​U.S. SEC: Environmental, Social, and Governance Risks Better Be on Your Radar

Organizations are under increasing pressure from shareholders, regulators, and other key stakeholders to report on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. The movement to accurately measure and report the impacts that organizations have on the environment, climate, natural resources, workforce, and community (and their related ethical implications) is rapidly changing how the public inte racts…

HUGE Win for ESG! DOL Will Not Enforce the Odious, Dark Money Promoted ESG Rule

Department of Labor statement: On November 13, 2020, the Department of Labor (Department) published a final rule on “Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments,” 85 Fed. Reg. 72846 (November 13, 2020), which adopted amendments to the “Investment Duties” regulation under Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The amendments generally…

SEC May Adopt ESG Disclosure Standards

Harvard Law School’s John Coates, Acting head of the SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance, told attendees at an International finance conference that the SEC may adopt ESG disclosure standards. This is another step toward the SEC’s recognizing that ESG data is material information relating to investment risk. And he made it clear that the SEC…

SEC Announces Enforcement Task Force Focused on Climate and ESG Issues

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the creation of a Climate and ESG Task Force in the Division of Enforcement.  The task force will be led by Kelly L. Gibson, the Acting Deputy Director of Enforcement, who will oversee a Division-wide effort, with 22 members drawn from the SEC’s headquarters, regional offices, and Enforcement specialized…

Samantha Ross: The Role of Accounting and Auditing in Addressing Climate Change

U.S. federal securities laws are founded on the idea that transparency promotes well-functioning capital markets. This is particularly true when it comes to the urgent goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the devastating impacts of climate change. For companies, those impacts include both physical risks, including the risk that facilities will be…

How Can Investors Measure Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? | Morningstar

Equity — in both senses of the word — is a significant indicator of investment risk and reward. In a corporate world awash in acronyms, “DEI” is becoming as ubiquitous as USP and ROI. Diversity, equity, and inclusion was already a focus for many businesses, but the 2020 police killing of George Floyd, the subsequent…

Agenda – Boards Boast New Directors’ ESG Expertise

“This year there has been an explosion in terms of formal and informal discussions around the boardroom and ESG,” says Scott Atkinson, partner at Heidrick & Struggles and cohead of its sustainability office. “It [has] definitely been a year where we have been sought out to talk about who might be the additional board member…

Sustainable Investing Outperforms During Coronavirus | Morgan Stanley

Highlights of the new Morgan Stanley report on ESG investing: In 2020: U.S. sustainable equity funds outperformed their traditional peer funds by a median total return of 4.3%. U.S. sustainable bond funds outperformed their traditional peer funds by a median total return of 0.9%. U.S. sustainable equity funds’ median downside deviation was 3.1% less than…

ESG and the Biden Presidency

In a dramatic change from the previous administration, we expect the administration of President Joseph Biden to implement a broad range of policy changes meant to mitigate climate risk and bring the US back into the global sustainability conversation. We will be monitoring several themes that we believe could arise under the Biden presidency: Rising…