美國實踐 ESG 的價值
ESG Values in Practice - A Lesson From the United States
美國（US）是世界上最強大的經濟體。在這個國家，許多關於治理的趨勢開始並隨後傳播到世界各地的其他民主國家。因此，美國政府必須在各個層面接受 ESG 價值觀。私營公司通常需要聯邦和地方政府的推動才能朝著正確的方向前進。至於美國金融部門，市政債務市場是可持續、社會和綠色債務的重要倡導者之一。
美國 ESG 價值觀的發展
直到 2021 年，美國政府在環境、社會和治理 (ESG) 領域的活動仍在發展。必須主要通過州和城市以及投資者和公司取得進展。例如，加利福尼亞州提出了一項法案，要求上市公司在董事會中至少有一名女性。同一時期，芝加哥宣布將把可持續發展問題納入該市財政資產的管理中。
自 2021 年以來，美國政府更加尊重機構的利益，並解決了圍繞環境以及社會和企業領域的問題。拜登政府迅速開始在聯邦層面實施 ESG 價值觀。例如，拜登總統發布了一項行政命令，要求聯邦政府在所有經濟領域應對氣候污染。不久之後，該國重新加入了《巴黎協定》，以表明其對綠色未來的支持。值得注意的是，美國證券交易委員會(SEC) 還通過在執法部門成立氣候和 ESG 工作組宣布了其對可持續未來和 ESG 價值觀的承諾。參與提升 ESG 質量的其他機構是金融穩定監督委員會、財政部和聯邦儲備委員會。
與此同時，各州和各市繼續通力合作，讓 ESG 相關法規的實施盡可能順利。許多州已決定遵循 ESG 指南並加強其董事會的多元化。此外，包括加利福尼亞、紐約、伊利諾伊和其他州在內的州在其養老金制度中實施了法規，以鼓勵可持續投資。聯邦和州機構都同意在有關環境、工作安全、歧視和騷擾、勞工等問題上開展合作。
正如之前的文章所提到的，ESG 策略在各個層面都發揮著最好的作用，並且可以徹底滲透到系統中。圖 2 顯示了不同級別的實施，從地方政府到政府企業和機構，再到非營利和私營實體。它還提供了能夠接受 ESG 價值觀的各個群體的機構示例。應進一步鼓勵聯邦、州和市政府之間的合作。
對 ESG 質量特別感興趣的行業之一是債務市場。從標普全球評級 2021 年 2 月發布的報告中，我們可以了解到市政市場如何接受 ESG 價值觀。城市地區增長的最關鍵部分之一是可持續債務。該機構估計，整個 2021 年，綠色標籤債務將繼續擴大其市場份額。此外，預計交通、教育和經濟適用房行業仍將是綠色融資的主要驅動力。
美國的綠色投融資歷史悠久。馬薩諸塞州於 2013 年發行了第一隻市政綠色債券。自那時以來，據信累計發行價值超過 1000 億美元。美國的綠標債券比例穩步上升，2020 年達到 5.8%。有趣的是，排名前 10 位的發行人佔該市場發行的綠色標籤債務的 65%。然而，在未來，預計會有更多的多樣化。紐約 MTA、洛杉磯縣大都會交通管理局和紐約州電力管理局仍然位居榜首。在分析師看來，很明顯，可持續債務將繼續存在。預測表明，更多的發行人將進入市場，投資者對支持 ESG 投資目標的信息的需求將會增加。隨著時間的推移，該行業的波動性預計也會減少。
總而言之，在唐納德特朗普擔任總統期間，美國從聯邦層面對 ESG 價值觀的接受程度不夠。儘管如此，許多州和城市共同努力確保可持續增長持續下去。喬·拜登當選總統後，情況發生了變化。該國表明，可持續性可以從最高級別擴展到各州和城市。此外，各級治理可以共同努力，實現綠色未來。
The United States (US) is the most powerful economy in the world. It is the country where many trends regarding governance start and later on spread to other democracies around the world. Therefore, the US government must embrace the ESG values on all levels. The push from federal and local governments is often needed for private-owned companies to advance in the right direction. As for the American financial sector, the municipal debt market is one of the crucial advocates of sustainable, social, and green debt.
Development of ESG Values in the United States
Until 2021 the American government’s activity in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) spheres were still developing. The progress had to be made mainly through states and cities, as well as investors and corporations. For instance, California introduced a bill demanding publicly-traded companies to have at least one woman on the board. During the same period, Chicago announced that it would integrate sustainability issues into the management of the city’s treasury assets.
