In an article titled “The Next Generation of ESG Disclosure Consumers,” published in the March/April 2021 issue of Corporate Counsel Business Journal, McGuireWoods partners Katherine DeLuca, Aaron Flynn and Allison Wood discussed the growing demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures and how disclosure requirements could change in the Biden administration.
The trio covered a range of topics related to ESG disclosures, including the change in reporting practices due to the growing demand for ESG disclosure; how to maintain a balance between disclosing information and minimizing risk; whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under Biden will require more rigorous reporting; regulatory developments that could trigger changes in disclosure requirements; and the effect of market demands and regulatory requirements on ESG disclosures.
DeLuca said, “It’s going to be interesting to see how much of this will be driven by rulemaking or if the SEC will instead use the comment letter process and issue guidance indicating that issuers should be including more ESG disclosure in their filings.”
“We have this ‘whole-of-government’ approach to climate and environmental issues coming our way, which means a lot of companies that have not had to deal with substantial regulations from EPA, that don’t know what it’s like to be targeted by some of these environmental rules, are going to experience this for maybe the first time,” Flynn noted.
Added Wood: “You’ve seen a lot of large institutional investors requiring companies to produce more ESG information. You see where large institutional investors are forcing boards of directors to have more people on the board with more of an ESG focus.”