The Securities and Exchange Commission sees climate change as enough of a risk that it requires companies to disclose their climate-change-related risks in their annual 10k filings. Most, however, deal only cursorily with the potential for tightened regulation, without considering the many other threats to business operations that arise from a warming planet.
A recent report from sustainable business advocate Ceres found wide discrepancies in disclosure quality among oil and gas majors. Ceres found that BP (NYSE:BP), Suncor (NYSE:SU), and Eni (NYSE:E) provided the best disclosure overall, while ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Apache (NYSE:APA) did the worst.
- Eni provided good disclosure by, among other things, mentioning specific emissions reductions for its combined cycle co-generation work, and providing a detailed discussion of its flaring and carbon capture and storage efforts.
- BP's disclosure included a detailed analysis of the effects of indirect risks and opportunities on its operations. For example, BP disclosed that its "low-carbon businesses and future growth options outside oil and gas... have the potential to be a material source of low-carbon energy and are aligned with BP's core capabilities."
- Suncor quantified the effects of existing regulations, and also described a basis for its conclusions about materiality. The company explained how it assesses future regulatory risks using a carbon price range.
- ExxonMobil and Apache either only vaguely acknowledged various climate change risks or failed to discuss them at all.
John Vechey of PopCap Games recently joined The Motley Fool for a climate change summit. Among his guests was Stu Dalheim, vice president of shareholder advocacy at Calvert Investments. In the video below, Dalheim explains how Calvert assesses material, environmental, and sustainability issues to discover how effectively companies are recognizing their risks and working to minimize them and build sustainability.
Sara Murphy has no position in any stocks mentioned. Follow her on Twitter @SMurphSmiles. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apache. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.