SEC Signals Increased Focus on Climate-Related Risk Disclosures

01 March 2021 Foley Funds Legal Focus Blog
Authors: Thomas J. Krysa Peter D. Fetzer Stephen M. Meli Stuart E. Fross Margaret G. Nelson Brooke D. Clarkson

On February 24, 2021, Acting Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission Allison Herren Lee released a public statement directing the Division of Corporation Finance to enhance its focus on climate-related risk disclosures in public filings.  CorpFin staff is expected to evaluate risk disclosures against the 2010 guidance related to climate change matters, and to engage with companies to understand how the market is managing climate-related risks.  The staff is expected to use the lessons learned from this process to update the 2010 guidance.  The Acting Chair emphasized the importance of climate-related risk disclosures saying, “Now more than ever, investors are considering climate-related issues when making their investment decisions.  It is our responsibility to ensure that they have access to material information when planning for their financial future.”  The Commission’s emphasis on climate-related risk disclosures is expected to continue after Gary Gensler is appointed as Chair.  Mr. Gensler is set to appear before a Senate panel on March 2, 2021 for his confirmation hearing.  Given the Commission’s focus on climate-related risk disclosures, it is only a matter of time before the SEC focuses enforcement resources in this area.

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