Kevin, they really are. Let me go back to Chris’s comments: To the extent there is a little difference or a big difference between board members, management and CFOs on this topic, obviously, they have to align their understanding. At some point, they got to come together and converge, or you just have chaos, and you can’t have that. That will happen. It may be that that already exists at many companies.
I think it’s also important to know that these ESG risks or factors or considerations can vary, and vary considerably, by industry. If we take an oil and gas company, or an airline, or a hospitality organisation, or a technology company, or a manufacturer – whatever – those are really different. Chris’s point about being involved in different companies plays into that. I also did want to mention, Chris had talked about COSO. COSO also has issued some guidance on how you consider these ESG factors within the enterprise risk management activities at a company. People listening in today may also want to go to the COSO website to get that guidance, which is free, but yes, certainly, these are really big important, impactful recent announcements.
First of all, the BlackRock letters, as we call them – and they come from more than BlackRock – they’ve been a little bit serial over the number of years, but they continue to weigh in on companies. They continue to say more and more things, and I think this year, they got a little bit prescriptive. There’s a number of portions of the letters that talk about how these investors intend to specifically vote against individual board members because of the particular committee that they chair. They’ve stated that by this year, “We’ll vote against this chair of this committee if this is not disclosed or if this progress is not made.” There’s been some teeth to that, and just take BlackRock as an example: They voted against almost 60 individual board members on various factors or not making enough progress. Everybody is taking note of that.
Certainly, the General Motors statement or announcement, be it a commitment, aspirational, a target to take this notion of not producing fossil fuel-based cars by some year – 2035 – that is really, I think, a big deal. I think it’s come where it’s been accelerated for everything we’ve just talked about, as well as perhaps in many people’s view, it’s just the right thing to do. I think all of these things are coming to a head.
Remember, we’ve got 90% of the S&P 500 doing some kind of report to our previous discussions. That’s the good news. The bad news is that reporting is all different. I think the other very new development we have to watch out for there that’s emerging is an increased or accelerated role that the SEC might play for U.S. stock exchange companies, and that’s tied to the change in the administration in the United States as well. As, hopefully, we’ve communicated, there are a lot of balls in the air – there’s a lot happening, it’s moving fast, and it really behooves every company to pull their ESG team together to watch these things and then figure out how they’re going to react and what their plans are around this type of reporting.