Enough Pie for Everyone?

A Nod to Apex in WSJ’s Recent Piece on Climate Data Verification Providers

When the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its proposed rule to enhance and standardize climate-related disclosures for investors in March 2022, Apex Companies was both excited, and ready to offer comments to support our position as a leading provider of ESG verification and assurance services. As a firm whose mission is to help shape a safe, sustainable, and equitable future for our communities, colleagues, and clients, we are in full support with this added transparency and appreciate how quality data will help investors make better financial decisions. When it comes to who can and should verify this data however, we think there is enough work to go around for both the “Big Four” in accounting, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Ernst & Young (EY), and for consulting firms like Apex and our peers.

In his recent CFO Journal article, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter Mark Maurer examines the perceived conflict between consulting firms and traditional financial accounting firms as it relates to the verification of sustainability and ESG data. The financial firms have claimed that non-accounting firms are not sufficiently qualified, while firms like Apex maintain that a consultant’s scientific background, combined with relevant skills, training, and technical expertise provide the requisite qualifications to provide these services.

We hope that the SEC agrees. Since the initial 30-day public comment period was extended from May 20, 2022, to June 17, 2022, over 10,000 letters have been received. We took a quick look at some other recently proposed SEC guidance, and saw comments in the hundreds, not thousands; clearly there are many parties who have stake in this topic.

Until the bakers are done deciding what goes into the pie, and who gets a slice, we will continue to advocate that publicly-traded organizations deserve a choice, and that there is enough pie to go around.

Apex Associated Press (Apex AP) represents contributions from various authors within the Apex professional community.