US Securities and Exchange Commission

As Chairman Clayton reaches the end of his tenure, Commissioners Lee and Crenshaw continue to push for SEC action on climate change.

By Paul A. Davies, Paul M. Dudek, Ryan J. Maierson, and Kristina S. Wyatt

Background

In recent years, the market has witnessed a sharp divide both within the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) itself and between the investor community and the SEC over the regulation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures, as discussed in this blog post. The Commission, under the direction of Chairman Jay Clayton, has declined to entertain the regulation of ESG disclosures outside of human capital issues, even upon the adoption of amendments in August 2020 to the provisions of Regulation S-K governing the companies’ business description, risk factors, and legal proceedings. Last week, the Commission adopted amendments to the provisions of Regulation S-K governing Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A) and, in line with its previous actions, declined to include any provisions related to ESG disclosures.