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CDSB welcomes SEC move to focus on climate-related disclosure in public company filings

CDSB welcomes Acting Chair Allison Lee's announcement that she is directing the SEC to enhance its focus on climate-related disclosure in public company filings and revise its existing guidance on climate-related disclosure. CDSB stands ready to support the SEC and the US market in improving climate-related disclosures in their mainstream filings.

SEC Acting Chair Allison Lee has today announced that she is directing the Division of Corporation Finance to enhance its focus on climate-related disclosure in public company filings, based on interpretive guidance issued in 2010, which provided guidance to public companies regarding existing disclosure requirements as they apply to climate change matters.

To date, the guidance has not been applied widely, as evidenced by Ceres' landmark review of corporate mainstream filings of the S&P 500 from 2010 to 2013, titled "Cool Response".

As part of its enhanced focus in this area, the staff will review:

  • The extent to which public companies address the topics identified in the 2010 guidance;
  • Assess compliance with disclosure obligations under the federal securities laws, engage with public companies on these issues; and
  • Absorb critical lessons on how the market is currently managing climate-related risks.

SEC staff will use insights from this work to begin updating the 2010 guidance to take into account developments in the last decade.

CDSB, founded in to address the lack of climate-related disclosures in mainstream filings, has over a decade of experience working with businesses in the United States, as well as those globally with listings on the NYSE or NASDAQ. CDSB Policy & External Affairs Director Michael Zimonyi said: "The SEC's interpretive guidance in 2010 was well ahead of its time, stating that climate risk can have material financial implications just like any other risk and therefore it should be disclosed. We are delighted to read Acting Chair Lee's remarks, which mark a new era of resilient, sustainable markets in the United States. We are ideally placed and stand ready to support both businesses working to implement the SEC's interpretive guidance, as well as the SEC in its work to update its interpretive guidance."

Read the full statement here.