The number of ESG disclosure and reporting guidelines, frameworks and standards continues to expand – here comes the GRI Universal Standards, the SASB XRBL Taxonomy, and much more. The range of available transparency tools is making it more challenging for corporate management and investors to navigate.
Collaboration – Cooperation – Collective Action: buzz words that really matter today as the nations of the world come together to address a wide range of climate change challenges. Public sector leaders, asset managers, corporate boards and managements, NGOs, activists, scientists, and civic leaders in many nations (developed and developing) will participate and/or tune in to the Glasgow proceedings, which have the potential to dramatically impact strategies, plans and programs of many organizations.
When corporate managers talk about their company’s ESG and sustainability efforts it is most often now in the context of “our corporate sustainability journey.” The hallmarks of this journey are continuous improvement in the enterprise’s ESG performance indicators and ever-increasing and more robust disclosure to inform investors and other stakeholders.
The European Union is a collaborative effort of 27 sovereign nations on the continent organized to marshal the resources and collective capabilities of these member states to address economic, military, trade, travel, and other important issues. The EU grew out of early post-WWII efforts to create a “common market” on the continent and to encourage closer peacetime relations among the disparate nations and cultures of western Europe.
Superstorms with drenching downpours. Wildfires consuming vast stretches of western-lands forest. Hurricanes coming ashore with devasting effects, during and after the storm. Once-in-a-hundred-year weather occurrences happening last year and the year before and…
If your company has not yet started your sustainability journey, then here in August 2021 the stakes are getting higher for your Board of Directors and C-suite. Even if your company has already made good progress on ESG and sustainability, the stakes for your company are rising as peers that have already invested time, money and resources in their sustainability journey are steadily upping their game and striving for leadership.
For many years, the European Union moved ahead of the U.S.in developing laws and regulations to address the challenges of climate change and the expansion of corporate programs and related reporting for ESG issues.
In the U.S., the major regulatory bodies such as the Securities & Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve banks, the Treasury Department, and other cabinet level and independent agencies avoided mandating disclosure rules for publicly-traded corporations for many social (S) and environmental (E) issues.
Remember those 1970s /early ‘80s ubiquitous TV commercials with the tag line, “When EF Hutton Speaks, People Listen?” The point was that when the EF Hutton financial services firm “said” something about investing possibilities, we would be wise to sit up and listen carefully to the advice. These days we are tuning in to the Securities & Exchange Commission to discern the future directions of corporate sustainability / ESG disclosure. To us it is clear: the broadening flow of comments indicates something is about to happen regarding corporate ESG disclosure.
The required financial reporting by publicly-traded companies is assured by third parties. The SEC rules require public companies to have an annual audit; audited financial statements have an opinion included from the auditing firms. Objective: determining if the statement presents information fairly and in line with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).
What are the steadily rising investor expectations for the corporate sectors’ climate change actions and expanded disclosures? We can examine the expectations of leading asset owners/fiduciaries and their asset managers to understand their views on the ESG / sustainability disclosure practices of issuers they provide capital to. This includes keeping close watch on individual institutions and especially the collaborations of investment organizations they participate in.