Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

3,000 American Investors Urge the SEC to End Corporate Secrecy On Climate Change

June 30 , 2008

Washington, DC -- American investors are being urged to encourage the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require publicly traded companies to ”fully disclose their current and future risks regarding climate change to their investors and the public,” according to the nonprofit Co-op America.

More than 3,000 Americans already have gone to the Co-op America Web site at /takeaction/climatedisclosure/index.cfm to send the message to the SEC.  

Co-op America Corporate Responsibility Director, Todd Larsen said:  “Climate change will bring increasingly violent weather, droughts, and rising seas – deeply affecting our lives and economy. Corporations play a major role in creating climate change and will also be deeply affected by its devastating impacts. As the consequences of climate change increase, more and more companies will face regulations, lawsuits, and losses. Corporate disclosure on climate change benefits investors, consumers, and the corporations themselves. On the other hand, poor climate disclosure and risk management practices will lead to costly surprises for companies and their owners.”

In September 2007, the nation’s largest pension funds and state treasurers from California, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont asked the SEC to issue guidance on corporate disclosure about climate change.  Also in 2007, thousands of Co-op America members and others wrote to the SEC and told the federal agency not to roll back shareholder rights to file resolutions on social and corporate governance matters.

The full text of the sample letter to the SEC on the Co-op America site reads as follows:

“I am writing in support of the ‘Petition for Interpretive Guidance on Climate Risk Disclosure’ filed with the Commission on September 18, 2007.

I am an individual investor who is concerned about the risks that climate change poses to my investments.  I am also concerned that corporate disclosure on climate risk by companies is inconsistent and many companies are failing to disclose their risks. Companies in many sectors face increasing risks from climate change and its impacts, and investors who are currently in the dark will likely be adversely affected by corporate losses in the future that are tied to climate change impacts. 

The SEC currently requires companies to disclose risks that could reasonably affect their sales or revenues.  However, most companies are failing to disclose their risks from climate change, even though these risks are highly likely to have a great impact.

I believe that corporations that register with the SEC should assess the regulatory, physical and litigation-related risks they face from climate change, and disclose their material risks in SEC filings.  Commission guidance would be extremely helpful in providing investors this important information …”

ABOUT COOP AMERICA
Co-op America (http://www.greenamerica.org) is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1982, providing the economic strategies, organizing power and practicing tools for businesses and individuals to address today's social and environmental problems. Its Green Business Network is the largest national network of businesses screened for their social and environmental responsibility.

CONTACT:   Ailis Aaron Wolf, (703) 276-3265 or aawolf@hastingsgroup.com.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Please contact Todd Larsen by email
or by phone at 202-872-5307.