COP 28 Insight: Exploring Legal Landscapes in Renewable Energy 

With Suzan Taha

In the fast-evolving landscape of corporate sustainability and environmental responsibility, legal professionals play a pivotal role in shaping strategies that align with global initiatives such as COP 28.  

In this exclusive interview, LegalcommunityMENA engages with Dr. Mohamed Elmogy, ACC Board Director for MENA Chapter and General Counsel at Siemens Energy.  

As we delve into a conversation with Elmogy, we explore his insights on navigating the legal landscape concerning renewable energy projects, contributions to environmental sustainability, and his vision for fostering collaboration among legal professionals.  

How do you see the intersection of legal roles and corporate sustainability evolving in the MENA region, particularly in your role as ACC Board Director for the MENA Chapter? 

Recently, it is noted that lawyers are playing a huge role in sustainability governance by providing strategic legal advice, drafting sustainability polices, and monitoring compliance. Moreover, the litigations pertaining to ESG are increasing in the Middle East where businesses are facing lawsuits from shareholders, NGOs and sometimes governments for alleged non-compliance with sustainability which requires the support of well-trained lawyers on such matters.   

As a General Counsel at Siemens Energy, how do you navigate the legal landscape concerning renewable energy projects, especially those aligned with COP 28 objectives? 

Navigating the legal landscape concerning renewable energy projects, particularly those aligned with COP 28 objectives, requires a comprehensive understanding of the complex interplay between regulatory frameworks, environmental considerations, and commercial interests. And to navigate this legal environment, every lawyer will have to ensure Compliance with COP 28 Objectives, stay updated on regulatory changes, advocate for supportive policies, and assess environmental impacts.  

How does your role at Siemens Energy contribute to the promotion of environmental sustainability and align with the goals set forth in COP 28? 

In general, lawyers play a crucial role in promoting environmental sustainability as elaborated above. My role as Siemens Energy General Counsel would be mainly directed to guiding Siemens Energy towards sustainable practices, managing environmental risks that might face the business, drafting sustainable contracts (adding sustainability clauses and social responsibility), advocating for environmental polices and empowering employees with sustainability education and knowhow.  

How do you approach mentoring and supporting legal professionals interested in contributing to sustainable practices, especially within organizations represented by ACC MENA? 

Mentoring and supporting legal professionals interested in contributing to sustainable practices involves a comprehensive approach that encompasses education, engagement, and empowerment. Accordingly, I would highlight some pillars of such mentoring approach in below:  

  • Education: Set a solid foundation of knowledge by providing mentees with thorough understanding of sustainability principles, various environment laws and how these laws are reflected on sustainability from one side, and from the other side the role of lawyers in promoting sustainability.  
  • Network: Encourage networking and collaboration amongst lawyers by attending workshops, conferences and meetings promoting to sustainability.  
  • Acknowledgement: Recognize and celebrate success and achievements of the mentees’ contribution to sustainability in the legal field and thus reinforcing their commitment and inspire continued efforts.  

As ACC Board Director for MENA, what initiatives or programs do you envision to foster collaboration among legal professionals in the region toward achieving COP 28 objectives? 

In ACC, we aim to promote the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations, and other organizations through information, education, networking, and advocacy. For the COP28, ACC MENA Chapter may consider using its platform to amplify the voices of climate activists and marginalized communities who are disproportionately impacted by climate change. We believe that everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change, and we are committed to using our resources to make a positive difference. Here are some specific examples of how to fulfil our COP 28 Commitment: 

  • Articles: publishing articles about climate change for a variety of audiences, including students, teachers, policymakers, and the general public. 
  • Video: We have already created ACC MENA Chapter video and infographics about climate change that can was shared on social media and other online platforms. 
  • Organizations: We are willing to work with climate activists and organizations to help them communicate their messages more effectively. 
  • Promote: Will use our resources to promote climate-friendly products and services. 

Reflecting on your diverse legal experiences, how has your perspective evolved on the role of legal professionals in driving corporate sustainability, and what lessons can be shared with the legal community ahead of COP 28? 

As a large language model, my perspective on the role of legal professionals in corporate sustainability has transformed. Initially focused on regulatory compliance, I now see legal experts as key players in shaping sustainability strategies. 

A vital lesson learned is their ability to assess ESG risks, guiding the development of sustainable business practices. Equally important is their role in stakeholder engagement, helping companies communicate sustainability goals and build trust. 

Recognizing legal professionals as advocates for sustainable practices is crucial. This involves pushing for stricter regulations, supporting transparency initiatives, and contributing to legal frameworks fostering sustainability. 

Approaching COP 28, legal professionals can actively address the climate crisis. To drive corporate sustainability, they can: 

  • Educate themselves on ESG issues. 
  • Develop expertise in sustainability law. 
  • Advise clients on identifying ESG risks. 
  • Assist in implementing sustainable business practices. 
  • Engage with stakeholders on ESG matters. 
  • Advocate for regulatory changes supporting sustainability. 

Taking these actions, legal professionals can make a meaningful impact on reducing emissions and promoting a sustainable future. Additionally, they can guide companies in adapting to climate change impacts, fulfilling our responsibility to protect the planet for future generations. 

