SEC Creates Climate Change and ESG Website to Act as Central Hub for Agency Action and Information
On March 22, 2021, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it has launched a new website to act as a central hub for all SEC action and information related to climate and environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. In response to “increased investor demand” for ESG information, the SEC has made the new ESG website available on the front page of sec.gov.
The SEC’s ESG website reflects a renewed “all-of-SEC” approach to ESG-related issues, and it currently provides information on and links to the following recent SEC actions and agency announcements (several of which we previously reported here):
The SEC’s request for public input and comment on whether the existing SEC disclosure framework provides enough information for investors to make informed investment decisions on climate change-related issues
Acting SEC Chair Allison Herren Lee’s statement informing the public that she has directed the SEC Division of Corporation Finance to focus on the adequacy of climate-related disclosure in public company filings
The SEC Division of Examinations’ announcement of its top priorities for conducting examinations in 2021, which include an increased focus on ESG issues
The SEC’s announcement of the creation of its ESG Task Force within the Division of Enforcement, which will be responsible for developing initiatives to identify ESG-related misconduct
The SEC’s investor bulletin that provides information on funds (e.g., mutual funds and Exchange-Traded Funds) that focus on ESG-related principles
The SEC has stated its intention to update its ESG website as it continues to respond to and act on ESG-related issues.
Considering the flurry of recent SEC announcements and action, public companies should take the SEC at its word that it will increase focus and action on ESG-related issues. Public companies should take the opportunity now to get ahead of this renewed push and should review, with counsel, their ESG impact, policies and procedures, and disclosures.