Breanne Dougherty (00:03):
Welcome back to Energy Sense, an IHS Markit podcast devoted to covering topics that lie on the intersection of finance and energy markets. I'm Breanne Dougherty, and I'm here today with the always engaging, Hill Vaden. Hill, how are you doing so far this week?
Hill Vaden (00:16):
I'm doing well, Breanne, how are you?
Breanne Dougherty (00:18):
Pretty good. We've got fall weather hitting us, that's always refreshing, I find at least.
Hill Vaden (00:23):
It smells like fall in Houston, but it's still hot. You can tell that the leaves are dying, but it's still 90°.
Breanne Dougherty (00:31):
So, tell that the leaves are dying? That all sounds very [inaudible 00:00:38].
Hill Vaden (00:37):
It's better than it was [crosstalk 00:00:41].
Breanne Dougherty (00:40):
Okay. And we've got a fresh face to our podcast today. We've got Brian Matt with us, who's the head of ESG Americas here at IHS Markit. Brian, welcome. This is your first, but given the importance of your sector, I hope not your last visit here to Energy Sense.
Brian Matt (00:54):
I bet it will not be. Thanks for having me on today. I think my background sounds today will be the lawnmowers outside taking care of those leaves, plus my dog running back and forth here. You guys know how it is. This week with the kids back to hybrid schooling, that means my dog can attack all four of us in the house during important moments, instead of just me. So it'll [crosstalk 00:01:18].
Breanne Dougherty (01:18):
We welcome all visitors, Brian. It's just how we roll here on Energy Sense.
Brian Matt (01:22):
Breanne Dougherty (01:24):
We also have a return visitor today, who I think sometimes has a dog in the background as well, Roger Diwan. He heads up our financial and capital markets team and always has his finger on the pulse of all things energy, which include ESG and how it's impacting the energy space. So Roger, thanks again for joining us.
Roger DIwan (01:39):
Thank you inviting me again. So I didn't screw up too much last time?
Breanne Dougherty (01:44):
Yeah, no, we'll have you back anytime.
Roger DIwan (01:46):
Breanne Dougherty (01:48):
Okay. So what brought us here today is actually Hill and I, we wanted to have this conversation because in our news feed just the other day, it popped up that it was the 50th anniversary of Milton Friedman's seminal essay that was titled, The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Profits, that was published back in the New York Times magazine back in the day, and the essay was a piece of work that was often credited as a key influence for a generation of executives and political leaders, but I think we can venture to say that things have changed quite a bit, particularly over the last couple of years. And so first I'm going to head to you, Brian, and I want to put you on the spot. First things first, Friedman's essay, do you think it's officially outdated at this point? And then can you also give us a little bit of a brief description of what exactly ESG is and its recent rise in importance?
Brian Matt (02:36):
Outdated? You'd probably say, yes. The business round table statement from last year, 180 CEOs from public companies, a few private companies as well, getting together and stating explicitly that all companies should have a social purpose, not just the purpose of generating profits. I think that was the counterpoint to it. I think you see more and more companies heading in that direction, and much more of the investment community heading that direction. So I won't say it's dead, but it is maybe under some assault here. We'll see how things go down the road. As to the ESG topic though, obviously environmental, social governance, investing, essentially the hallmarks of a non-financial or extra-financial characteristics that might add on top of the financial values that Milton Friedman would be most focused on are now driving a lot more investment decisions of any type across all asset classes than they've been at any point in history, and that's certainly increasing in speed even as we pass through COVID.
Brian Matt (03:44):
So I'd say we're seeing a lot more interest within this space across capital and financial markets, as companies start to understand how they're evaluated by these types of portfolios, and also as the asset managers, as the portfolio managers themselves learn how to speak in those ESG or non-financial terms. Any of them can open up a textbook and know what revenue and assets mean, but some of them have to think about what does emissions mean? What does human capital mean? Some of these new terms that they maybe haven't had to work with before?
