ESG: An immediate priority of the new Administration

ESG: An immediate priority of the new Administration

Regulatory Alert, February 2021

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The new Administration has identified two aspects of ESG, climate and racial equity, as “immediate priorities” and through executive action has prompted a review of federal agency policies both internally and directed toward supervised entities.

Appointees to cabinet level positions and department and agency leadership support and reinforce this commitment to ESG, and again, especially issues of climate and racial equity; agency leadership will be instrumental in promoting ESG within existing risk management and governance frameworks.

Many rulemakings from the previous Administration that might serve to inhibit consideration of ESG issues will be caught up in the executive actions to halt or delay “midnight regulations” or may be subject to review and possible rescission under the Congressional Review Act.

Financial services regulators are beginning to acknowledge and focus on issues related to capturing financial risks of climate change, including standardized disclosure, data availability, risk management (by supervisors and institutions), and international cooperation/coordination.

Efforts to address racial equity generally address diversity, human capital disclosure, fair access/fair treatment, community support, and continuity of operations.

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