Investors and state officials petition SEC to require climate risk disclosureSeptember 21, 2007 at 7:06 am | Posted in Corporate Finance, Disclosures, Europe, Financial risks, Fiscal managers, Investors, Publicly traded companies, Regulators, SEC, State officials, United States | 2 Comments
(Washington – September 18, 2007) — A broad coalition of investors, state officials with regulatory and fiscal management responsibilities, and environmental groups today filed a landmark petition asking the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require publicly-traded companies to assess and fully disclose their financial risks from climate change. Also today, the coalition formally asked the Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance to immediately begin “[c]losely scrutinizing the adequacy of registrants’ climate disclosures” under existing law.
In addition to Environmental Defense and Ceres, the 22 petitioners include leading institutional investors in the U.S. and Europe managing more than $1.5 trillion in assets. The signers include the California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, Maine State Treasurer David G. Lemoine, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, North Carolina State Treasurer Richard Moore and Oregon State Treasurer Randall Edwards, as well as New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo.
The first-of-its-kind petition cites unequivocal scientific evidence, far-reaching regulatory developments and extensive business recognition that the risks and opportunities many corporations face in connection with climate change are material to shareholder investment decisions and must be disclosed under existing law.
“Smart companies know that profits and jobs come from solving problems, not ignoring them. Investors have a right to know …
More still and links to examples at Petition Seeks Better Climate Change Info for Investors ~ Group Asks SEC to Require Disclosure of Global Warming Risks
(A decade ago, I was familiar with the content provided in an Annual Report—the principal document used by most public companies to disclose corporate information to their shareholders—and with the requirements of federal securities laws for publicly traded companies to disclose information on an ongoing basis through such documents as the Form 10-K. As an author and editor, involved in the past with corporate documents such as the Form 10-K and the Annual Report to shareholders, this petition makes sense to me. However, I can see that it may require significant work to be done by some companies to better understand the climate situation as it threatens to impact their business negatively or positively. It is hard, now, to believe mention of climate change has been omitted for so long. Though, I must admit, it is easy to forgive many (not all) types of companies for not addressing this in their financial statements before this year, due to lack of hard numbers on this topic prior to IPCC TAR, and before publication of the details of AR4 caused a shift in focus and perception of the financial threat from climate change impacts.)