This week’s episode covers annual reports from GAO and the ASBCA, a proposed rule regarding disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related financial risk, and new requirement to refer any suspected instances of human trafficking to suspension and debarment officials, and is hosted by Peter Eyre and Yuan Zhou. Crowell & Moring’s “Fastest 5 Minutes”
In a major and largely unprecedented development for federal contractors, the White House announced on November 10, 2022 that the FAR Council will publish early next week a proposed rule that would, if finalized, require many federal contractors receiving more than $7.5 million in annual federal contracts to inventory and publicly disclose Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on an annual basis. Contractors deemed “major”—those that receive annual federal contracts in excess of $50 million—would be further required to disclose annually their Scope 3 GHG emissions and climate-related financial risk assessment process. Beyond disclosures, and perhaps more significantly, major contractors would also be required to set emission-reduction targets to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, and have those targets validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). This last element of the proposal is a notable departure—and escalation—from similar pending proposals from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which only propose to require GHG disclosures from regulated companies and funds, not substantive goals or changes.
On July 8, 2021, DoD published a request for information (RFI) soliciting the input of interested parties on sustainability initiatives and climate-related disclosures. DoD’s request asks companies to comment on their voluntary efforts in measuring and disclosing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions, Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting, and Supply Chain GHG and Risk Management, but could be a prelude to a mandatory disclosure scheme for defense contractors.
ESG and other disclosures pertaining to sustainability and climate are growing in importance for a wide range of companies, as investors, stakeholders, and customers increasingly are interested in and evaluating progress on sustainability-related disclosures and the business practices and plans underlying them. Companies are now under more pressure to demonstrate forward movement on ESG and other sustainability metrics, particularly in the areas of climate change, environmental justice, industrial chemical use, diversity and inclusion, and compliance and ethical business practices.
Over the last several years, more and more companies have voluntary published sustainability reports. However, there is an evident lack of standardization in these disclosures, and companies vary greatly in what they measure and disclose. Without a standardized ESG disclosure framework, investors, consumers, stakeholders and the government may be unable to reasonably evaluate and compare companies’ ESG practices and risks.…