A: Dear Patrick, Thanks for your question. I enjoyed do the lecture. I agree that there is a risk that corporations and other entities who espouse CSR and goals such as ESG do not always follow through with those goals. The SEC has the ability to sanction faithless promises as untrue representations or – in extreme cases – as promissory fraud or fraud on the market. I have not checked this point in several years, but in some of my research I discovered that SEC could sanction companies for failures to disclose environmental liabilities on SEC reporting requirements. At that time, SEC had imposed no sanctions. My sense is that enforcing promises made in corporate statements could have a real impact. This makes me hope that SEC investigations will follow in the line of court cases such as NY case against Chevron. The factual issues like causation are difficult but some suits, such as Juliana have developed strong information in discovery. I hope you will follow the cases – especially Juliana - and watch to see what the Biden Administration does in terms of potential settlements. Thanks, IR
Evans, Thanks for focusing on your future responsibilities as lawyer! I agree with you that lawyers need to realize that protecting the environment is “not something that you can waive like a proceeding.” I am hopeful that the next generation of lawyers will take the duty seriously – as seriously as if our lives depend on it. I am going to try to paste in a link to an article I wrote with two other lawyers for the latest Environmental Forum. Please click on the cover and it should open up to the article.
Pasting the link here did not work, so i will try to email it to Steve. All best, IR