Experts Analyze Proposed SEC Climate Disclosure Rule

SEC

Energy Workforce’s ESG Committee, led by Chair Marie Caekebeke, Baker Hughes, and Vice Chair Yvonne Fletcher, Solaris Oilfield Infrastructure, in partnership with Cornerstone, hosted a seminar on the implications of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) climate disclosure rules after the body voted to move forward on March 21.

Speakers included Jack Belcher, Principal, Cornerstone; Mike Spaniol, Assurance Director, ESG, PwC; and Dan Romito, Partner, ESG Strategy & Implementation, Pickering Energy Partners. Caekebeke opened the session, attended by more than 50 companies, emphasizing that the SEC rule is a reminder for the industry to work with its customers to provide transparency and address investor concerns.

Belcher set the stage for the discussion by reviewing scopes 1, 2, and 3 emissions for listeners – a key concept the Council’s Energy Transition Committee has also addressed. Throughout the discussion, the speakers agreed that companies should expect scopes 1 and 2 to remain in the final rule but that there was less certainty about scope 3. Additionally, Belcher reviewed the critical components of the rule and the proposed timeline for implementation. He also discussed implications for the broader energy sector, including how the proposed rule increases scrutiny and the complexity of disclosures.

Spaniol said a couple of items in the proposed rule caught his attention: the materiality of the 1% threshold by financial statement line item and having to describe any climate-related risks (including physical and transition) that are “reasonably likely.” Both items, Spaniol noted, would require a great deal of granularity when reporting, a potential burden and hurdle.

Every speaker discussed how the SEC rules align themselves very closely to the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and recommended companies familiarize themselves with the framework.

Romito also shared three recommendations with the group:

  • Start small and take baby steps
  • The collective entity and firm must understand that ESG is a perpetual consideration that impacts access to capital and is no longer a “check the box” exercise
  • To stay ahead of the curve, do not delegate your perspective just to energy or peers, and benchmark against other industries

The Council previously submitted comments when the agency requested public input on the potential rules in March 2021 and is forming a working group to address the questions in the proposed rule. If you are interested in joining the Council’s working group, please contact Director Government Affairs Maria Suarez.


Maria Suarez, Director Government Affairs, writes about industry-specific policies for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest