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CEOs condemn D.C. violence; Germany tackles gender diversity

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CEOs condemn D.C. violence; Germany tackles gender diversity

The ESG Insider newsletter compiles news and insights on environmental, social and governance developments driving change in business and investment decisions. Subscribe to our ESG Insider newsletter, and listen to the ESG Insider podcast on SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

CEOs from across corporate America spoke out in response to President Donald Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power and the subsequent violence in Washington, D.C., last week. The events make it clear that expectations of business leaders in times of social unrest are rapidly changing. Inaction is less of an option as the ESG movement gains traction and employees and investors increasingly hold companies accountable for their policies on social and political issues.

In this week's newsletter we also explore how social issues are coming to the fore in Europe. After years of debate in politics and business about the best way to facilitate equal opportunities, German lawmakers backed a bill mandating female representation at the board level in the largest companies. It will make Germany one of the few countries in Europe with this kind of gender mandate.

And we look at how State Street Global Advisors Inc., one of the world's largest asset managers, is renewing its call for enhanced disclosure around race in 2021. The firm is also focused on the systemic risks associated with climate change — following a year in which the U.S. experienced record-breaking extreme weather and climate change-linked disasters.

Chart of the Week

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Top Stories

In ESG era, 'hunker down, hope it will pass' no longer a viable CEO strategy

Observers say last week's riots in Washington, D.C., will accelerate the growing expectation that leaders from the private sector step in to comment publicly on things that have historically been the purview of government. "I believe that the political class has generally failed us and that business leaders are going to have to speak out at a local level as well as a national level," said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of Partnership for New York City, a group of business leaders.

'Stop favoring men': German law means big companies must appoint women to boards

Europe's largest economy passed legislation introducing a minimum quota for women on the boards of large listed companies, in a move widely praised by business diversity advocates as an important step toward gender equality.

US sector readies for transition away from pro-coal White House

While President Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress rolled out several pro-coal policies over the last few years, the sector continued to struggle and will face fresh challenges under a Joe Biden presidency and a Democrat-controlled Senate. Tackling climate change is one of Biden's top priorities and that could create headwinds for the carbon-intensive coal industry.

Environmental

Desert pipeline tests Colorado River's future

Exxon needs less talk, more action on climate change, analysts say

US hit with record number of billion-dollar extreme weather disasters in 2020

Social

Racial inequity 'a systemic risk' — State Street Global Advisors CEO

Sky forms diversity advisory council

Malaysia's CN Asia, Intcys sign MOU to set up digital bank for women

Governance

HSBC faces climate resolution from investors with $2.4 trillion under management

GM says auto sector at 'inflection point' toward zero-emission future

Investor group calls for annual vote on UK companies' climate plans

ESG Indices

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Questions or suggestions? Contact S&P Global Market Intelligence's ESG News team at ESGNews@spglobal.com.