US Chamber Demands Good Governance, But Doesn't Support Environmental Reforms

In an effort to outline the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act, the US Chamber of Commerce on March 2 hosted a day-long event calling for corporate governance standards that will aid in promoting investment and economic growth in the US. 

‘With Dodd-Frank acting as an accelerator, we need to find out what is working, what isn’t, and if we are headed down the right path,’ says Tom Quaadman, vice president of the US Chamber’s centre for capital markets. ‘Our economy and job creators need clear rules of the road to grow and prosper.’ 

The call for improved governance standards is one of many initiatives the world’s largest business federation is spearheading prior to hosting the 5th annual Capital Markets Summit on March 30. 

The March 2 event featured a discussion with Elisse Walter, commissioner of the SEC, and Harvey Pitt, the SEC’s chairman. Both provided information regarding current and future corporate governance mandates and the federal watchdog’s role in this arena. Topics on governance reform– such as whistleblower provisions, proxy advisory firms and individual investor issues– were also addressed. 

‘Businesses and the investors who provide them with capital want to know that the rules will be fair, sensible and create a level playing field,’ adds Quaadman. 

The US Chamber’s call for strong governance standards is less controversial than– and is seemingly at odds with– the organisation’s position on environmental reforms. The US Chamber believes the implementation of greenhouse gas emission rules should be left to Congress, and in March 2010 the organisation attempted to have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reverse its findings that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health. When the EPA refused the US Chamber’s petition, the US Chamber then sued the EPA.

Because of these actions, corporations such as Apple, Exelon and PG&E are cutting ties with US Chamber. 

‘It’s not right for our shareholders’ money to support efforts that perpetuate environmental harm,’ says NYC comptroller John Liu, who has called upon Siemens AG, Europe’s largest engineering company, to sever its relations with the US Chamber.  ‘Siemens is known for green innovation, but it’s supporting a group that bends over backwards to stand in the way of environmental protection.’

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