Corporate America seeks to end the SEC’s climate rule

Washington’s largest corporate lobby groups are trying to stop an SEC proposal that requires companies to identify certain carbon emissions and climate change risks for the first time.

Three years after the business roundtable tried to present its members as greener, the industry group is urging the SEC to rewrite its proposal for climate disclosure in March. His opposition has parted ways with technology companies Microsoft and Salesforce, which are widely applauding the plans.

“We call on the SEC to publish a revised proposal,” said the business roundtable, chaired by Mary Barra of General Motors. Requiring SEC companies to add emissions information to their audited financial statements is “unenforceable,” he added.

Thousands of comments were posted on the SEC’s website by Friday, the last day of the climate rule comment period. A final rule can be adopted by the end of the year at the earliest.

As Democrat commissions are the majority in the five-member agency, the rule is likely to be passed despite objections from the business community. But it is certain that it will be challenged in court either by companies or by Republicans, who also opposed the SEC’s efforts.

In 2019, the business round table dropped its “shareholder priority” mandate. and most of the group members promised, among other things, to “protect the environment by adopting sustainable practices in our business.”

The US Chamber of Commerce also criticized the rule and called for it to be relaxed. The House and Business Roundtable is two of the largest lobby groups in Washington, with a total of $ 23.9 million so far this year, according to OpenSecrets.

But the SEC is not completely abandoned by big companies. Microsoft said it supports regular reporting of all emissions from large companies, including Emissions 3, which include carbon from the company’s supply chain. They are usually the largest part of a company’s carbon footprint and are the most difficult to measure.

However, Microsoft called on the SEC to waive the financial disclosure requirements and instead report this information elsewhere in the company’s disclosure documents.

Similarly, Salesforce said disclosing all emissions “is necessary to understand the short-term and long-term risks of climate change.”

Large pension funds such as Calpers have supported the SEC’s proposed disclosure of emissions. But some asset managers, such as State Street, said band 3 emissions “should remain voluntary.”

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