Mar 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

SEC inches closer to new climate disclosure regulations

The headquarters of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC.

The headquarters of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Securities and Exchange Commission is formally asking for input about how companies should disclose climate-related risks in filings with the regulators.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign the commission is moving toward the creation of requirements that go beyond efforts to breathe life into existing 2010 guidance to companies.

How it works: The document asks for information in areas like what kinds of risks can be quantified and measured; what types of emissions metrics companies should provide; whether to have different reporting standards for different industries and more.

What they're saying: Steven Rothstein of the sustainable investment advocacy group Ceres said the recent moves and comments by the SEC's acting chairwoman, Allison Herren Lee, show that the commission is taking climate more seriously.

  • "While we obviously do not speak for the SEC, their public comments and the other actions seem to be leading to some form of mandatory climate disclosure," said Rothstein, who is managing director of Ceres' Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets.

The big picture: Lee announced the solicitation in remarks yesterday on environmental, social and governance matters.

  • Speaking at an event hosted by the liberal Center for American Progress, she said the "supposed distinction" between what's "good" and what's profitable is "increasingly diminished."
  • The New York Times has more.
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