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Last Thursday, SEC Chair Gary Gensler had a fireside chat with Tom Quaadman of the US Chamber of Commerce Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness about the still-not-final climate disclosure rule. Responsible Investor wrote this about the conversation, which generally covered familiar ground rather than providing much new – including timing of the final release (surprise! not October even though that was the timing projected in the Spring Reg Flex Agenda – about which we recommended caution.)

However, there was at least one interesting snippet:

“The only remit we have at the SEC is, ‘Is it material?’” [Gensler] said. “We’re not changing any materiality standards. [The Supreme Court standard] is the substantial likelihood that a reasonable investor would find it significant to the total mix of information in making an investment decision.”

He also touched on criticisms about the rule’s impact on otherwise non-regulated companies:

“SEC staff were looking to ensure that demands for Scope 3 data in supply chains do not lead to the SEC doing ‘indirectly what we can’t do directly’ in requiring disclosures from non-public companies.”

A video of the conversation is available here (thanks to Sarah Fortt for that). This seems to settle the question about whether double materiality will be mandated in the US. Double materiality is even under fire in the EU as Zach reported recently. Of course, the other question is when the SEC will issue its final release. We all have to wait for that answer.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile