SEC set to discuss staff climate change proposal

By Ken Tysiac

The SEC will meet Monday to discuss a staff proposal that is designed to enhance and standardize companies' climate-related disclosures for investors, according to an agenda item posted to the SEC's website.

In recent years the issue of how climate change affects companies has become increasingly important to investors. In recognition of this, the SEC in March 2021 asked for comments on its disclosure rules and guidance related to climate change.

The AICPA and the Center for Audit Quality, which is affiliated with the AICPA, have voiced support for the SEC's exploration of disclosures related to climate change and environmental, social, and governance issues.

In a recent Twitter post, SEC Chair Gary Gensler posted a video that explained that although many companies are already disclosing information about climate-related risks, investors are looking for more consistent, comparable information to assist them in investment decisions.

"They want to know how climate-related risk will affect the companies they own," Gensler said. "That could mean the physical risk associated with climate change, or it might be the steps those companies are taking to lower risk associated with regulation or commitments to lower emissions."

The SEC's announcement comes on the heels of the creation of an International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) by the IFRS Foundation board of trustees. The ISSB aims to create a globally consistent set of standards to enable more accountability and comparability.

— To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Ken Tysiac at Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com.

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