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Abstract

This article will begin with a brief history of sustainability reporting, including recent developments related to its adoption by cities. The author will then review two major trends that, considered together, indicate sustainability reporting should be viewed as an emerging legal necessity for municipalities in the United States. First, the exemption shielding cities from the disclosure requirements of securities laws has eroded. Second, sustainability disclosures now fit the definition of what must—as a matter of materiality, if not specific mandates—be reported to investors. This means that the cities that have collectively issued over $3.67 trillion in securities2 should all be disclosing sustainability data. The author concludes that this emerging legal requirement is in the interest of all stakeholders and is pragmatic public policy.