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SEC to Move ‘Promptly’ on ESG Rulemaking in 2021, Official Says

April 30, 2021, 4:55 PM

The SEC is poised to progress “promptly” on plans to require new corporate disclosures on climate change and other environmental, social, and governance issues in the coming months, a senior agency official said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission won’t wait long to act after the June 13 end of a public comment period on potential ESG regulations, John Coates, acting director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, said Friday.

The agency is soliciting feedback on a range of topics, including possible corporate disclosures on greenhouse gas emissions and risks from climate change, as well as the possibility of an ESG standard setter. The SEC has received a few dozen comments so far and likely will get many more.

SEC action on ESG is “overdue,” Coates said at a New York University conference.

“Nobody else is waiting,” he said. “The rest of the world is moving forward pretty rapidly.”

The SEC first prioritized ESG under the helm of Democratic Commissioner Allison Lee, who served as the agency’s acting chair earlier this year. Gary Gensler, who became SEC chairman this month, has made clear he’ll continue Lee’s efforts, Coates said.

“It’s great to have him on board,” Coates said. “I think his energy and experience are evidenced every time anybody ever talks to him.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Ramonas in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Laura D. Francis at