When people think of environmental law, they often think of statutory law and regulations. But parties sometimes seek to use other sources of law — such as the Constitution — to regulate the environment.
The arrival of a new year marks the beginning of the annual proxy season. And this year, shareholders can expect to see a lot more climate change disclosure in 2017 corporate financials.
Companies now have guidelines to help do that. In June 2017, the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) issued voluntary disclosure recommendations, so companies can provide shareholders with information about the business risks, opportunities, and impacts posed by climate change. The TCFD is an international coalition of business, government, and financial leaders tasked with developing voluntary disclosure recommendations to help companies identify, report, and protect against climate risks. The voluntary recommendations are designed to “foster shareholder engagement and broader use of climate-related financial disclosures, thus promoting a more informed understanding of climate-related risks and opportunities by investors and others.” Id. at iv. The TCFD emphasizes that disclosure should be made according to each jurisdiction’s requirements and that the guidelines do not replace existing law. Continue Reading 2018 Rising Trends in Corporate Climate Disclosures
One day before the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, ExxonMobil shareholders overwhelmingly voted to require increased attention to and disclosure of the future impact of climate change on business expectations, while Chevron’s shareholders defeated similar proposals. Continue Reading Shareholders Demand More Disclosure of Climate-Change Risks
As President Trump’s administration attempts to dismantle President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, one action may be removing funding from the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) for enforcement of the 2010 Commission Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change. So, should public companies continue to disclose climate change-driven risks and benefits?
Yes – according to the SEC, the climate change disclosure guidance merely “assists companies in satisfying” their pre-existing requirements concerning disclosure of environmental issues, affirming disclosure obligations in place since the 1970s. By following the guidance, companies merely will be supplying information about climate change that may impact investors’ decision-making. Continue Reading Four Issues Impacting Public Companies’ Climate Change Disclosures
On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order (EO) called “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.” The EO rescinds a host of climate change-related policies and rules instituted by the prior administration, including the Clean Power Plan and the Climate Action Plan. This new energy policy promotes all forms of domestic energy, and, as President Trump stated in the rollout, American energy dominance. The EO, through five policy statements, directs all federal agencies to identify and revise or revoke any rule that “burdens” the energy industry.