On February 2, 2010, the US Securities and Exchange Commission issued new interpretive guidance clarifying the disclosure obligations of publicly-traded companies with respect to material climate change information. The guidance highlights four areas as examples of situations where climate change disclosure may be required, including:
- impact of legislation and regulation;
- international accords;
- indirect consequences of regulation or business trends; and
- physical impact of climate change.
While the guidance does not create new legal requirements, it highlights the SEC's increased focus on climate change disclosure and indicates that reporting companies will need to be especially sensitive to climate change disclosure in their upcoming annual reports on Form 10-K and Form 20-F, as applicable.
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