The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced its plans to propose and vote on rules mandating climate-related disclosures from publicly traded companies in a meeting on March 21. The proposal was expected earlier this year and is considered a centerpiece in the Biden Administration’s climate agenda and would have broad impacts throughout the business community.
Given the composition of the commissioners — three Democrats and one Republican — it is likely the vote to advance the proposal moves forward, as a majority is required. The agency would then take public comments again before finalizing the rule. The Council previously submitted comments when the agency requested public input on the potential rules in March 2021:
“We strongly believe that metrics and disclosure should not be a government-led activity, rather it needs to be a public-private partnership to assure goals and expectations are real, achievable, predictable, and that the collected data is used to improve climate change outcomes and not simply to make a case against one form of energy or another.”Energy Workforce & Technology Council Comments to the SEC
In the event the rules are passed, the Council is hosting a session with experts from various sectors to analyze the SEC rule and its implications to the energy industry and service companies. The session, conducted in partnership with Cornerstone, would feature Mike Spaniol, Assurance Director, ESG, PwC and Leticia Neves, Sustainability Analyst, Schlumberger.
Last fall, the SEC posted a sample comment letter that regulated companies may receive from the Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance. The letter contains language that would allow the Commission to question submissions, highlight inconsistencies and request additional information concerning corporate climate change reporting. In a webinar the Council hosted in October 2021, experts from King & Spalding noted that the SEC has signaled it will begin to send out comment letters like this to seek more information around public companies’ disclosure filings.
The Council will continue to monitor the SEC’s activities on this rule and keep its membership informed. If you would like to register for the event, 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.