Category Archives: ESG

On the Horizon – What’s Next For SEC Enforcement of ESG Priorities?

This is the eighth post in this year’s series examining important trends in white collar law and investigations. Our previous post discussed trends in False Claims Act enforcement. Up next: trends in Federal Cryptocurrency Enforcement in 2022.

Key Takeaways

  • Sensitive to criticism of regulation through litigation, the SEC’s Enforcement Division has not pursued cases dealing with cutting edge ESG issues before the SEC decides what,…
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Shareholder Activism or Divestment? The Massachusetts Pension Fund Chooses Activism

The Boston Globe reported yesterday that the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board approved investment guidelines that would have the Board vote against directors of companies in which the Board invests where the company does not have a plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

As the Globe notes, there is something of a debate among climate activists whether it is better to support divestment or the kind of activism represented by the Board’s action yesterday. … More

2021 Marked by SEC Focus on Climate-related Disclosures

With the third quarter coming to a close and year-end reporting just around the corner, public companies should be giving careful thought to the evolving landscape for climate-related disclosures. While it did not promulgate any new rules in 2021 regarding these disclosures, the SEC has been actively commenting on climate change disclosures, and new rules are almost certainly on the way.

Since 2010, the SEC has made clear that its existing disclosure regime requires issuers to assess and,… More

SEC Approves Nasdaq Board Diversity Rules

As if issuers needed a reminder that it’s always the right time to be thinking about board composition, earlier this month, the SEC approved new Nasdaq rules that will require companies listed on that exchange to collect and report information about the diversity of their boards of directors.  Under new Nasdaq Listing Rules 5605(f) and 5606, Nasdaq-listed companies will be required to publicly disclose on their websites or in their annual reports or proxy statements board-level diversity statistics using a template promulgated by Nasdaq and to explain why they do not have at least two (or one in the case of a company with five or fewer directors) diverse directors.… More

President Biden’s “Climate-Related Financial Risk” Executive Order Pushes Forward on the Administration’s ESG Commitments

On May 20, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order to address predicted financial instability in the federal government as a result of climate change. This Executive Order showcases a dramatic change in how the Biden Administration’s stance towards climate-finance and environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-based investments will differ from the previous administration.

The Executive Order, titled “Climate-Related Financial Risk” seeks to “bolster the resilience of our rural and urban communities,… More