Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance

Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance informs the SEC climate risk disclosure rule

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

In their proposed rule on climate-related risk disclosure, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) referenced the Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance (YISF) 2020 White Paper Toward Enhanced Sustainability Disclosure: Identifying Obstacles to Broader and More Actionable ESG Reporting,  which was written with support from the Climate Works Foundation.

Based on a survey of executives from more than 100 public companies, the YISF White Paper deepens the understanding of corporate ESG reporting practices, challenges, and thinking about how best to track and scorecard corporate sustainability performance. By highlighting the shortcomings that plague the existing patchwork of sustainability metrics, and suggesting a pathway toward a more robust framework for gauging corporate sustainability performance, this White Paper seeks to make it easier for investors to identify corporate sustainability leaders and laggards. Considering the need for more clarity and guidance around ESG disclosure and formats, the YISF White Paper calls for the creation of a standardized ESG reporting framework with mandatory disclosure by all public companies. Assurance requirements and an initiative to harmonize disclosure requirements at international level are also proposed to help ensure the quality of data reported and a commitment to continuous improvement in the information available to investors. 

By establishing a mandatory reporting framework for climate-related risks, the SEC rule realizes a longstanding demand of YISF. It concurs with our findings that the proliferation of reporting framework has made ESG reporting more difficult, not simpler. This new proposed rule by the SEC would bring more consistency, as well as transparency, to the corporate sustainability world. However, by focusing on the disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related financial risks, the SEC’s proposed rule would only mandate transparency against a narrow set of ESG issues, despite investors’ wider demands. The YISF aims to comment on the proposed rule by May 20, 2022.

Read the SEC proposed rule here.

Check out the YISF White Paper here (an updated version of the YISF White Paper is forthcoming in the Virginia Law & Business Review).

Measurement Tools for a Regeneration Path: Introductory Keynote by Dan Esty

Monday, November 23, 2020

Center Director Dan Esty appeared as the introductory keynote speaker to the “Measurement Tools for a Regeneration Path” panel discussion, hosted by the alliance Regeneration 20|30.  Esty spoke about the importance of business performance measurement tools in the sustainability sector, and the improvements required to better measure the long-term environmental impacts of committed companies.

Watch the panel discussion here.

Center Director Dan Esty Participates in State Street's ESG Forum

Friday, December 6, 2019

Center Director Professor Dan Esty participated in State Street’s ESG Forum earlier this fall. The forum, held in Boston, brought together experts in ESG investing and explored the challenges and opportunities faced by investors in the era of climate change.

Professor Esty spoke on The Transition to a Low-Carbon World panel. Other panelists included Jay Koh, CEO of The Lightsmith Group; Bridget Realmuto LaPerla, Head of ESG Research at State Street Associates; and Nathalie Wallace, ESG Strategist at State Street Global Advisors. The panelists discussed the current state of climate investing and what new opportunities lie ahead. The highlight reel from the forum can be found here: http://www.statestreet.com/events/statestreetlive/stt-live-esg-forum-2019.html.

Sustainable Finance Monthly Seminar: Adam Zurofsky from the New York Governor's office

The last Sustainable Finance Monthly Seminar of 2018 hosted Adam Zurofsky, Deputy Secretary at the Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Sustainable Finance Monthly Seminar features leading practitioners and experts in the field of sustainable finance and investing who speak about the challenges and opportunities in the field. The event was co-hosted by the Center, the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, the Yale School of Management Energy Club, and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Energy student interest group.

#50: Diane Strauss

The Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance (YISF) is a new program in partnership with the Center for Business and the Environment. Laura Brush (FES ‘19) interviews Diane Strauss, the Program Director of YISF, to learn more about this exciting new venture, her work, and how YISF is addressing challenges to integrating sustainability concerns into financial markets and investment decisions.

A Letter from Singapore

Center Director Professor Dan Esty traveled to Singapore earlier this year to spend several weeks as a visiting lecturer at the Yale-NUS College. Esty spent the first half of the spring 2018 semester teaching, while also engaging with scholars and stakeholders at events across Singapore to explore issues related to international climate change law and policy.

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