Are your business investments at risk from climate change?

NWF   |   January 29, 2010

By Larry J. Schweiger

For those who want to know more about how your business investments will be impacted by climate change, you’ll find interesting that on Wednesday the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted to provide publicly traded companies with interpretive guidance on existing disclosure requirements related to climate change.

Because the SEC already requires publicly-traded companies to disclose significant business risks from climate-related impacts but hasn’t provided specific guidance, Wednesday’s decision will help provide clearer and more consistent information to shareholders who want to invest in companies that are planning well for the future. As Anne Stausboll, CEO of California Public Employees Retirement System, America’s largest pension fund said:

“We’re glad the SEC is stepping up to the plate to protect investors. Ensuring that investors are getting timely, material information on climate-related impacts, including regulatory and physical impacts, is absolutely essential. Investors have a fundamental right to know which companies are well positioned for the future and which are not.”

As an example of the risks that businesses face from climate change, National Wildlife Federation’s new report highlights that “oddball winter weather” of the kind brought about by global warming is terrible news for those in the business of mountain snow sports, which provide $66 billion to the U.S. economy and require reliable snow conditions.