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AG Maura Healey Calls on SEC to Require Companies to Disclose Financial Risks of Climate Change

AG Maura Healey Calls on SEC to Require Companies to Disclose Financial Risks of Climate Change

Multistate Coalition Argues for Greater Disclosure to Meet Growing Investor Demands and Protect Residents’ Retirement Savings and Other Investments

BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a coalition of attorneys general in calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require U.S. companies to provide specific and accurate information about the financial risks their businesses face from climate change. The attorneys general contend these disclosures are fully within the SEC’s authority and are urgently needed to protect the retirement savings and other investments of millions of Americans.

In the letter, the coalition argues that climate change poses a wide range of serious risks that threaten companies’ financial health and, more broadly, could contribute to systemic shocks to financial markets that imperil investor holdings. In the past five years alone, climate change-related weather events cost U.S. companies more than $600 billion in direct economic damages, and conservative estimates of future damages are much greater. 

“The climate crisis threatens serious financial harm for U.S. companies, financial markets, and the investments our residents have made to fund their retirements or pay for their children’s college,” AG Healey said. “We’re calling on the SEC to require companies to disclose the risks climate change poses to their businesses, so that we can protect our residents and their savings.”

“Climate change is not a distant problem to be dealt with in the future; it is here, and it threatens the US economy and its financial system,” the coalition writes in the letter. “Demand from institutional and retail investors for American companies to respond to the financial and other impacts of climate change has grown significantly over the last decade,” the letter argues, including from Massachusetts investors. Last month, for example, shareholders elected three new members to ExxonMobil’s board of directors who are seeking to address the financial risks to investors of the company’s poor climate change planning.

… AG Healey joins the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Wisconsin in sending today’s letter. 

… Read the official press release here.

Legislative Actions

Time critical actions:

Municipal Sustainability Checklist

We have created a municipal “sustainability checklist” that can help towns compare what they are doing with other towns, as well as get ideas and encourage collaboration. For residents, the checklist helps understand what towns are doing and not doing, as well as set priorities for local advocacy. For organizers, the checklist is an excellent tool to organize local groups around, and to build networks of people who care about sustainability.

Click here for details.