The Biden administration released its regulatory agenda for the fall of 2024 on Wednesday, providing a look into where agencies’ priorities lie for the coming months. Among the biggest updates on the list, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a new timeline for the finalization of its climate disclosure rule.
The SEC now expects to release its final rule for requiring companies to disclose climate-related risks like scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 emissions and their risk management practices in April 2024. The proposed rule creates a disclosure framework based in part on recommendations from the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
While the agency previously announced it expected to release the regulation in October this year, the month came and went with no official update. SEC Chair Gary Gensler, however, provided an update that month and said the agency was reviewing public comments on the proposed rule and looking not to overreach its authority with respect to scope 3 emissions reporting requirements.
“Our remit is about investors making investment decisions,” Gensler told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in October. “We’re not a climate regulator.”
Other relevant SEC updates
In addition to providing an update for the climate disclosure rule, the agency is working on at least three other ESG-related or adjacent rules in the coming year.
- A final rule requiring “certain investment advisers and investment companies” to provide additional disclosures on ESG investment practices is also expected for April.
- A proposed rule to enhance human capital management disclosures is slated for a release the same month.
- A proposal to increase disclosures on the diversity of corporate board members and nominees is expected in October, in the middle of election season.
Upcoming Treasury & Federal Trade Commission rules
The Department of Treasury and Federal Trade Commission also have a number of upcoming rules that could affect companies’ environmental, social and governance policies.
The Treasury Department has a busy agenda for 2024, with regulations in varying stages of completion in the upcoming year. The agency said it finished reviewing comments on provisions related to “U.S. investments in certain national security technologies and products in countries of concern” in November. It will re-propose a rule on nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in receiving Treasury assistance — first proposed in 2017 — along with a rule to enforce it this month. The agency also plans to propose rules for an energy efficient buildings deduction and advanced manufacturing production credit in December.
The Treasury is also in the process of finalizing the following climate and environmental regulations to incorporate legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act and its climate credits by June 2024:
- Clean vehicle credit regulations
- Advanced manufacturing investment credit
- A rule for elective payment of the advanced manufacturing credit
The FTC will finish reviewing comments on a number of regulations in the prerule stage this month, including:
- A rule on energy and water use labeling for consumer products
- A trade regulation rule on commercial surveillance
- A health breach notification rule
- A rule to ban unfair non-compete clauses in employee contracts
Additionally, the public comment period on a FTC rule updating labeling requirements for alternative fuels and alternative-fueled vehicles closes Dec. 26, and comments on a proposed unfair or deceptive fees rule closes in January.