SEC Continues to Make ESG a Main Priority

The regulator has added a new page to its website to provide up-to-date ESG-related information and agency action.

The new leadership at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to make environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing one of its top priorities. And now, the commission has launched a new webpage to provide information on ESG-related investing and agency actions.

The SEC said the creation of the webpage was part of an agency-wide approach in response to soaring investor demand for ESG information.

“Our all-of-SEC approach looks at how climate and ESG intersect with our broader regulatory framework to get investors the information they need to plan for their financial future,” Allison Herren Lee, the SEC’s acting chair, said in a statement.  

The webpage is the latest of several ESG-related moves the SEC has made so far this year. In early March, when the SEC released its 2021 examination priorities, climate- and ESG-related risks were at the top of the list. The regulator said its Division of Examinations will shift the focus of reviewing firms’ business continuity and disaster recovery plans to determine whether those plans “are accounting for the growing physical and other relevant risks associated with climate change.”

The SEC “is enhancing its focus on climate and ESG-related risks by examining proxy voting policies and practices to ensure voting aligns with investors’ best interests,” Herren Lee said at the time. “Through these and other efforts, we are integrating climate and ESG considerations into the agency’s broader regulatory framework.”

Also in March, the regulator launched a climate and ESG task force within its Division of Enforcement. The task force will coordinate the use of division resources to mine and assess information in order to identify potential violations, in addition to creating initiatives to identify ESG-related misconduct. The task force will focus on identifying material gaps or misstatements in issuers’ disclosure of climate risks under existing rules. It will also analyze disclosure and compliance issues relating to investment advisers’ and funds’ ESG strategies.

And most recently, the regulator called on the investment community to provide input regarding the adequacy and effectiveness of the SEC’s climate change disclosure rules. The SEC is asking its staff to evaluate disclosure rules with an eye on facilitating the disclosure of “consistent, comparable, and reliable information on climate change.”

Related Stories:

SEC Seeks Climate Change Disclosure Input

Climate Risk Among SEC’s 2021 Compliance Priorities

SEC Launches Climate, ESG Enforcement Task Force

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