In a recent post (here), I wrote about the September 18, 2007 petition submitted to the SEC by several environmental groups, seeking to persuade the SEC to institute rules requiring companies to assess and fully disclose their financial risks from climate change. These groups clearly want to use the SEC’s disclosure requirements to pressure companies on climate change related issues. But while these groups want to increase companies’ disclosure, existing disclosure requirements already require companies to make environmental disclosures (refer here), and the SEC has recently shown an increased willingness to police environmental financial disclosures and to hold corporate officials responsible for disclosure violations.
The SEC seems to have turned its attention on environmental financial disclosures and corporations and corporate executives should take special note of the heightened attention that the SEC is now giving to these disclosures. Although the SEC has not announced any new guidelines or initiatives, corporations and corporate executives should certainly be cognizant of the increased number of civil and criminal actions being brought by the SEC against corporations and officials who fail to observe existing environmental reporting requirements.