Hill Vaden (04:18):
You just flagged some of the importance to investors as well, the ESG component, and could one interpret this as further validation, perhaps that Milton Friedman's idea that because the investors are prioritizing ESG, therefore in order to maximize profitability, companies do need to prioritize ESG?
Brian Matt (04:39):
That's fair. You do have to think of this in time horizon perspective. If I'm issuing a 30 year bond today, you can be pretty sure that the impacts of climate change that we're seeing are going to have output and results that will affect our assets and might affect our revenue trajectory within the span of 30 years. It may not be the case for fundraising capital for one year, two years, three years, much shorter periods of time. But there is an impact of time horizon, and some ESG experts would say that the longterm impact, it will be felt in every way from opportunities and risks on the balance sheet, or on the income statement in the end. That's probably... I think Mr. Friedman would agree with that side of things, but he would always have a focus on making sure that shareholder capital, which of course would tend to have a shorter term impact is preserved first, sometimes other asset classes have longer expected lives.
Breanne Dougherty (05:44):
And when we think about applying ESG, I mean, naturally there's going to be some sectors or segments that are more impacted by a rise of environmental and social governance topics, energy being one of them, not surprisingly. So, I mean, Roger, can you give a little bit of perspective here as to exactly how this ESG narrative is now being integrated into the energy space, and is it a threat to the energy space, or is it just a new opportunity for evolution?
Roger DIwan (06:16):
Well, it's a threat if you're not adapting to it, and it's an opportunity for the ones who seize upon it. But from my experience on the investor side too, that topic of discussion has really changed nature in the last two years in the US, in Europe, earlier. But now we need to speak about that, especially when we're talking about financial clients who wants to hold a asset like private equity, they really need to integrate these aspects of the debate and the data into their portfolios and their investment structure they're putting together, because they're keeping the asset for a long time and how they mix. And if you're focused on infrastructure or energy, you really need to think about it doubly and triply, correct? Because you will be impacted not only on the ESG, but really on the evaluation, if that starts to be impacted, correct?
Roger DIwan (07:09):
So it's a very... I mean, it's a key topic for all the investors right now. Is it the same on the industry? Absolutely. I mean, the pressure is there. You can see it in the proxy votes. You can see it on the pressure in integrating and disclosing data on emissions, how you calculate them, what are the benchmarks, what are the standards, how do you compare? All of these things have become crucial issues. I mean, not secondary issues.
Hill Vaden (07:42):
Is the ESG prioritization, is it somewhat the next logical step in too big to fail that? It seems to me that ESG really favors the largest companies, that a small startup is going to have a hard time prioritizing ESG in a way that maybe one of these large behemoth, global corporations can prioritize social governance or the environment in way that, say an independent producer drilling holes in West Texas has a harder time prioritizing. Is this favoring the largest players?
Roger DIwan (08:17):
I'm not sure. I think if you're specialized like [inaudible 00:08:21] in certain metrics, you'll see changes is behavioral, methane flaring and things like that will have to be addressed. And they'll have to, but they're not punishing on the companies. I mean, through efficiency, you can create real advantages. The big portfolios are complicated to manage and to calculate and to match, correct? So they have the means, but it really adds to cost too. So, I don't know, I think small, and nimble can adapt as well as big and deliberate.
Brian Matt (09:00):
I might take an angle on that from the investment community side. So Roger, you're thinking there from the energy or portfolio side. When I think about the investment community, when we talk to investment managers, generally there's been a natural concentration of assets over time into the large passive players, but also consolidation of some of those active players as well. Most of the large asset managers in equity and fixed income across all asset classes have built up a good stable of knowledge, dedicated research departments, data feeds, whatever they need to review a company from a non-financial or extra-financial perspective. But again, a lot of that is data. And one thing with ESG is some of the information, the real research that you do from the ground up may not scale quite as well as financial information.
