WASHINGTON DC – JUNE 16, 2022 – As the public comment period closes for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) new rule mandating corporations to implement climate disclosures, Green America submitted a petition on behalf of over 15,000 stakeholders lauding the rule and urging that it be strengthened. The public comment period on the rule, “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors,” closes June 17, and comments will be reviewed ahead of the SEC’s final rulemaking in 2023.
The Green America petition states, “We support the overall direction of the rule and urge the Commission to further strengthen it for maximum effectiveness as the climate crisis intensifies.” It recommends the following provisions be added to improve the rule:
- Ensure that free, prior, informed consent (FPIC) is obtained and recognized as material when consulting with Indigenous communities and any marginalized and frontline groups on resource extractive projects.
- Require companies to disclose how they manage climate and community risks related to their business operations and climate mitigation and energy transition processes.
- Include reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in line with other reporting frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.
- Include nature-related financial impacts in climate risk disclosures as modelled by the Task Force on Nature-Related Financial Disclosure.
- Require disclosure of Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions from large companies’ value chains since in many cases, the majority of emissions are from Scope 3.
- Do not allow companies to decide whether their Scope 3 emissions are material and remove the safe harbor from liability for false Scope 3 reports.
“The climate cannot wait,” said Fran Teplitz, Executive Co-Director for Business, Investing & Policy at Green America. “To make the impact the times require, the SEC must mandate the disclosure of climate information that investors, companies, and stakeholders need to protect human rights and communities, the environment, and the economy. This must include disclosure of Scope 3 emissions and upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis.”
Kate Finn, executive director of First Peoples Worldwide, which works from a foundation of Indigenous values to achieve a sustainable future for all, supported Green America’s letter: “Indigenous Peoples are among the first to feel the impacts of climate change – whether erosion of land from rising seas for coastal communities or increasing habitat loss for forest, land and animal stewards from the Amazon to the Arctic. The SEC now has the opportunity to provide for companies, shareholders and investors a minimum standard towards the full context for understanding a corporation's climate-related commitments as related to Indigenous Peoples' welfare and their right to free, prior and informed consent. The materiality of these deeply interconnected issues cannot be understated, and, if left unchecked, have impact not only on investor portfolios, but will create further harm to people and the planet. We are grateful for Green America and the thousands of signatories for putting these fundamental and critical considerations forward to the SEC and all stakeholders.”
Climate disclosure mandates for public companies will ensure that companies obtain the data needed to bring their operations in line with crucial greenhouse gas reduction goals and will give all stakeholders the understanding needed to advance climate solutions. Voluntary corporate disclosure of climate impacts and risks has fallen short. The SEC must approve the strongest climate disclosure rule that supports human rights, a healthy planet and the economy.
Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. www.GreenAmerica.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Max Karlin for Green America, (703) 276-3255 or email@example.com.