In your view, what unique contributions can legal professionals make to drive corporate environmental initiatives, and how does this perspective factor into your role at Siemens Energy and ACC MENA, especially in anticipation of COP 28? 
In my role as General Counsel at Siemens Energy and with my involvement in ACC MENA, I recognize the unique contributions legal professionals can make to drive corporate environmental initiatives, particularly in anticipation of COP 28. These include: 

  • Identifying and assessing environmental risks: Legal professionals play a crucial role in helping companies identify and assess environmental risks associated with their operations, ensuring compliance and minimizing liabilities. 
  • Developing and implementing compliance programs: Legal experts contribute by developing and implementing environmental compliance programs, designed to identify, prevent, and mitigate environmental risks. 
  • Advising on environmental legal tools: Legal professionals provide guidance on the use of environmental legal tools, such as audits, impact statements, and permits, ensuring companies navigate environmental regulations effectively. 
  • Representing in environmental litigation: Legal professionals represent companies in environmental litigation and enforcement actions, defending against claims, negotiating settlements, and participating in administrative proceedings. 
  • Advocating for regulatory changes: Legal professionals advocate for positive changes to environmental laws and regulations, working with legislators, participating in public comment periods, and providing expert testimony. 

As General Counsel, my responsibilities include overseeing the company’s legal affairs and advising on environmental initiatives. My perspective on the role of legal professionals in corporate sustainability is shaped by firsthand experience. I’ve witnessed how legal professionals can identify and manage environmental risks, implement sustainable practices, and ensure compliance. I firmly believe in the critical role legal professionals play in addressing the climate crisis and contributing to a sustainable future.  

My commitment is to leverage my expertise to position the company as a leader in corporate sustainability, acknowledging the responsibility businesses have in protecting the environment. 

Can you share specific examples where legal frameworks or policies have played a pivotal role in advancing corporate initiatives aligned with environmental sustainability, and what lessons can other legal professionals draw from these experiences, particularly in the context of COP 28? 

Sure, here are some specific examples where legal frameworks or policies have played a pivotal role in advancing corporate initiatives aligned with environmental sustainability: 

  • The European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS): The EU ETS is a cap-and-trade system that has been in place since 2005. It is the world’s largest carbon market, and it has been instrumental in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. The ETS has also helped to drive innovation in clean technologies, as companies have been incentivized to develop new ways to reduce their emissions. 
  • The California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS): The LCFS is a regulatory program that requires transportation fuels to have a lower greenhouse gas intensity. The LCFS has been credited with reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in California by over 10%. 
  • The Montreal Protocol: The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty that was signed in 1987. It has been successful in phasing out the production and use of ozone-depleting substances, which have been shown to damage the Earth’s ozone layer. 
  • The Clean Air Act (CAA) in the United States: The CAA is a comprehensive piece of legislation that regulates air pollution in the United States. It has been credited with reducing air pollution by over 70% since its enactment in 1970. 
  • The Chinese government’s “Airpocalypse” plan: In 2013, the Chinese government launched a comprehensive plan to address the country’s severe air pollution problem. The plan included measures to reduce emissions from power plants, steel mills, and vehicles. The plan has been successful in reducing air pollution in China by over 30%. 

These examples provide valuable lessons for other legal professionals who are working to address the climate crisis. Here are some of the key lessons that can be drawn from these experiences: 

  • Legal frameworks and policies can be effective drivers of environmental change. The examples above show that legal frameworks and policies can be used to set clear goals, establish incentives, and provide enforcement mechanisms. This can help to drive corporate action on environmental issues. 
  • Legal professionals can play a key role in developing and implementing effective legal frameworks and policies. Legal professionals can use their expertise to identify and address legal and regulatory barriers to corporate sustainability. They can also help to develop and implement policies that are effective in achieving environmental goals. 
  • International cooperation is essential for addressing global environmental challenges. The Montreal Protocol is a good example of how international cooperation can lead to successful environmental outcomes. COP 28 provides an important opportunity for countries to work together to address the climate crisis. 

In conclusion, I fundamentally believe that Legal professionals have a critical role to play in addressing the climate crisis. By working to develop and implement effective legal frameworks and policies, legal professionals can help to drive corporate action on environmental issues and build a more sustainable future. 

About Dr. Mohamed ElMogy (Mogy)

A proud father of two great young adults, potential physicist and potential lawyer, and the husband to a amazing supportive wife who’s been behind all his success. Mogy is proud to come from a family that is well-rooted in the legal field in the region with great legacy in the law society.   

He is a multiple legal awards winner, International Legal Counsel, and bilingual business leader currently serving as General Counsel at Siemens Energy and ACC Board Director for MENA Chapter. With an outstanding track-record of 27 years of hands-on legal experience across the Middle East & Africa (“MEA”) Region with F500 Corporations including Siemens Energy, Siemens, PepsiCo Inc., Sandoz and Vodafone. Mogy has led a number of initiatives that made huge impact on the In-house Legal Communities in the Middle East by founding the platforms for in-house legal counsel in both UAE and Egypt. He is fluent in Arabic and English languages and has a good knowledge of French and Italian.    

He successfully obtained a Ph.D. in International Commercial Arbitration at the American Arab Academy in partnership with Texas University in the US and his master’s degree in Law MSC in International Legal & Commercial Transactions and Logistics at the Arab Maritime Academy for Science and Technology.    

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