California Lawyers Association

ESG-in-Law Series Discusses Impact Investments and Climate Disclosure Rules

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June 2024

By Patrick Miller 


California Lawyers Association’s Environmental, Social and Governance Interest Group released two new episodes of our ESG-in-Law video series. The episodes featured discussions with Karyn Polak and Kristina Wyatt. They cover issues related to the new SEC Climate Disclosure rules and California Climate Disclosure laws, as well as the importance of making impact investments accessible to non-accredited retail investors. 

You can find these conversations at the Youtube Playlist link for the ESG Committee.  

Patrick Miller spoke with Karyn Polak on the power of local and values-aligned investment, obstacles to impact investment posed by the current SEC regulatory regime, and how hyperlocal knowledge matched with rigorous financial due diligence can help make impact investment accessible to non-accredited investors.

Karyn Polak is the Founder of Shift the Prism. Karyn has spent her career at the intersection of values-aligned impact and financial services, working within large law firms and financial institutions – having spent a combined 15 years as in-house counsel for Citigroup and PNC – and most recently under her own umbrella (Shift the Prism Advisory) to mobilize capital for the greater good. Shift the Prism is a social and economic advisory group supporting changes in mindsets, systems, and approaches – sparking creative engagement and collaboration from the hyperlocal to the national and international level – to advance a more prosperous, regenerative and equal economy that works for all.

Patrick Miller also spoke with Kristina Wyatt about the various climate disclosure rules around the world, including California’s SB 253/261, the SEC’s new rules, the CSRD, and the ISSB. They also discussed how these various regulations implement the reporting principles found in the TCFD and GHG Protocols. They identify the areas of similarity between the various regulations and highlight the key differences, eg the European approach to double materiality and the California and EU requirement for scope 3 disclosures. They also reflect on the future of disclosure regulation and how companies, and their lawyers, must be prepared for the new reality where understanding your impacts will be a requirement. 

Kristina Wyatt is the Deputy General Counsel and Chief Sustainability Officer at Persefoni. Before taking on this role, she was Senior Counsel on ESG and Environmental issues at the SEC as it was originally crafting its climate disclosure rules. She also spent time in private practice work on securities laws and sustainability issues. Persefoni provides a valuable tool for companies to compile their climate disclosure data, particularly information on carbon emissions. 

Patrick Miller is the Founding Attorney at Impact Advocates APC, a law firm based in Los Angeles that focuses on commercial litigation & international arbitration, as well as ESG advisory services such as implementing responsible supply chain frameworks. 

Disclaimer: The information in these recordings is provided for informational purposes only. You should consult with an attorney before you rely on this information. This information should not be seen as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. These interviews are meant to be general discussions and may not include all relevant information regarding the issues covered. 

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