Yesterday, the SEC released its Spring 2022 Regulatory Agenda (see the announcement here and the actual Agenda here.) About halfway down the Agenda, in the Final Rule Stage category sits the Climate Change Disclosure proposal. If you open that item, you will see that it shows October 2022 as the date of Final Action. Astute readers will also notice that the Comment Period End doesn’t reflect the comment period extension, which ended June 17, 2022. Taking into account the comment period extension, the “corrected” final action date should be sometime in December 2022.
Should we be counting the days to December – for reasons other than the holidays, I mean.
The answer depends on how definitive the RegFlex Agenda and how much the public should rely on it. This is a topic that has been explored at length over at TheCorporateCounsel.net (here is one as an older example, with another today from John), but for the benefit of ESG professionals new to the securities side of things, I’ll fill you in. The bottom line is that the RegFlex Agenda generally tends to reflect the Chair’s priorities and is aspirational rather than being a definitive schedule. So a final rule is possible by the end of 2022, but not definite. Perhaps worthy of “penciling it in”, but I wouldn’t suggest using a permanent marker in your calendar.
Even though the final action date for climate disclosures is uncertain, that should not be a reason to delay your preparations for compliance. As we have been preparing for our upcoming free Climate Disclosure event on July 13, one common theme has become clear in talking with our panelists – and in our own work in developing the model disclosure to be unveiled as part of that event – companies need to get to work now.