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Climate Risk Reporting Found Lacking

From Environmental Leader, Published 11 February 2014

The majority of financial reporting on climate change is too brief and largely superficial, and most companies are failing to meet federal requirements, Ceres says.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not adequately addressed the climate disclosure deficiencies of publicly traded corporations, according to a report, Cool Response: The SEC and Climate Change Reporting.

The report is based on a survey of more than 40,000 SEC comment letters sent to companies in the last four years and an analysis of the state of S&P 500 company reporting on climate disclosure through the end of 2013.

Over 100 institutional investors around the world representing $7.6 trillion in assets formally supported the guidance on climate risk in 2010.

The report suggests the SEC:

  • Issue more comment letters to companies with inadequate disclosure of material climate risks.
  • Focus on the adequacy of disclosures concerning recent, major regulatory developments.
  • Create a federal interagency task force focused on the business risks of climate change, and an SEC task force to focus on reviewing climate change disclosures.