The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, a San Francisco-based non-profit looking to standardize how companies report their social and environmental impact, saw 1,092 new users per day on its website in February, more than double the rate last year. Many of the visits came from accountants and lawyers overseeing corporate filings. (Reuters)
Talking point: The uptick in interest follows BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s annual letter to shareholders, which this year urged companies and investors to take responsibility for their contribution to climate change and mitigate their impact. Fink committed to doubling the number of ESG exchange-traded funds, and to dropping portfolio firms with more than a quarter of their revenues made from thermal coal. There had already been momentum among institutional investors in disclosing their financial risk related to climate change, but there’s still no agreed-upon set of standards for companies to follow, or means of holding them accountable for reporting. As my colleague Zane reported in January, Canada’s big banks and pension funds have promised more action on climate change in light of Fink’s letter; the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Desjardins and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan all promised to pull back from coal investments.