SEC Chair Joins Ceres in Calling on Investors, Companies and the Public to Participate in Climate Disclosure Rule-making Process

Apr 12, 2022 5:45 PM ET
Press Release

April 12, 2022 /3BL Media/ - U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler joined Ceres today in a live virtual meeting with investors and companies and other sustainability advocates to discuss the SEC’s new proposed rule, Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors. In his comments, Chair Gensler urged investors, companies and the public to make their voices heard in shaping the final rule.

“Today, investors representing trillions of dollars of assets under management are seeking consistent, comparable climate information,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “We will consider all comments in determining whether and how to adjust the proposed rule as we move forward. We want to hear from both issuers and investors—of all sizes—and from all corners of the US. We look forward to your comments.”

Today’s webinar comes weeks after the SEC put forth a proposed rule which would require climate disclosures from all public companies registered in the U.S. Climate is a systemic financial risk that applies to all companies. For years, investors have been calling for more comprehensive information from corporations that would help investors make more insightful investment decisions. The proposed rule from the SEC is in response to that investor demand.

A broad base of investors and some companies support standardized reporting because it ensures financial markets can properly price and act on the physical and transitional risks and opportunities of climate change. Ceres, along with investors around the U.S. and the world with tens of trillions of dollars in assets, has been advocating for standardized, mandatory corporate climate disclosure for decades. In 2010, the SEC issued interpretive guidance in response to a petition filed by investors in the Ceres Investor Network. In 2020, the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets released a report, Addressing Climate as a Systemic Risk: A call to action for U.S. financial regulators, outlining the systemic risks of climate change and calling on the SEC to mandate climate risk disclosure, among some 50 other regulatory action steps for federal financial regulators.

And, in 2021, in a statement organized by the founding partners of the Investor Agenda, 733 investors with $52 trillion in assets issued the strongest-ever investor call for governments to implement mandatory climate disclosure requirements, writing that: “as owners of (or those representing owners of) companies, we need access to adequate information on how these companies are assessing and managing the risks and opportunities presented by climate change. Government policy has a critical role to play in increasing our access to and affirmative disclosure of such information.”

“Climate risk is no longer a future issue. The financial risks facing companies and their shareholders from climate risk exist today. They are here and costing billions of dollars in damages from floods, wildfires, droughts,” said Ceres President and CEO Mindy Lubber. “The SEC’s proposed rule is a crucial step in identifying those risks. We ask you to participate in the rule-making process and help make the final rule, the most robust rule possible.”

Rev. Kirsten Spalding, Senior Program Director of the Investor Network at Ceres also moderated a discussion between Joseph Amato, Chief Information Officer, Neuberger Berman; Anne Simpson, Global Head of Sustainability, Franklin Templeton; Cynthia Curtis, Senior Vice President of Sustainability, JLL; Joe Allanson, Finance Executive Vice President of ESG, Salesforce and Renee Jones, SEC Director of the Division of Corporate Finance.

The comment period for the SEC’s proposed rule goes until May 20, 2022.

About Ceres

Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. The Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets is a center within Ceres that aims to transform the practices and policies that govern capital markets in order to reduce the worst financial impacts of the climate crisis. It spurs action on climate change as a systemic financial risk—driving the large-scale behavior and systems change needed to achieve a net zero emissions economy. For more information, visit ceres.org and ceres.org/accelerator and follow @CeresNews.

Media Contact: Reginald Zimmerman, rzimmerman@ceres.org, 617-247-0700 ext. 136