Is there an “ESG backlash” among CFOs?
According to CNBC, executives might present a positive outlook on ESG to the public, but take a dimmer view behind the scenes: in “public, U.S. corporations say the right things about environment, social and governance factors as part of their mindset….Inside the C-suite, there is concern about the value of ESG metrics, while there is also support for recent political pushback against ESG” by some state leaders. Respondents expressed frustrations “with both regulators and asset managers when it comes to current ESG momentum. CFOs are always worried about over-regulation.”
Of course, the new climate proposal from the SEC loomed large. The survey showed that only 25% of CFOs surveyed supported the SEC’s climate disclosure proposal, while 55% were opposed and 35% were strongly opposed. CNBC did note, however, a split between technology companies that see ESG as an opportunity, and a broader group of CFOs who are “struggling to understand how the costs their companies will incur in making new disclosures will generate a return on investment—and how the disclosures will both be used by investors in stock selection and generate value for investors.”