On March 21, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a highly-anticipated Proposed Rule that proposes to require public companies to disclose climate-related risks in their registration statements and annual reports filed with the SEC. The Proposed Rule, titled The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors, will mark a watershed moment for ESG transparency and corporate compliance if finalized.
Continue Reading The SEC Proposes Mandatory Climate-Related Disclosures

Greenwashing is under increased scrutiny at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  Greenwashing is clearly damaging to consumers and investors as it imbues purchasing decisions with disinformation.  It “harms innovation, since it makes it more difficult for legitimate, environmentally friendly products to compete with sellers who engage in deception.”[1]As investors and consumers become increasingly sophisticated in environmental issues, it is easier for them to detect greenwash and discount companies that make misleading environmental claims, thereby undermining that company’s public integrity.[2]

In light of increasing investor interest and reliance on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) related disclosures the SEC is pursuing multiple ESG efforts.  For example, the SEC created the Climate and ESG Task Force in its Division of Enforcement.[3]  The Climate and ESG Task Force was created to “develop initiatives to proactively identify ESG-related misconduct.”[4]  The SEC’s Division of Examinations published a Risk Alert on ESG offerings, which states that “rapid growth in [ESG] demand, increasing number of ESG products and services, and lack of standardized and precise ESG definitions present certain risks.”[5]  Additionally, the SEC invited public comments on climate change disclosures.
Continue Reading Increased Scrutiny on Greenwashing

Companies with ESG policies – including financing parties investing in renewable energy projects – should assess the impact of Texas Senate Bill 19 on their government contracting opportunities, and should expect and prepare for heightened state regulation of corporate firearm policies in the future.

Effective September 1, 2021, Texas Senate Bill 19 prohibits government entities from contracting with companies that have policies that restrict business with the firearms industry. The bill specifically targets banks and other financial institutions that have at least ten employees and are seeking government contracts of at least $100,000. Under the bill, such institutions are required to provide written verification that they do not have practices, policies, guidance, or directives that “discriminate” against a firearm entity or firearm trade association.
Continue Reading The Government Contracting and Energy Implications of Texas Senate Bill 19: Navigating State Regulation of Corporate Firearm Policies