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SEC letter illustrates climate-change disclosures

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance SEC Climate-Related Financial Risks Disclosures

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

Recently, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance issued guidance to companies that may be required to include information concerning climate change risks and opportunities in “disclosures related to a company’s description of business, legal proceedings, risk factors, and management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations.” Such disclosures, as discussed in the SEC’s 2010 Climate Change Guidance, address the following: (i) the effect of pending or existing legislation, regulations, and international agreements related to climate change; (ii) the indirect impact of regulations or the direction of business trends; and (iii) the physical effects of climate change. An illustrative letter provided by the Division outlines “sample comments that the Division may issue to companies regarding their climate-related disclosure or the absence of such disclosure.” The Division clarified that the letter does not provide an exhaustive list of issues that companies should consider, and that any comments issued “would be appropriately tailored to the specific company and industry, and would take into consideration the disclosure that a company has provided in Commission filings.”

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