Since 2021 the American government has put a lot more respect towards the benefits of institutions and solving issues surrounding the environment as well as the social and corporate fields. The Biden Administration quickly initiated implementing ESG values on the federal level. For instance, President Biden issued an executive order that demanded the federal government to fight climate pollution in all sectors of the economy. Shortly after, the country rejoined the Paris Agreement to show its support toward the green future. Notably, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also announced its commitment towards the sustainable future and ESG values through creating a Climate and ESG Task Force in the Division of Enforcement. Other institutions involved in the promotion of the ESG qualities are the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve Board.
At the same time, states and cities continued to work together so the implementation of ESG-related regulations could go as smoothly as possible. Many states have decided to follow the ESG guidelines and enhance diversity on their boards. Furthermore, states including California, New York, Illinois, and others implemented regulations in their pension systems to encourage sustainable investments. Both federal and state agencies agreed to work together on issues concerning the environment, work safety, discrimination and harassment, labor, and much more.
As mentioned in previous articles, ESG strategies work best when present on all levels and can thoroughly penetrate the system. Figure 2 shows different levels of implementation, starting from local administrations to government enterprises and agencies to non-profit and private entities. It also provides examples of institutions from every group that is capable of embracing ESG values. Cooperation between federal, state, and city governments should be further encouraged.
ESG Values and the US Debt Market
One of the sectors that is particularly enthusiastic about the ESG qualities is the debt market. From the report published by S&P Global Ratings in February 2021, we can learn how the municipal market embraces the ESG values. One of the most crucial parts of the growth in urban areas is sustainable debt. The agency estimated that throughout 2021 green-labeled debt would continue expanding its market share. Moreover, it is expected for the transportation, education, and affordable housing sectors to remain the key drivers in green financing.
The United States has a long history of green financing and investment. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts issued the first municipal green bond in 2013. Since that time, the cumulative issuance is believed to exceed the worth of $100 billion. The percentage of green-labeled bonds in the US has been steadily increasing, and in 2020 it reached 5.8%. Interestingly, the top 10 issuers accounted for 65% of the green-labeled debt issued in this market. However, in the future, more diversification is expected. New York MTA, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Power Authority of the State of New York remain on the top.
In the minds of the analysts, it is clear that sustainable debt is here to stay. Projections state that more issuers will enter the market, as well as the investors’ demand for information to support ESG investing goals will increase. With time the volatility of this sector is also projected to decrease.
To summarize, during Donald Trump’s presidency, the US did not embrace the ESG values enough from the federal level. Despite that, many states and cities worked together to ensure that sustainable growth would persist. The situation changed after Joe Biden was elected to office. The country showed that sustainability could spread from the highest level to states and cities. Moreover, all levels of governance can work together to achieve a green future.
Blinken, A. J. (2021). The United States Officially Rejoins the Paris Agreement. US Department of State. https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-officially-rejoins-the-paris-agreement/
Hodgson, P. (2018). ESG Country Snapshot: US. Responsible Investor. https://www.responsible-investor.com/articles/esg-country-report-us
Poole, V., & Sullivan, K. (2021). Tectonic shifts: How ESG is changing business, moving markets, and driving regulation. Deloitte.
PRI Association. (2021). ESG Integration in Sub-Sovereign Debt: The US Municipal Bond Market. Principles for Responsible Investment. https://www.unpri.org/fixed-income/esg-integration-in-sub-sovereign-debt-the-us-municipal-bond-market/8079.article
Silk, D., & Lu, C. (2021). USA: Environmental, Social & Governance Law. The International Comparative Legal Guides. https://iclg.com/practice-areas/environmental-social-and-governance-law/usa
S&P Global Ratings. (2021). 2021 Sustainable Finance Outlook: Large Growth In Green, Social,Sustainable Labels As Municipal Market Embraces ESG. S&P Portal.
Woll, L. (2019). State and Local Governments Eye ESG Investing Strategies for Returns and Impact. PLANSPONSOR. https://www.plansponsor.com/state-local-governments-eye-esg-investing-strategies-returns-impact/
About the Author
Patryk Chojecki is a researcher and writer at Taiwan Architecture and Building Center. He is currently a graduate student at National Chengchi University in Taipei. He is passionate about all topics related to international politics, environment, and international political economy.
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