good practice];

(e) any relevant previous failures by the controller or processor;

(f) the degree of co-operation with the Environment Agency, in order to remedy the failure and mitigate the possible adverse effects of the failure;

(g) the manner in which the infringement became known to the Environment Agency, including whether, and if so to what extent, the entity notified the Agency of the failure;

(h) the extent to which the entity has complied with previous enforcement notices or penalty notices;

(i) adherence to approved codes of conduct or certification mechanisms;

(j) any other aggravating or mitigating factor applicable to the case, including financial benefits gained, or losses avoided, as a result of the failure (whether directly or indirectly);

(k)whether the penalty would be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

(5) The penalty may be:

(a) up to 20 million Euros, or 4% of the entity’s total annual worldwide turnover in the preceding financial year, whichever is higher, or

(b) in any other case, 20 million Euros. 

YY Fees

(1)  Each entity as prescribed by the Secretary of State must pay the annual registration fee to be compliant.

(2)  Failure to comply with s.YY(1) shall be dealt with by way of penalty notice.

(3)  The annual registration fee, as referred to at s.YY(1), shall be £100.