The Securities and Exchange Commission’s pending climate disclosure rule would place an enormous, untenable burden on manufacturers—and impose a disproportionate hardship on small businesses, NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain told lawmakers Thursday.
What’s going on: Crain gave testimony before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the damaging effects of the SEC’s proposed climate rule, which would require businesses to reveal large amounts of convoluted (and often sensitive) climate-related data.
- The plan would force disclosure of so-called “Scope 3” emissions—those that come from companies’ supply chains—and institute new climate-related accounting requirements, among other mandates.
Why it’s a problem: If finalized, the rule would divert funds from manufacturing growth, including at small manufacturers.
- “Manufacturing pioneers groundbreaking technologies, including the innovations necessary to combat climate change,” Crain said. “The rule would impose tremendous costs on manufacturers of all sizes—while overwhelming investors with immaterial information. And the SEC hasn’t done the work to show that the rule’s benefits outweigh its costs, or that the rule is even within the SEC’s legal authority.”
- The proposed regulation would, by the agency’s own accounting, “raise the cost to businesses of complying with its overall disclosure rules to $10.2 billion from $3.9 billion, an additional cost of about $530,000 a year for a bigger business,” according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).
Costs to manufacturers: Crain told lawmakers that the SEC’s analysis likely understates the true costs of the rule, in part because the agency did not consider the impacts on private businesses.
- “For the larger companies subject to [the Scope 3] requirement, the SEC has admitted that it cannot ‘fully and accurately quantify’ the costs,” Crain said. “But for the small businesses that are swept into large companies’ Scope 3 efforts, the SEC hasn’t even tried. The SEC’s proposal does not include any discussion of the Scope 3 costs that will fall on small and private businesses.”
- Crain warned lawmakers that these compliance costs would represent a “huge resource diversion” for small manufacturers.
Regulatory onslaught: Crain shared the NAM’s landmark Cost of Federal Regulations study with lawmakers, explaining that the SEC’s proposal would add to the $50,000-per-employee-per-year regulatory burden small manufacturers face.
- “The SEC’s climate rule is at the center of this regulatory onslaught,” Crain said.