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On April 11, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission formally announced its proposal to require extensive disclosures concerning public companies’ investigation and evaluation of numerous subjects relating to climate change including governance, material effects on financial statements and business strategy, risk management processes and greenhouse gas emissions.

For many, the operative words in all of that are “public companies,” and where the many are not public companies, it remains business as usual. That is, climate change is something that can be addressed next year (if at all). In reality, the SEC’s requirements demonstrate quite emphatically that that is not the case because climate change risks are indifferent to a company’s ownership structure. Hurricanes and wildfires do not care how the stock is held. Accordingly, nonpublic companies would do well to heed the approach public companies may be required to take to address climate change.

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