On March 15, 2021, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a Public Statement requesting “public input” from “investors, registrants, and other market participants on climate change disclosure.”
SEC’s Ongoing Evaluation of Climate Change Disclosure
According to the Public Statement, SEC’s 2010 Climate Change Guidance indicated “information about climate change related risks and opportunities might be required in a registrant’s disclosures related to its description of its business, legal proceedings, risk factors, and management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations.”
SEC is now evaluating its disclosure rules “with an eye toward facilitating the disclosure of consistent, comparable, and reliable information on climate change.” To that end, the Public Statement provides fifteen sets of questions SEC will consider for its evaluation and which may assist commenters in formulating their input.
SEC Action May Affect Those Not Directly Regulated
SEC’s climate change disclosure regulations and guidance may have ramifications beyond those directly subject to them. Management of private companies, fiduciaries, and governmental officials may have climate change disclosure responsibilities due to their formation documents or common law; SEC’s requirements may establish a standard for disclosure even for those not directly regulated.
SEC will accept public input for 90 days from the issuance of the Public Statement. To read the Public Statement, which includes directions for submitting comments, https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/lee-climate-change-disclosures