Brian Matt (09:52):
It's sometimes, the smaller, the thematic, or the positive screening type of portfolios find the best performers on ESG characteristics from a bottom-up perspective. Sometimes those actually don't have much of a scaling impact, and smaller managers can find those companies and help to outperform and also meet the goals of some of their mandates. So there's some of that, too big to fail in the investment community, but there's also a piece of it that maybe has some diseconomies of scale too.
Hill Vaden (10:25):
Breanne Dougherty (10:25):
You mentioned... Sorry, go ahead.
Hill Vaden (10:29):
[crosstalk 00:10:29] ESG pretty quickly.
Breanne Dougherty (10:31):
Go ahead, Hill. Sorry?
Hill Vaden (10:32):
Sorry. So the small players can make ESG a priority pretty quickly, even without some of the potential scale, and at least revenues of these large [inaudible 00:00:10:46]?
Brian Matt (10:45):
Yeah, think of impact portfolios. You do have the UN sustainable development goals, is one example where if you have an impact portfolio that has a goal of helping to improve any of those UNSDGs. That type of bottom-up, ground-up work can probably be done just as efficiently in a small firm as in a large firm. So that is a place where there is sort of a niche there available for smaller investors as well. From the top-down perspective, show me the best ESG performing securities across the SMP 500, yes, there's a scalability to that. BlackRock or Fidelity will probably do that at slightly lower cost than a small firm, but it does produce sort of that advantages for both large and small investors.
Breanne Dougherty (11:32):
So, Brian, you mentioned something I think is really important when we talk about ESG, and that's data, and the standardization of data, or lack of standardization of data. I'll be honest, I find it all very confusing with respect to exactly how these companies are rating their ESG performance. I think, it appears to be a relative lack of consistency across different companies and how they're doing it. What's happening in that space? I mean, to me, it seems to lend itself to greenwashing, right? That it depends on how you do the math, or we can call it creative accounting. That's where I get concerned about how we're seeing this narrative evolve. Can you give us a little bit more clarity around exactly how that works?
Brian Matt (12:15):
Oh boy, there's a few questions in that. So I guess to take, yes, there are a number of different standards here. That number of different standards is probably going to increase before it decreases. There's a group called the Corporate Reporting Dialogue that has a couple of releases out recently that is trying to have each of the major reporting framework providers sort of connect their analysis and their frameworks to each other, to try to create some interoperability. The reality is since so much of this is being driven by regulatory requirements in different regions, particularly in Europe, there's always going to be a drive on this from the regulator, not just what the investor or what other stakeholder groups want. And in fact, a lot of just individual NGOs may have for example, a human capital disclosure framework that they're interested in, and not really looking to build out a full E and S and G framework.
Brian Matt (13:12):
So yes, it is fairly complicated. I'd say over time, you have seen at least more participation by companies in that process however. SASB, sustainability accounting standards board was set up with the goal of finding what is material for each industry to disclose. And from there, included both companies and investors, as well as other stakeholder groups in trying to determine what are the right things for companies to disclose, and hopefully focus on just the material, so not having to fill out a roster of 500 or 1000 questions, but really the 15 that matter the most. So that's what I'd say on the standardization side. We're probably going to see less standardization before we see more. I think over time, the EU taxonomy, for example, around green finance, if you do business in the EU starting 2021 and 2022, you'll start to be affected by some of those new regulations around non-financial reporting.
Brian Matt (14:15):
So this may be something where the most progressive regulators will be involved. Boy, as to greenwashing, a lot of ways to take that [inaudible 00:14:26]. There is certainly some opportunities for companies to make things look the way they aren't in reality. Right now, very few US companies provide any level of audit or assurance on their ESG data the same way they would for financial data, where there's a full audit process. A lot of European companies are providing that assurance. It's not 100% yet, but it's probably approaching a majority that are doing some level of assurance having a third party review their disclosures. We may get there in the US based on demands from all the other stakeholders to have something that looks a lot more like audited financials for some of these nonfinancial values.
