March 2010 – SEC Issues Interpretive Guidance on Climate Change Related Disclosures

THE FACTS

Companies may need to disclose pertinent climate change issues under existing securities laws and regulations.  Effective February 8, 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued interpretive guidance for public companies regarding existing SEC disclosure requirements as they apply to business and legal developments related to climate change. The SEC issued the guidance based on recent legal and regulatory developments, both domestic and foreign, addressing climate change matters (e.g., Mandatory GHG Reporting Rule).

This guidance will not amend current SEC rules or impose additional reporting obligations, but rather provide companies with greater clarity and consistency as to what is required to be disclosed by those companies with respect to climate change.  The interpretive release focuses on four climate change topics that may warrant disclosure:

  • Impacts of existing and pending laws and regulations relating to climate change
  • Impacts of foreign and international treaties and accords relating to climate change
  • Indirect impacts of legal, technological, political and scientific developments regarding climate change
  • Physical impacts of climate change

WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING IN RESPONSE?

  • Review your existing climate change disclosure and re-evaluate whether these disclosures fulfill your reporting obligations.
  • Follow results of the spring 2010 public roundtable that will address climate change issues, the results of which will be used to help the SEC determine whether further guidance or rulemaking regarding climate change is needed.
  • Watch for EHS Support Alerts with updates on further guidance or rulemaking regarding climate change.

We will continue to follow this topic closely to keep you updated on important changes.  For more information, contact Amy Bauer at 251-533-6949 and amy.bauer@ehs-support.comor Andrew Patz at 412-215-7703 and andy.patz@ehs-support.com

The interpretive guidance can be obtained from https://www.sec.gov/rules/interp/2010/33-9106.pdf

For more details on the guidance, listen to our podcast.

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