The rallying cry of the American Revolution – no taxation without representation – is today taken as self-evident but deserves a re-examination in light of the climate crisis and sustainable development and ESG efforts. In fact, it could be argued that the whole field of sustainability is an example of taxation without representation.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is poised to release its highly anticipated climate-related disclosure rules for public US companies – a ruling that has been in the making for over a year.
Originally published in March 2022, the SEC proposed that all publicly listed US companies be mandated to report their climate data in alignment with reporting recommendations from the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
When the proposal was then opened for public comment, the SEC received over 3,400 letters, significantly more than it customarily does when seeking public input.
While the SEC ruling applies to public companies, given the current global regulatory environment, along with calls for greater scrutiny of ESG claims within the private equity industry, it is only a matter of time before similar climate considerations be asked of private funds. Moreover, although the proposal will almost certainly face some measure of legal challenges, this will likely not deter 98% of companies from implementing climate reporting, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of 300 senior executives at US public companies with at least $500 million in revenues
When it comes to ESG & Impact Investing, credit unions are well-positioned to use both to differentiate themselves from other financial institutions. By providing innovative product opportunities for existing members and attracting new members that are seeking to integrate social considerations in investment decisions, credit unions can easily strengthen the link to their mission & spearhead the mainstreaming of Impact Investing and, to a larger extent, ESG.
Carbon offsets are a controversial market – albeit one predicted to exceed $50 billion by 2030. On the one hand, they provide funding to environmental projects, anywhere in the world, that may not secure it otherwise. They also offer an avenue for businesses that aren’t in a position to reduce emissions as speedily as they’d like. On the other hand, carbon offsets are tricky to accurately calculate, poorly regulated, and run the danger of being treated as a substitute for genuine ESG and low carbon policies.
The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) announced recently that it would mandate the reporting of Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – or emissions resulting from a company’s supply chain – as part of its ESG disclosure standards currently under development. Given how tricky such emissions can be to assess, the move signals the criticality of carbon footprint reporting to both investors and regulators. The ruling was unanimous.
Signing the 730-page Inflation Reduction Act into law last month was by no means inevitable.
The bill passed muster in the United States Senate only by the slimmest of margins, itself a pared down version of what was originally envisioned as a $2 trillion dollar climate spending law. Nevertheless, the US climate bill, as it is colloquially known (about 85% of it focuses on climate), has been heralded as a genuine gamechanger, described as both “sweeping” and “historic” in most media commentary.
The United Kingdom now mandates TCFD-aligned reporting requirements for the private sector. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed requiring publicly traded US companies
In March 2022, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed that all publicly listed US companies be mandated to report their climate data in alignment with Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations.
Investor demand for meaningful ESG policies and genuine transparency is undeniable. Coupled with oncoming regulation, it is a demand the private equity industry must satisfy in order to flourish in a new economy that expects socially responsible businesses.
In February of this year, private equity multinational The Carlyle Group publicly committed to hitting net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 across its entire portfolio. The commitment makes much sense; private equity and venture capital firms are ideally suited to lead the charge towards net zero. Unlike their public market asset management peers, they are more directly involved in their portfolio companies, often holding board seats, and therefore able to influence ESG strategy. Because their role is to help their companies grow, we believe it is imperative for private capital firms to build carbon accounting into the DNA of their investments.