Sustainable Finance Lobbying Overview: The US Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) has generally opposed sustainable finance policy in the US, engaging most actively against efforts to regulate corporate ESG disclosure, expand shareholder rights, and integrate climate risk into prudential regulation.
Top-Line Messaging on Sustainable Finance Policy: The Chamber has suggested that concerns regarding the financial system and climate-related risk are overblown, and opposed urgent action by finance to address climate-related risks. The Chamber has stated support for emissions reductions, but has not specified a level of ambition for these reductions. In a 2021 press release, the Chamber welcomed the Biden Administration’s efforts to address climate-related financial risk but urged caution in crafting new regulations.
Position on Regulated Corporate ESG Disclosure: The Chamber has strongly opposed policies to regulate corporate ESG disclosure. After the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released its proposed climate disclosure rule in March 2022, the Chamber issued a press release outlining its concerns that the proposal was too "prescriptive." In its June 2022 comments on the proposal, the Chamber argued that the SEC does not have the authority to implement the rule and suggested that it violates the First Amendment. In supplemental comments on the proposal in November 2022, the Chamber stressed the "unusually widespread concerns" about the rule coming from "every segment of the market," and suggested that the Supreme Court's ruling in West Virginia v. EPA confirms the Commission's lack of statutory authority to finalize the proposal. In a September 2022 Intercept article, a Chamber spokesperson asserted that the organization was “at the forefront of fighting” the SEC climate disclosure rule. The Chamber has also stated its opposition to the SEC’s climate disclosure efforts in blog posts, comments on the Commission’s draft Strategic Plan, and webinars.
The Chamber has opposed other efforts to regulate climate disclosure including disclosure legislation in the US House in 2021, a 2022 consultation by the Financial Stability Board, and a 2022 consultation by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council.
Position on ESG Standards/Labels: In August 2022 comments to the SEC, the Chamber opposed several aspects of the Commission’s proposed update to the Names Rule, and encouraged the Commission to withdraw the proposal in its entirety.
Position on Incorporating ESG Factors Into Investor Duties: The Chamber has engaged in opposition to policies to incorporate ESG factors into investor duties and expand shareholder rights. In 2020, the Chamber strongly supported the SEC's rollback which sought to heavily limit shareholder authority and reduce the ability for shareholders to hold companies to account on climate and other ESG issues. It also stated support for the 2020 US Department of Labor's proposed rollbacks that sought to limit fiduciaries' ESG investing and voting on ESG issues. In 2021, the Chamber outlined its opposition to the Biden Administration’s efforts to reverse these rollbacks at the SEC and Department of Labor. In 2022 comments to the Department of Labor, the Chamber asserted that the Department does not have the authority to require fiduciaries to consider climate risks in decision-making or disclose how they consider climate risks in decision-making. Also in 2022, the Chamber cautioned the SEC against adopting a proposal that would make it more difficult to exclude shareholder proposals. Additionally, the Chamber opposed a 2022 SEC proposal to mandate disclosure of ESG investment practices by certain investment advisers and investment companies.
Position on Incorporating ESG Factors Into Risk Management/Prudential Regulation: The Chamber has not supported efforts to incorporate ESG factors into risk management and prudential regulation. In 2022 comments on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s proposed principles for climate-related risk management, the Chamber emphasized its preference for market-driven solutions to climate risk and cautioned against putting an “undue emphasis” on climate-related risks in any supervision or regulation. In 2022, the Chamber opposed the Financial Stability Board’s suggestion that regulators may need to consider integrating climate risk into macroprudential regulation, and asserted that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission should not mandate climate stress testing. The Chamber also opposed the 2022 nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to the Federal Reserve, citing concerns about her position on integrating climate risk into federal regulation. Raskin subsequently withdrew from consideration for the position.
Transparency: The US Chamber has disclosed some positions on sustainable finance policies on its website, including some activities to influence these policies. It has also disclosed board membership, however it does not disclose its full membership.