SEC Sues Vale on Dam Disaster

The Securities and Exchange Commission is bringing charges against Brazilian mining company Vale, accusing the company of misleading investors for years about the safety of dams it built and managed in Brazil, until the Brumadinho dam collapsed in 2019 and killed 270 people in one of the worst mining disasters in history. The SEC filed…

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More ESG: Who Owns This Function?

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The Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics hosted its 2021 annual conference last week, and the agenda addressed all sorts of topics relevant to corporate compliance professionals. Everywhere you turned, however, one question seemed to worm its way into the conversation. Should the compliance function also own ESG reporting?  Some people are an emphatic “no.”…

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ESG and Supply Chain Transparency

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A report released this week demonstrates the challenges ahead as large companies try to stand up ESG programs that include their often vast supply chains, since many small suppliers are still struggling to stand up their own ESG efforts that you larger players can rely upon. The report comes from ISN, which acts as a…

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SEC Commish Talks ESG, Board Governance

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SEC commissioner Allison Herren Lee delivered a speech Monday forcefully laying out the need for corporate boards to take ESG risks and disclosures seriously, presumably as a prelude to whatever enhanced ESG disclosure rules the Securities and Exchange Commission will adopt sometime later this year.  Lee, who has spoken about ESG issues numerous times and…

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Resources to Assess ESG Materiality

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Last month I had the good fortune to host a webinar on the rising importance of corporate ESG programs. One guest mentioned that a particularly challenging issue is setting an ESG materiality standard for your business, so you’ll know what items you want to track and report.  Today, then, let’s take a deep dive into…

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The ESG Plans Keep Ramping Up

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Don’t look now, but the Biden Administration continues to position its pieces on the regulatory chessboard to advance the administration’s plans for more corporate disclosure of ESG risks. First, last Thursday the president issued an executive order on the subject, addressing climate change and how the administration might use financial regulation to further enhance climate-change…

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More SEC Talk on ESG Disclosures

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Another day, another statement from the Securities and Exchange Commission about how the agency might approach enhanced ESG disclosures. This time we have a speech from the acting head of the Division of Corporation Finance, getting a bit more specific about how an enhanced ESG disclosure regime might work in practice. The statement came from…

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