Breanne Dougherty (15:11):
But it's fair to say then that, if we kind of go back to energy, naturally, there might be some more challenging ways to tackle the environmental side of an ESG mandate, but in the energy industry, along the social and governance side, that could be a focus that would make it a much faster transition or rise within ESG ratings within energy companies, because they can focus on other aspects of the ESG, and not necessarily... I'm going to venture to guess that some of the environmental initiatives are going to be longer term than what you would see on social and governance. So is that fair that we're seeing some companies really focus specifically on the portions of the ESG narrative that they can affect change more quickly? Are you seeing that, Roger, in the energy companies?
Roger DIwan (15:58):
I mean, we see it in the energy companies. I mean, we're starting to see wind power on oil platform and things like that, green energy into an oil and gas project to lower the carbon footprint, yes. So we're starting to see that. Obviously the economics really matter, and the economics are getting there. So we will see a lot more of it, because now it's cost competitive. I mean, that's an area which is going to really matter how you're going to evade carbon going forward for ESG or for other score. These oil companies are going to be asked to bring in... I will agree with Matt. I think on the ESG side, the European mandate or the European regulation, it becomes pervasive just because it's there, it's first, it's enforceable, and some big standard is going to apply to anybody who wants to do anything with Europe. So it has really an extra territoriality aspect, which makes it very powerful. And I think for energy companies, it will have that impact, and American companies will be impacted by that.
Brian Matt (17:13):
When I think of the horizon for making significant changes to E or to S or to G, there's a fairly easy, and a shorter horizon, just in terms of improving your disclosure of what you do already. But we do hear a lot of companies starting to spend more time on... There's plenty of small, or mid-cap companies that are filing their first sustainability reports, really just starting to organize the information that they have in-house already, but then publish it in a way that meets what stakeholders are looking for. But beyond that, as to making real operational changes, you're right on this [inaudible 00:17:50], the governance side is hopefully the easiest to change.
Brian Matt (17:50):
If there's any charter changes that you need made, or anything else that defines your oversight function, that's hopefully something boards can act on fairly quickly and easily. Social, obviously it takes a bit more time. Diversity inclusion, for example, does not happen overnight as much as we may like it to. It is something that requires a commitment from management and from the board to improve those types of values, and improve company culture over time. And then from the environmental perspective, that can for energy companies be project-based. Some of that is something that might have a payoff of one, or two, or three year horizon, some may be much longer. So it is something that companies have to look at, and balance out the short term versus the long term.
Hill Vaden (18:33):
How about on the social? Each of these is important in its own right, [inaudible 00:18:38] and governance, that there would seem to be some natural consensus. Social, I could see the interpretation of what is socially positive differs from one state to another, one country to another, one household to another, how is there direction or people prioritizing the E and G, while social works itself out? How does one plan for that as either a regionally focused company, or more challengingly, a global company?
Brian Matt (19:06):
Well, you've got to think of your different stakeholder groups when it comes to the social aspect in particular. First and foremost, employees are an important stakeholder group for the company, but also the communities that you may operate in are important stakeholder groups. Taking in the demands for information from those groups is really the first step in that process. Usually companies will conduct a materiality assessment and communicate with representatives from each of those stakeholder groups and determine, "This is what the communities that we operate in are looking for. This is what our local regulators that support those communities are looking for from us." Then decide what to make available.
Brian Matt (19:45):
There are less specific standards for social reporting today, relative to, we have some idea of what scope on emissions looks like, we certainly have a good idea of what board diversity looks like. Those are a little bit more cut and dried. Some of the social aspects are a little bit tougher to measure. How do you put a figure, a one through 10 on company culture? That's not easy to do. But there are ways to improve that. And this is something that even just the recent SEC requirements, the SEC does now state that companies should be disclosing material human capital issues, both risks and opportunities after the announcement for the changes to Reg S-K most recently. So we will see more of these type of measurements coming forward as more companies decide what to disclose and how to disclose it.
