In a significant development, an investment industry leader has urged U.S. regulators to require U.S. listed companies to disclose greenhouse gas emissions data and worker demographic information, in efforts to make such details available to ordinary shareholders.
This call from Eric Pan, president of the Investment Company Institute, came in response to a request for public comment from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on how it might direct companies to report more about the environmental and social impact of their operations.
The development underscores a significant shift in the influential trade group after Pan in May urged regulators to adopt only voluntary climate disclosure rules.
When asked about the previous remarks, an spokesperson for ICI said, following discussions with members, “our views solidified around mandating certain greenhouse gas emissions and human capital data.”
Investors have sunk in funds that base investment decisions on sustainability criteria, in turn prodding big fund firms to support shareholder proposals for corporate reforms.
In a letter to the SEC, Pan said the requirements would give fund managers consistent, comparable and reliable data.
Some disclosures should be made mandatory, said Pan while calling on the SEC to require that all companies publicly disclose a form known as the EEO-1 they file to the federal government showing the race and gender breakdowns of their workforces.
In response to investor interest, the SEC plans to require disclosure of detailed climate change information and a range of workforce data, its chair Gary Gensler.