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Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors

June 29, 2022

The Honorable Leo E. Strine Jr. L’88 has submitted a letter to the SEC arguing that the agency should require climate-related disclosures to investors.

The Honorable Leo E. Strine Jr. L’88, Michael L. Wachter Distinguished Fellow in Law and Policy, recently submitted a letter to the SEC on enhancement and standardization of climate-related disclosures for investors, along with Alan L. Beller, Daryl Brewster, Robert G. Eccles, David A. Katz, and Carmen X. W. Lu.

The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance recently shared an overview:

We are a group of commentators with diverse experience in securities and corporation law, business management, accounting, and corporate governance generally. Combined, we bring to bear well over a century’s work in areas bearing on these important issues, and although we have diverse experiences and viewpoints on many issues, we have a shared interest in helping the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission” or the “SEC”) grapple with, and propose a cost-effective approach to, the urgent issue of providing American investors with important information on the effect climate change has on the companies in which they invest.

It is in that spirit that we express our gratitude for the opportunity to comment on the Commission’s proposal to require public disclosure to investors of meaningful information about the substantial risks that climate change poses for the issuers of publicly traded securities. These important disclosures will protect investors in those securities and help promote efficiency, competition, and capital formation.

To frame our comments, we wish to underscore our starting position. If the only choice were to have the rule adopted as proposed, or to not have the rule, we would support adoption of the rule “as is.” Our reasoning is simple. The rule as proposed will help provide investors with uniform, more comprehensive disclosures and greatly enhance the availability of comparable, reliable data and information regarding climate change and its risks. A more than sufficient number of investors of all types have credibly claimed and demonstrated that these disclosures will allow them to make more informed and better decisions regarding risks facing and valuation of the companies making these disclosures, and are therefore material to them and appropriate for their protection.

Judge Strine is also Senior Fellow, Harvard Program on Corporate Governance; of counsel, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; and former Chief Justice and Chancellor, the State of Delaware. 

Read the full letter at the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.