The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets held a hearing on Thursday, February 25 titled, “Climate Change and Social Responsibility: Helping Corporate Boards and Investors Make Decisions for a Sustainable World.”

During questioning, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) noted that racist policies have left communities of color “disproportionately vulnerable to the physical and health risks of climate change,” and asked hearing witness Heather McTeer Toney (representing the Environmental Defense Fund) how corporate disclosures of climate risks can help communities take action.

Prior to the hearing, Committee staff released a memorandum explaining how climate change has affected the health of Black communities and can also lead to financial instability and supply chain disruptions.

Both House Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY) questioned hearing witness James Andrus (representing California Public Employees’ Retirement System) about board diversity.

Rep. Greg Meeks recently re-introduced the Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act, and asked Mr. Andrus if C-suite diversity is as important as board level diversity.

Mr. Andrus responded that “in some cases the C-suite diversity is even more important than board level diversity.” He further explained that more diversity in the C-suite would lead to more board diversity.

Rep. Meeks’ bill requires public companies to disclose the gender, race, ethnicity and veteran status of their board of directors, nominees for the board of directors, and executive officers.

Read more on the Subcommittee’s recent hearing here.

 

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