Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, Representatives Sean Casten (D-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-CA) announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved a proposed rule requiring climate-related disclosures by public companies.
The proposed rule that the SEC released today responds to significant demand from retail and institutional investors who are seeking information regarding climate disclosures in companies they’re invested in, or would like to invest in.
“I commend Chair Gary Gensler and his fellow Commissioners for issuing a proposed rulemaking that will ensure that corporate America is focused on climate change. Under my leadership, the Financial Services Committee has convened four hearings on this topic, and advanced legislation led by Representatives Casten and Vargas over the previous two Congresses,” said Chairwoman Maxine Waters. “The SEC’s rule will help our nation’s savers and investors to keep more of their hard-earned funds. Climate change not only poses an existential threat to our environment, it also threatens our savings and investments. According to one estimate, as a direct result of climate change, by 2050, the economic value of all our savings and investments will decrease by 10%. Today’s vote by the SEC is a needed next step towards ensuring that market participants properly disclose critical information on climate risks so that investors and the financial markets are better protected and can accurately integrate and reflect risks posed by climate change. ”
“Markets are an indispensable tool that we must leverage in order to make the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy at the pace scientifically necessary to prevent climate catastrophe,” said Representative Sean Casten. “But for markets to work efficiently, investors need transparency. That’s why I introduced the Climate Risk Disclosure Act with Senator Warren, prompting the SEC to initiate a rulemaking process to require publicly traded companies to disclose climate-related risks—empowering investors to make smarter decisions and harnessing the power of the free market to help us win the race against the climate crisis before it’s too late. I urge the SEC to thoroughly evaluate feedback on the proposal issued today to ensure the strongest possible final rule.”
“Industries should be required to disclose their impact on our climate – full stop. I’m in full support of the SEC’s proposed rule to ensure businesses operate with transparency and accountability,” said Representative Juan Vargas. “The climate crisis is already here, and we must do everything we can to mitigate its effects before the impact is irreversible. Investors and shareholders must be informed on the risks certain business practices pose, including greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprints. Mandatory climate disclosures will hold industries accountable as we work to protect and preserve our climate.”
On February 25, 2021, the Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets held a hearing entitled, “Climate Change and Social Responsibility: Helping Corporate Boards and Investors Make Decisions for a Sustainable World.”
On June 17, 2021, the House of Representatives passed a package a bills advanced out of the Financial Services Committee aimed at improving investors protection and transparency, including the Climate Risk Disclosure Act by Rep. Sean Casten and the ESG Disclosure Simplification Act by Rep. Juan Vargas.
On June 30, 2021, the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions held a hearing entitled, “Addressing Climate as a Systemic Risk: The Need to Build Resilience Within Our Banking and Financial System.”
On October 15, 2021, the full Committee held a hearing entitled, “Oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission: Wall Street’s Cop is Finally Back on the Beat.”