Proposed SEC rule would force publicly traded companies to report greenhouse gas emissions

March 28, 2022

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission unveiled a rule proposal that would require companies to disclose greenhouse gas emissions from their own facilities and other facilities that power them.

The rule aims to get companies to report estimated greenhouse gas emissions from assets not owned by the company but that impact its value chain, known as Scope 3 emissions, or value chain emissions.

SEC chair Gary Gensler said the rule would provide investors with information that is consistent, comparable and useful for making investment decisions.

"Our core bargain from the 1930s is that investors get to decide which risks to take, as long as public companies provide full and fair disclosure and are truthful in those disclosures. Today, investors representing literally tens of trillions of dollars support climate-related disclosures because they recognize that climate risks can pose significant financial risks to companies, and investors need reliable information about climate risks to make informed investment decisions,” Gensler said. “Companies and investors alike would benefit from the clear rules of the road proposed in this release.”

The rule will also require companies to disclose climate-related risks associated with the location of their physical assets, like offices and manufacturing sites.

In February, the Government Accountability Office found that nearly a third of the facilities permitted to make, use, handle or store hazardous substances were located in areas threatened by natural hazards, like flooding and wildfires, that could cause the release of those substances into neighboring communities.

Some industry groups, like the American Petroleum Institute, oppose the rule.

“The U.S. oil and natural gas industry has a long history of sustainability reporting, and achieving greater comparability and transparency across those efforts is a leading priority. We are concerned that the Commission’s sweeping proposal could require non-material disclosures and create confusion for investors and capital markets,” said API senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs Frank Macchiarola.

The SEC will accept public comments on the proposed rule until early May.

Proposed SEC rule would force publicly traded companies to report greenhouse gas emissions