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Businesses Are Increasingly Disclosing Information on Climate Change Risks to Shareholders

  • A majority of public companies have ramped up their disclosures on climate change issues following 2010 guidance from the SEC, according to a recent survey
  • Nearly nine in 10 respondents favor scaling disclosure requirements based on company size and type
  • Respondents also raised issues with disclosure frameworks

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

A majority of public companies are disclosing more information on climate change and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues following Securities and Exchange Commission guidance issued in 2010, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness.

The survey of 436 companies found that 59 percent of these businesses are following this practice. Sixty-three percent are communicating with shareholders on the evolving risk of climate change, although less than half (46 percent) have offered more detailed climate change reporting in response to shareholder input.

  • 89 percent of companies supported scaling disclosure based on the business size or type of registrant, while 74 percent supported phasing in any new disclosure requirements for public companies
  • 61 percent considered ESG disclosures to be subjective and difficult for regulators to interpret
  • Half of all respondents were dissatisfied with the frameworks provided by third-party ESG standard setters, saying they were difficult to understand, addressed immaterial information, or lacked transparency
  • 84 percent said they supported a flexible approach to disclosure and that new SEC rules on ESG disclosure should reflect differences between industries

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