Breanne Dougherty (20:40):
So what about when times are lean? Obviously we've had a really challenging year here in 2020, and on the weekend I was speaking with a friend, and she made an interesting observation that back in January, or I guess it was the end of last year probably, in her company, they were all given mugs and told, "We're saving the planet. Don't use water bottles. We no longer have plastic water bottles," and all these things within the office space. They were then just issued protocols for going back to the office and told there will be plastic water bottles, and don't use mugs. So obviously this is very specific health circumstances that we're in right now, but during lean times, is it just all, "Well, keep your head above water," and some of these initiatives on the ESG side might lag behind, or do we see that these ESG initiatives have really been able to continue to come to the forefront even as we grappled with these huge challenges this year?
Brian Matt (21:43):
I'll take the investor's side of that. I think the issue, aside from a company perspective, that's going to be different company to company. You certainly have some companies more exposed versus less exposed to just solvency in the first place. From the investor side, it's a pretty clear answer in that the investment community continued to, even throughout the depths of March, April, May, of the greatest concerns of COVID, continued to see massive inflows into ESG-focused portfolios, both the passive portfolios... BlackRock happened to launch a range of new ETFs focusing on ESG characteristics back in January, that just happened to be in their upwards tilt in terms of marketing as we got into COVID.
Brian Matt (22:30):
There continued to be new asset managers and asset owners requiring very specific ESG mandates from asset managers. The point is that has not slowed at all on the investment community side. In fact, it's probably increased in pace. And let's be honest, the internal view of how you treat your employees from a health and safety perspective is a risk to the company and an opportunity for the company if you're doing it well to build trust with your employees and the community, that is a social measurement, a non-financial measurement, and something that really every investor had to take into account over the last six months.
Breanne Dougherty (23:15):
Great. And, Roger, on the companies specifically, I mean, I think that we can speak... As far as I can recall, all of the transcripts I read from the earnings calls, ESG was sneaking into the majority of the earnings calls on most of the energy companies over the last couple of quarters, even while they grappled with so many of the challenges that they had going on in the market. So I guess it is, what Brian said, it's fair to say that it's remained at the forefront.
Roger DIwan (23:42):
Yeah. It's even moved further to the forefront, I think. I think this crisis has brought a lot of the issues of inequality and climate change et cetera, et cetera, social justice to the forefront. So I think on all element, ESG has become more relevant and more important for a lot of companies in this environment than it was six months, two years ago in their conscious. And I think the pressure from the investor has certainly increased.
Hill Vaden (24:13):
So how about, Roger, when we look at the energy industry, there is a mixed bag of players, including the [inaudible 00:24:22], the integrated majors that are all investor-owned, and then there's a huge population of national oil companies or government-owned enterprises. ESG has obviously grabbed the attention of investor-owned companies. Are the national oil companies with state-owned enterprises prioritizing this in the same way?
Roger DIwan (24:41):
It depends where and how. I mean, what you see with Aramco and for example, ADNOC, or the national company of Saudi Arabia, and of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, they're now openly communicating about these issues. Both of them have a stock float on the domestic market, so they need to speak that language. So, yes, it's happening in the NOC, which are globalizing. I think the one who are just purely domestic or collapsing their issues are very different, correct? So, they're cash poor, they're the cash cow of the country often, et cetera. So the set of dynamics are very different. They're impacted through their partnership with companies who have to follow that. But I think in a lot of countries, that's not going to be the priority at this stage.
Hill Vaden (25:40):
And would that, Brian, if... There's a lot of partnerships in big energy projects. If I am a company with a positive ESG score, and I partner with another company with a negative ESG score, am I going to take hits for their negative, or does that enter into the math yet?
