Kathleen Mellody, Senior Government Affairs Officer with the Investment Company Institute, and Julia Enyart, Vice President of Sustainable and Impact Investing at Glenmede, presented on potential Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) impacts from a Biden presidency with a specific focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, climate change and shareholder rights.

President Biden is building one of the most diverse Cabinets in history as exemplified by the following sample of nominations:

  • Representative Marcia Fudge: Secretary of HUD Nominee
  • Miguel Cardona: Secretary of DOE Nominee
  • Representative Deb Haaland: Secretary of DOI Nominee

The importance of climate change has been emphasized by President Biden naming Gina McCarthy, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration to a new position that coordinates domestic climate policy amongst government agencies. McCarthy will serve as a counterpart to John Kerry, who President Biden chose as his special ambassador on climate change. President Biden also appointed Brian Deese, formerly BlackRock’s Head of Sustainability, to lead the National Economic Council.

The party that controls the White House determines the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), an independent government organization with the primary goal of protecting investors and preserving the integrity of the U.S. banking system. New highly ranked appointments at the SEC have voiced their desire for greater SEC-required ESG disclosures, and so it is likely the SEC will be more engaged on ESG matters than in the past. For instance, the SEC could require corporate issuers to disclose material ESG risks, such as quantifying and qualifying a company’s contribution and exposure to carbon pollution.

President Biden’s support of ESG issues should provide a tailwind for ESG investments.