Economy

Zeus: The other side of the SEC disclosure letters

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights

(David Callaway is founder and Editor-in-Chief of Callaway Climate Insights. He is the former president of the World Editors Forum, Editor-in-Chief of USA Today and MarketWatch, and CEO of TheStreet Inc.)

SAN FRANCISCO (Callaway Climate Insights) — Much has been made about the 11th-hour attempt by large investors on Wall Street to rein in proposed government disclosure rules on greenhouse gas emissions, and lawsuits are almost a certainty once the rules are formalized later this year.

But the vast majority of the more than 5,000 letters of comment for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed disclosure rules are in favor of them, with investors ranging from small asset managers to entrepreneurs in climate technology arguing that the need from markets for more disclosure is long overdue.

Indeed, some of the backlash we’ve seen this spring against environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing strategies is born of the very confusion about metrics that the disclosure rules try to prevent.

Most of the big investors arguing against having to disclose their indirect emissions, known as Scope 3, claim it would be impossible – and costly – to accurately detail the emissions of their customers and supply chains.

That’s why the SEC rules are a necessary first step. And once they are proposed, and challenged, they will obviously be refined. Inside some of the letters are some thoughts on how the SEC can make its proposals even more impactful. …

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