(Reuters) – A “fair number” of the largest U.S. listed companies should be caught by a proposed requirement to disclose third-party greenhouse gas emissions, the chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission told the Reuters Events Responsible Business Forum in an interview.
Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission unveiled a landmark rule that would require certain companies to disclose so-called “Scope 3” emissions, emissions generated by the company’s upstream and downstream activities.
March’s draft rule, which is the subject of public consultation, would require large so-called “accelerated filers” to disclose Scope 3 emissions if they are significant or included in any emission targets set by the company.
However, the SEC has not said how many companies can be expected to be caught by the requirement, which could be a game changer for some coal-heavy industries, such as oil and gas.
SEC President Gary Gensler said the rule aims to capture a significant number of the approximately 1,600 U.S.-listed companies that are considered “accelerated files.”
“Among accelerated notifiers, a large number of companies have made commitments and goals for their future – including Scope 3. If a company has told the public and shareholders that they have a goal to mitigate climate risks … one would say that it is an important requirement to detect Scope 3 emissions. “
Mr Gensler’s comments may provide greater clarity for companies that are unclear whether they would be expected to report Scope 3 emissions under the draft rule.
Progressive and activist investors have pushed for the SEC to demand the disclosure of Scope 3 emissions to hold companies accountable for all the carbon dioxide and methane they help generate. At the same time, companies have pushed for a tighter rule that will not increase compliance costs.