Suspension of SEC 's Climate Disclosure Rules

16 April 2024

SEC Suspends Newly Adopted Climate Disclosure Rules

On April 4, 2024, less than one month after their adoption, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has chosen to stay its newly adopted climate disclosure rules, pending judicial review (the “Final Rules”). This decision comes amidst a flurry of legal challenges and petitions following the March 6, 2024 adoption of the Final Rules.

Key Components of Previously Adopted SEC Climate Disclosure Rules

The rules introduced by the SEC on March 6th encompassed various key aspects, such as:

  • Risk Management and Strategy: Firms must report how climate-related risks affect their business operations and financial health, including their strategies for mitigation and adaptation.
  • Governance and Oversight: Disclosures should outline the role of management and the board in managing climate-related risks.
  • Financial Impacts and Goals: Companies need to disclose the financial implications of climate risks, focusing on Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. This includes detailing the financial effects of severe weather events and how climate-related goals influence financial planning and results.

These rules were aimed at providing investors with consistent, comparable, and reliable information on how climate risks impact businesses. They represented a major step in financial disclosure, requiring detailed reporting on climate-related risks and mitigation strategies within SEC filings. This ensured that investors gained vital insights for sustainable investment decisions.

Legal Landscape: SEC’s Response to Judicial Challenges

The SEC’s order references the multiple petitions filed in court and the consolidation of these petitions in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. While the SEC maintains its view that the Final Rules are consistent with applicable law, it acknowledges the procedural complexities accompanying the consolidation and litigation of these petitions.

What Companies Need to Keep in Mind

While this development may delay the ultimate effective date of the Final Rules, companies should remain vigilant in their compliance efforts. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the effective date, ongoing compliance assessment efforts are crucial to prepare for the potential implementation of the Final Rules.

It’s essential to note that the existing disclosure guidance around climate remains in effect, and companies should continue to consider climate-related disclosures in their SEC filings and sustainability reports. This includes evaluating investor and stakeholder interest, as well as pending and/or enacted legislation from other jurisdictions.

This recent development underscores the importance of staying informed and adaptable in the face of regulatory changes. As companies navigate this period of uncertainty, maintaining transparency and accountability in climate-related disclosures remains paramount.

Get More Information

For more insights on climate-related disclosures and regulatory updates, check out our previous article! This article provides valuable context and understanding of the evolving landscape of climate-related financial disclosures.

Adoption of SEC Climate Rules

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