Canadian Lawyer

November 2022

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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36 FEATURE DEPARTMENT PROFILE THE LEGAL department at Ballard Power Systems is deeply embedded in the business. The team helps the sales and commercial groups sell fuel cell modules and provides legal support to the critical supply chain. The in-house department also regularly negotiates supply agreements for Ballard's fuel cell modules in the rail and truck sector – with companies including Siemens and CP and with rail manufacturers in India. Legal also supports Ballard's corporate and business development teams by identi- fying risks as the Vancouver, BC-based global provider of clean energy fuel-cell solutions looks to grow in Europe and China. "As we're trying to scale, our supply chain needs a lot of legal support to navi- gate through all the different contracts we're trying to negotiate with suppliers around the world," says Ranj Sangra, associate general counsel at Ballard Power. Setting up operations in Europe is chal- lenging with a complex regulatory environ- ment in the region's manufacturing sector, Sangra says. Expanding in China also comes with many legal risks. M&A is another focus for the seven- person legal team as they support the busi- ness in its rapid growth plan. "We were fortunate enough to raise quite a bit of capital when our stock price was doing well, so we're looking at ways to deploy it," says Sangra, who joined Ballard in June 2022. This deployment includes engaging in minority investments in compa- nies that provide opportunities from a competitive perspective. With the current hybrid working model, staying connected as a team has been chal- lenging. So the legal department is focused on communicating with partners across the organization – including senior leadership – to get to know them personally and under- stand what support they need. "We're creating an environment of collab- oration to let them know that we're here to help them to win business, especially on the sales side, and we really want to figure out ways to work through legal challenges we're facing with the counterparty rather than just saying 'no,'" says Sangra. He says the team is also developing new skills through ongoing education. The legal department at Ballard Power navigates complex regulatory environments and mitigates risk as the company scales in Europe and China Supporting growth through collaboration Ballard recently announced a strategy to deepen its global manufacturing footprint in Europe, the US and China to support market demand. In 2021, the business completed its Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) manufacturing expansion in Canada, providing the core technology for Ballard's global production of fuel cell engines. With its new MEA capacity in China, Ballard now expects its global MEA capacity to support total demand requirements through the second half of this decade. Ballard plans to invest $130 million in MEA production over the next three years. BALLARD ANNOUNCES GLOBAL MANUFACTURING EXPANSION STRATEGY The legal team – led by Sangra and general counsel Kerry Hillier – has been working with the supply chain team at Ballard to develop a template document to improve efficiency. The user-friendly document addresses the needs of suppliers and the internal supply chain team. Legal also recently reviewed all the different templates used by the sales team to sell products and services. The goal is to create one template for all of Ballard's products and services in Canada, the US and Europe. Currently, over a dozen templates are being used, many of which are outdated. The review also involves exam- ining warranty terms and updating them to align with customer expectations. The legal team subscribes to the cloud- based contract management system Conga. However, Sangra says it's been challenging

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