Investors Call On SEC to Enforce Climate Change Disclosures

by | Jun 16, 2009

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climatechangebyindThe investor community is making another attempt to push the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to improve disclosure of climate change risks. Members of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) and other leading global investors sent a letter to the SEC this week requesting that the Commission address the lack of corporate disclosure of climate change and other material environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks in securities filings.

Specifically, the investors are requesting that the SEC issue formal guidance on material climate-related risks that companies should disclose and enforce existing disclosure requirements for climate change and other risks such as water scarcity and labor practices. They also want the SEC to  recognize shareholders’ right to submit resolutions related to climate change and material environmental, social and governance issues as well as require the disclosure of these risks using the Global Reporting Initiative as a framework.

The letter’s 41 signatories include some of the nation’s largest public pension funds, state treasurers, controllers and comptrollers, asset managers, foundations and other institutional investors with approximately $1.4 trillion in assets under management.

The letter was sent to SEC chairman Mary Schapiro, commissioner Luis Aguilar, commissioner Kathleen Casey, commissioner Troy Paredes, and commissioner Elisse Walter.

This letter was sent in the wake of two recent reports, conducted by Ceres, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Center for Energy and Environmental Security, which find that companies with the most at stake in responding to risks and opportunities from climate change are lacking climate-related disclosures.

“Climate change and other environmental and social issues pose bottom line risks, and investors have a right to know which businesses are best positioned to compete in the emerging low-carbon global economy,” said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk, in a statement.

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