Comment Period Extended on Climate Rule

SEC Stretches Climate Reporting Rule Comment Period

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The Securities Exchange Commission on Monday extended a public-comment period on the "Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors" proposed rule. (Photo by D Ramey Logan, CC-BY 4.0)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- The Securities Exchange Commission on Monday extended the public-comment period on a proposed rule to require publicly traded companies to report climate efforts.

The rule has raised concerns of more than 100 agriculture interest groups who say farmers and ranchers would face new burdens to report personal and business-related information.

The SEC announced in a news release on Monday it would extend the comment period ending date from May 20 to June 17.

More than 100 agriculture interest groups asked for a 180-day extension in an April 26 letter to the SEC.

The "Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors" proposed rule has been touted by the SEC as a way to protect investors in publicly traded companies. It would require those companies to report data about their entire supply chain.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement the group has "deep concerns" about the proposal.

"Unlike large corporations currently regulated by the SEC, farmers don't have teams of compliance officers and attorneys dedicated to handling SEC compliance issues," he said.

"Increased costs, legal liabilities and privacy concerns could create obstacles to ensuring food security at a time when the world is increasingly looking to America's farmers for help."

The American Farm Bureau Federation said in a news release regarding the letter signed onto by 120 ag groups, "Nearly every farmer's and rancher's products eventually touch a publicly traded company, meaning that farmers and ranchers could be forced to report personal information and business-related data."

AFBF said the "unprecedented overreach could create onerous reporting requirements" for farms and ranches of all sizes.

The SEC proposal would require businesses to show how they identify and manage climate risks and how the risks affect companies.

Companies would then be required to report how they are meeting climate pledges.

The proposal breaks emissions into three categories. Companies with more than $75 million in revenues would have to report so-called Scope 1 and 2 emissions directly from their operations. Scope 3 would cover emissions from customers and supply chains.

The AFBF released an analysis of the proposal at the end of last week, https://www.fb.org/….

Farm Bureau said in the report there are more than 2,400 companies registered with the SEC that would be subject to reporting Scope 3 emissions from farm suppliers.

"For farmers to stay compliant with the companies that purchase their products downstream, this could mean producers will need to track and disclose on-farm data regarding individual operations and day-to-day activities," AFBF said in its analysis.

"This could force farmers of all sizes, but particularly those with small and medium-sized operations, to report data they may be unable to provide, which would result in a costly additional expense or a loss of business to larger farms."

The AFBF said although software packages and others business management tools are available to farmers and ranchers, only about 31% of farms and ranches use such software.

Read more on DTN:

"Ag Groups Alarmed by SEC Climate Rule," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @DTNeeley

Todd Neeley