Brian Matt (26:00):
I mean, it's possible. It depends on the structure of how you define that program or that project. I don't think we got much into it here, but that concept of transition finance or project finance based around of issuing a particular green bond or transition bond is oftentimes the structure that best fits to that, because there's so much demand for those types of securities. It does offer you some ability to borrow to meet a particular project goal that you know you can set, "This is a ramp for improvement that I'll be able to show over time," and attract a built-in investor that's looking for that type of investment.
Brian Matt (26:41):
Again, I think we've probably issued almost as much green this year in 2020, as all of 2019 previously. That's not a structure that's going to slow down anytime soon. In fact, some of the greater standardization with Europe might even push more investors to commit to investing in green. So that's one structure where if you're not sure of what the net-ESG impact of a large project would be on the combination of those companies, we have seen financing that is on a project basis specific to one project with a set of ESG characteristics, targets and goals that can generate plenty of investor interest on its own.
Breanne Dougherty (27:29):
I mean, there's no denying that Europe is ahead of the pack when it comes to driving ESG initiatives forward. I would say, and the US is definitely getting there, but it's going to be playing a little bit of catch up on that. What do you think needs to drive the ESG movement forward, specifically within North America? Do we think that to accelerate it, we're going to basically require some sort of regulatory coming from the top-down, or do we think that enough of the investors and the big guys being, for instance, BlackRock, and their stance effectively forming a bit of market-driven regulation, what do you think is required at this point?
Brian Matt (28:08):
Can take that a few directions too. So the phrase I've heard quoted a couple of times now is, "In the absence of regulatory requirements, ESG is what the 20 largest investors say it's going to be. For a company, it's what the top of your shareholder-base, it's what the top of your debt-holder base, in terms of access to debt capital starts to look like, it's what the rating agencies that service those two markets is in terms of your access to future capital." We already, in a way have that defacto through private ordering. A system already set up from, as you mentioned, names like BlackRock, and SSGA, et cetera. I think regulators want to be more involved in this market and make sure that all parties are treated fairly.
Brian Matt (28:57):
I'm sure you saw the CFTC piece from last week. I found the most interesting part of that was not the call to the SEC or to other national regulators, but to state insurance agencies, state insurance regulators who have to start thinking about the impacts of climate change on a local or on a state level. There are 50 individual states and territories, et cetera, that have to make those decisions themselves. They may become, California, or New York, or Florida could become an important leader in each of those cases, even just from a local regulatory perspective. So I don't think we'll see the organization at a supernational versus national level that we see in Europe down here, I think we're still a little bit too disjointed for that. But it's a lot you could put in from a political perspective there, but I don't see a lot of coordination-
Breanne Dougherty (29:53):
We'll save those political conversations for another podcast.
Brian Matt (29:57):
I don't see a lot of coordination between state and federal level happening here, but certainly a lot of individual decisions as opposed to Europe with the supernational being passed down to national regulators. But there's certainly going to be more attention on the topic, and a lot more stakeholders interested in it, some of them very well funded in order to lobby for change
Breanne Dougherty (30:20):
And can that market-driven interest and stance, let's say from those top 20, can it drive the initiative forward at a rapid enough pace in the US to sort of get us on the same playing field as Europe, or is it always going to be that North America is kind of lagging behind when it comes to the ESG front, or does it even matter?
Brian Matt (30:42):
We've always said from a governance perspective, the US is five to seven years behind Europe in terms of all the major initiatives. The say on pay, for example. The advisory vote on executive compensation existed in Europe well before it existed in the State. Europe may be a testing ground to see what regulations, what practices work the best, and then be able to select from there. If the European regulators make a mistake or make something that doesn't really work for the market, American regulators and companies may get a bit more of a chance to evaluate it, and maybe go in a different direction. But I don't think we'll be more progressive than Europe in pushing in this direction, but we will have to follow along because in the end, as we said from Europe before, those international regulations do touch global companies for the piece of the business they operate.
