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Previewing the SEC

For the past two years, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been considering a rule that would require businesses to report huge amounts of information about companies’ climate-related risks, strategies and impacts. As the SEC prepares to release its final version of the rule this Wednesday, we spoke with NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain about what manufacturers should expect.

The background: In March 2022, the SEC proposed what the NAM has called an overreaching, unworkable and burdensome climate disclosure rule. According to Crain, the initial proposal would have required extensive disclosures as well as invasive tracking procedures to gauge climate impact and emissions throughout companies’ supply chains—significantly increasing costs and liability for manufacturers.

  • “The proposal would have had major implications for the entire manufacturing sector, including both large and small public companies—and even privately held businesses throughout manufacturing supply chains,” said Crain. “As proposed, the rule represents a significant threat to manufacturing competitiveness.”

The pushback: In the two years since the rule was first proposed, the NAM has pressed for significant changes—in detailed letters to the SEC, in congressional testimony and in meetings with SEC commissioners and staff.

  • “Manufacturers have made it a top priority over the past two years to convince the SEC that they need to change their approach,” said Crain. “The NAM has spent significant time and effort explaining to the SEC why its proposal was unworkable and likely unlawful and illustrating the impact of the rule’s overwhelming cost burden on manufacturers.”
  • “But we also offered specific and actionable suggestions to help the agency tailor the rule, make it more workable to manufacturers and bring it back within the SEC’s statutory authority.”

The preview: With the SEC set to publish its final rule tomorrow, Crain says the NAM is keeping an eye on key inflection points, including the following:

  • Scope 3 emissions reporting: The proposal’s Scope 3 mandate would require public companies to disclose the emissions of their supply chain partners—including small and family-owned businesses. If Scope 3 is curtailed or absent, that would represent significant progress for manufacturers.
  • Financial statement reporting requirements: The NAM will be tracking the degree to which companies are required to incorporate climate information into their financial statements. The NAM called the proposal’s approach to financial statement reporting “unworkable [and] highly burdensome.”

Learn more: The NAM will be hosting a webinar with legal experts from Hogan Lovells on Thursday, March 14, at 10:30 a.m. EDT to provide NAM members with an in-depth overview of the final rule. NAM members can register for the event by clicking here.

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