In August 2021, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (“CCMC”) released the results from a climate change and environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) survey.1 The survey was conducted by CCMS along with Nasdaq, NareIt, The Real Estate Roundtable, National Investor Relations Institute, TechNet, and Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and was designed to learn more about current practices and the outlook for climate change and ESG reporting by public companies. Over 430 public companies participated in the survey.
Notable findings from the survey include that 59% of companies said they are disclosing more information regarding climate change since the SEC issued its 2010 guidance on climate change disclosure.2 In addition, 63% of companies reported that they are communicating with their shareholders regarding climate-related risks and 46% stated that they have increased the level of detail in climate change reporting due to shareholder feedback.
The survey also showed that half of the respondents view third-party ESG standards with some skepticism, citing frameworks that are overly-complicated, reflect immaterial factors, and lack transparency. Moreover, 47% of the respondents oppose an SEC mandate that would require third-party assurance or executive certification of climate-related disclosures.
With SEC rulemaking related to climate change and ESG issues anticipated in the near term, the survey also provided interesting insight on issuers’ expectations and preferences in this regard. The survey found that companies desire a flexible approach to ESG reporting, with requirements tailored by issuer size and type and the industry in which it operates. 89% of respondents favored scaling disclosure for companies based upon the size and/or type of registrant and 74% supported phasing in any new disclosure requirements over time.
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If you have any questions regarding the information discussed above, please contact your Investment Management Group attorney at Seward & Kissel LLP.