As companies look to better understand and integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives into their strategic and operational planning and reporting, they must navigate disparate stakeholder expectations, dynamic domestic and foreign policy goals and regulations, numerous and widely varying reporting frameworks and rating systems, and challenges and costs associated with the collection, assimilation and reporting of relevant information.
By way of example, the Securities and Exchange Commission recently proposed rules aimed at enhancing and standardizing climate-related disclosures by registrants. The rules as proposed would mandate disclosure by registrants of climate-related risks, metrics, and related information. While the SEC has expressed its intention to adopt final rules by the end of 2022, the final rules may reflect changes based on public comment and legal challenges. Please see our March 21 alert for more information on the proposed rules.
Even if the final rules are materially curtailed, stakeholders such as investors, value-chain participants and employees are demanding increasing information from companies regarding their climate and other ESG goals, initiatives and results.
Companies that already disclose climate-related information often do so based upon various third-party frameworks. For example, many investors rely on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to assess climate-related risks into asset-allocation and portfolio-management decisions. The lack of standardization impedes data management and climate risk modeling because each reporting framework uses its own surveys, questionnaires, and data points. In addition, the inconsistencies of current climate-related disclosures complicate understanding and comparing the environmental impact of different companies and sectors and their performance in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
In this alert, we suggest several considerations for boards of directors and management teams as they embark on the path to sustainability.
For more information about the subject of this Commodities Alert, please contact any of the authors of this alert or [email protected]. Please also visit our Sustainability and Environment, Social and Governance portal for our latest information on sustainability and ESG developments.
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