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Board of directors room. Credit: hxdbzxy/Shutterstock.com The SEC’s proposal attempts to impose a more “consistent, comparable and reliable” climate reporting standard to enable investors to make informed judgments about the impact of climate-related risks on current and potential investments. (Credit: hxdbzxy/Shutterstock.com)

Public companies and their stakeholders often struggle with effective environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs in the absence of clear and common standards and regulations. But the landscape is rapidly changing in a way that will likely impose new risks and costs on companies.

In a dramatic expansion of previous obligations, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a nearly 500-page proposal on March 21, 2022, requiring that publicly traded companies disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and business risks imposed by the changing climate.

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