Climate Change > Speaking Sustainability
08 Nov '21

On November 3, 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a Staff Legal Bulletin (SLB 14L) limiting the ability of public companies to exclude from proxy statements shareholder proposals that relate to significant social issues and providing clarification regarding certain procedural requirements applicable to shareholder proposals. SLB 14L rescinds prior SLBs 14I, 14J and 14K and is expected to ease the path for shareholder proposals, notably those related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters, to make it into the proxy statement.

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08 Nov '21

On Thursday, November 4, proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) launched an open comment period on 16 proposed policy changes. The request for comment grouped the proposed changes within five general topics: (i) Board Diversity; (ii) Board Accountability – Unequal Voting Rights; (iii) Board and Other Governance Structure Elections; (iv) Climate; and (v) Compensation. Focusing primarily on the impact to the U.S. benchmarks, these general topics are summarized below; however, this blog post focuses on ISS’s updates regarding climate issues.

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08 Oct '21

Akin Gump was pleased to recently host its inaugural global virtual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Summit. ESG leaders and Akin Gump lawyers and advisors shared their perspectives on a wide range of topics at the forefront of ESG—including key developments and risk factors for investors, companies and stakeholders both in the United States and internationally.

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22 Jun '21

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill backed by President Biden supporting the Corporate Governance Improvement and Investor Protection Act (the “Act”), H.R. 1187. The Act supports the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) efforts to require every public company to disclose climate-specific metrics in public financial statements. Currently, companies must only disclose climate risks in securities filings if they deem such risks “material” according to the SEC’s 2010 guidance.1 In an effort to increase transparency and standardize comprehensive environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures, the Act provides the SEC with, among other things, discretion to amend securities laws in order to incorporate ESG disclosure standards.

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19 May '21

According to media reports, during last week’s annual Conference on Financial Market Regulation—hosted jointly by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, Lehigh University and the University of Maryland—SEC Chair Gary Gensler announced that the SEC plans to propose a rule requiring public companies to provide certain human capital disclosures. These disclosures would include, among other things, workforce metrics relating to diversity, turnover rate and a breakdown of the number of full and part-time employees.

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03 Dec '20

In an effort to encourage boardroom diversity for the 3,000 companies listed on the U.S. stock exchange, Nasdaq has proposed a new diversity rule. If approved, Rule 5605(f) would require each company to have or publicly explain why it does have at least two self-identifying diverse directors on its board.

For more information on Nasdaq’s diversity matrix and the proposed timeline, click here.

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27 Mar '20

COVID-19 is amplifying recognized ESG issues, in particular supporting the workforce, staying on top of operational safety and environmental obligations and initiatives and maintaining good governance. To learn more about ESG activities that warrant immediate attention, click here.

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