Group Calls for SEC to Mandate Climate-Related Disclosures

September 18, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Environmental Defense have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require that public companies include pertinent climate-related information in their corporate disclosures, Reuters reported.

Specifically, the trio wants the SEC to issue an “interpretive” release that clarifies that companies must include climate-related risks along with other factors that affect their business.

Some of the risks might include effects on a company’s performance and operations that range from physical damage to new facilities and additional regulatory costs, the coalition said.

SEC regulations require that companies make public information that investors need to know when deciding whether to buy or sell a particular stock. The group’s argument hinges partly on the some experts’ opinions that global warming can trigger major climate changes, that would in turn affect a number of companies.

“Companies’ financial condition increasingly depends upon their ability to avoid climate risk,” said the petition signed by 22 officials and groups, according to Reuters. For example, it claims that ExxonMobil made just one reference to climate change in its 2006 annual report and Allstate Corp. did not reference climate change at all in its 2006 report.

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