Ceres Releases New Report: The SEC and Corporate Climate Change Reporting 2010-2013
February 10, 2014 / / BOSTON, MA: Ceres released a new report on Securities & Exchange Commission actions to improve corporate disclosure of material climate risks and opportunities, finding that the SEC has not prioritized this issue. The report, Cool Response: The SEC and Corporate Climate Change Reporting, surveyed SEC comment letters sent to companies since 2010, when the SEC recognized the financial impacts of climate change by issuing Interpretive Guidance on climate disclosure. It found that only three comment letters related to climate change were issued in 2012 and 2013, and 49 in 2010 and 2011, following the issuance of the guidelines. In addition, the report analyzed S&P 500 climate reporting, finding that a majority of disclosure was brief and largely superficial.
“The fact that the SEC is slipping backward rather than driving progress on climate risk disclosure is troubling, especially since a large number of companies failed to say anything at all about climate change in their annual filings last year,” said Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp. “Climate risks and opportunities are greater than ever before, yet it seems the Commission is paying less attention than when formal guidance was issued. It is my hope that the Commission will once again demonstrate leadership on this critical issue.”
The report calls on the SEC to prioritize climate reporting, by issuing more comment letters to companies in key sectors facing material risks and opportunities. It also recommends that the SEC create a federal interagency working group focused on the business risk of climate change and an SEC task force to focus on reviewing climate change disclosures. Ceres will be organizing investor meetings with SEC staff and commissioners to discuss the findings.
For more information: Contact Jim Coburn at (617) 247-0700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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