AICPA Comments on SEC Request for Public Input on Climate Change Disclosures

The AICPA on Monday submitted comments to the SEC supporting exploration of disclosures on climate change and broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

“As the SEC considers climate change disclosures, we think it is essential that all market participants work towards a comprehensive global reporting solution that provides insight into how an enterprise leverages its array of resources to create value over the long-term, including ESG disclosures,” wrote AICPA CEO for public accounting Susan Coffey.

Coffey also noted that it’s important for investors to have “relevant disclosures about the collective drivers of short, medium and long-term value, and investors having this information is critical to the effective functioning of our capital markets.”

Additional comments included the following:

  • Disclosures – The AICPA supports the SEC seeking input on climate-related disclosures to provide more consistent, reliable information for investors and registrants.
  • Assurance – The AICPA supports the SEC’s consideration of assurance over climate-related disclosures.
  • Internal controls over ESG-related disclosure – The AICPA supports additional measures to ensure reliability, which includes having effective internal controls and processes in place with respect to ESG information.
  • Transition period – The AICPA says that a transition period may be necessary for issuers to report complete, accurate and reliable ESG information, and suggests that a safe harbor from liability for forward-looking disclosures be considered.

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