Fountain Inn City Council has passed an emergency ordinance that establishes a state of emergency and authorizes and outlines a plan for the city to conduct its monthly city council meetings virtually. The meetings will still be accessible to the public, just via virtual means that are yet to be determined, City Administrator Shawn Bell said. City Hall has been closed to the public, but staff will remain working and can be reached at. Under terms of the emergency ordinance, City Administrator Dianna Gracely is authorized to cancel public events, revoke public assembly permits and close public facilities. The meetings are not open to the public to attend, but the public will be allowed electronic access through a means that is yet to be determined, according to community relations specialist Justin Campbell. To preserve public access and participation during a global pandemic, the city of Simpsonville will continue to live-stream City Council meetings indefinitely.
An emergency meeting on COVID-19 could come as early as next week, Kirven said. Regular meetings with business items such as rezoning requests and tax breaks for economic development are required to resume April 7. “We don’t want our inability to meet to exacerbate the problems and slow down the business of Greenville, ” Fant said. “I think it’s a wake-up call to council that we’ve got to be a little more proactive and progressive. ” Still, he said, he sees the importance of convening a meeting soon to show the public that government is up and running.
Bender said conducting meetings remotely complies with the law so long as the public has access to proceedings. As for the law governing public accessibility, longtime First Amendment attorney Jay Bender said the virus outbreak has created a challenge no one has ever dealt with. It’s the means by which the city council enacted an emergency ordinance more than a week ago to suspend normal business for 60 days. The emergency orders passed by counties and municipalities across South Carolina allow local governments to conduct pubic meetings remotely, so long as the public can see or listen. By proposing a common set of metrics, IBC hopes to target the current inconsistency in measuring and disclosing ESG data. The variation in standards and methodologies as well as the lack of a need to adhere to a specific measurement and disclosure framework over a given time period makes comparison of progress difficult, thereby affecting progress on SDGs. Schwab remarked on the need to effectively communicate sustainability efforts to youth, especially with the rise of social awareness and activism.
Public safety operations will continue as normal, and the Public Works Department will continue to pick up trash. Bell is also authorized to cancel public events and close public facilities.
With millennials and Gen-Z accounting for 37 percent and 21 percent of the workforce, respectively, Schwab emphasized the need for companies to gain the trust of young stakeholders, especially as they will be the ones demanding accountability from corporations. He also added that with governments all over the world rescuing companies affected by the COVID-19 crisis with taxpayer money, societal stakeholders are curious to see how companies will give back to the communities they serve and so often take more from. ESG disclosure data’s potential to revamp corporate strategy to expand the scope of achieving SDGs effectively can serve the societal stakeholders.
In light of the COVID-19 crisis and its exacerbation of socioeconomic inequities, the discussion highlighted the need to align capital growth with an accelerated implementation of United Nations-formulated Sustainable Development Goals by developing and implementing an ESG matrix. With economies around the world grinding to a halt due to COVID-19 and its impact on the oil and gas industry, chief executives are reckoning in public with the challenge to reset their missions and steer their corporations towards minimizing carbon emissions. While corporate leaders previously have been vocal about, if not committed to, implementing emission reduction strategies, one CEO has led the way and is asking the same of his peers. Information shown is subject to change at any time and without notice.
IBC members, Di Sibio said, will discuss ways of adopting these metrics in August and the member CEOs will sign the updated Davos Manifesto in January. This will signify their commitment to adopting the ESG disclosure methodology and serve as a demonstration of their ability to create longterm value for all stakeholders. Moynihan also added that with companies resolving to disclose ESG data, regulators such as SEC also will jump onto the bandwagon, further aiding the standardization of ESG disclosure and leading to more widespread adoption.
Council Chairman Butch Kirven said he wants to make sure the technology is in place to allow full public participation and media access before the group tries to come together again. With 12 members, one of whom is more than 90 years old, the ability to use technology varies widely, he said. The motion to suspend public comment for the duration of the state of emergency passed 11-1. The problem with the amended motion, board member Lisa Wells said, is the logistics of censoring comments to be appropriate and ensuring they come from actual people. Board member Roy Chamlee proposed an amended policy that would have allowed members of the public to email comments to be read on the record, but the motion failed to pass in a 2-10 vote. At a meeting Tuesday night, board members sat six feet away from each other while others telephoned in. In the city of Greenville, the strategy is to “minimize meetings to maximize opportunity for public input, ” city spokesperson Beth Brotherton said.