Hill Vaden (31:35):
Well, so maybe as kind of a last question with comments from both of you. I guess starting with Brian, it would seem that energy as a sector has a little bit more headwinds working against it in terms of ESG due to natural resource exploitation and some of the emissions disassociated with the job relative to other less industrial industries, but we've seen, particularly some of the oil majors in Europe, stepping forward and being particularly proactive on the environmental side of things. How does energy as a sector look compared to other sectors in terms of being proactive at the company level? And then as a potential followup for Roger, what are some things that you're seeing from energy companies and/or expect to see from energy companies to prioritize ESG when there's only so much one can really prioritize when you're extracting resources from the environment?
Brian Matt (32:37):
Maybe on the first one, the climate and environmental aspect is existential for a number of companies that if they plan to be operating in a similar way 30, 50 years out, need to be thinking about what that transition looks like, or what the company will look like over that long a period of time. The large oil [inaudible 00:33:00], BP, for example, just recently are thinking in those terms, and I think the rest of the energy industry kind of takes a lead from them. And it has to at least be aware of how they're planning for that type of longterm future. There's probably some companies that aren't able to plan for that long a future, but a name like BP does expect to be here 30 years from now the same way it was here 50 years before.
Roger DIwan (33:33):
Yeah. I think energy companies are just now facing two crisis. One, is the one generated by COVID, and the collapse in demand in oil and gas and some other energies. Then second, is this transformation that they need to do, and the transition the need to do to cleaner companies, whatever they are, they need to be cleaner than they were, and reduce emission and really think, their future strategy is how to transition to a green source of energy. I mean, it's quite a time we're living here in term of the energy business when you have to do all of these things at the same time.
Roger DIwan (34:11):
And it's now, it's not in five years, not in 10 years, not in 20 years. And you start to see these strategies being put in place. And we don't have one strategy or one framework that they're all following because we still don't know which are the winning technologies, we don't know how the regulatory environment is going to work, we don't know the capital available, the shareholder needs, et cetera, et cetera. So it's a fantastic time, and an incredible time to watch this industry and see how it needs to transform itself.
Breanne Dougherty (34:49):
Well, that's great. I think what you said there, Roger, is exactly right, that this is a rapidly evolving space and that's, one, necessary, but, two, part of the reason why it makes it such an interesting space to watch these days. And I'll say that Brian, you did not disappoint. We will absolutely have you back on Energy Sense. There's a couple things you said in there that gave me a little bit of food for thought, that might spin off into another podcast soon enough, so be careful what you wish for.
Brian Matt (35:17):
I'm glad to be here. The topic can go in so many directions. And again, we talk about how 100 years ago we built the standards for financial accounting, we're just now in the infancy of building the stages for non-financial accounting. So everything we do in this space is laying the groundwork for how we think about things, what could be 30, 50, 100 years out too. So it's a very interesting time to be thinking sustainability within energy companies or in general.
Breanne Dougherty (35:48):
And it's great, because we're all trying to climb the learning curve together, I think. At least that's how it feels to me. Although, sometimes I feel I'm definitely behind on the learning curve relative to others when it comes to the topic.
Brian Matt (36:00):
This is one everyone feels like they're behind on. I don't think anyone really has that great a grasp on it. I always go back to the Bloomberg terminal. If you had your individual sector keys across the top, your corporate key, your sovereign key, your equity key, nobody really knows how to use more than two or three of those at any point, there's no human being alive that knows the entire process. You know your section of it, and you know the right people to talk to when you need to get to those other yellow keys.
Breanne Dougherty (36:30):
There's the thing. I definitely know who to call, so I guess that puts me ahead of the game. And thanks again, Roger for joining us, as always. And you're always back with us all the time. I feel like I spend more time harassing you for conversation than I do anybody else, so we will definitely hear your voice soon enough, I'm sure.
Roger DIwan (36:49):
Thank you. I learned a lot.
Breanne Dougherty (36:51):
Hill Vaden (36:52):
Thank you both. Thank you all.