THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking to promote sustainability reporting for unlisted firms, an official said on Monday.

“Eventually, we’re going to push this not only for publicly listed companies (PLCs), but also for large companies that are not listed. They have a larger carbon footprint as well, even though they aren’t listed,” said SEC Corporate Governance and Finance Director Rachel Esther J. Gumtang-Remalante during a sideline event at COP 28 in Dubai.

“We will do this in pacing, I’m sure there will be pushback because they do not yet understand why this information is important,” she added.

In October, the SEC issued a draft memorandum circular on the revised sustainability reporting guidelines.

Under the draft circular, PLCs would be required to submit sustainability reports in two formats, the sustainability reporting narrative and sustainability report form.

The narrative would be submitted in conjunction with the companies’ annual report while the form would be passed through SEC’s electronic filing and submission tool.

The form’s template covers sustainability and climate-related opportunities and risks exposures, cross-industry standard metrics, and industry-specific metrics.

“The reason we are pushing for uniformity, consistency, comparability and reliability of information is because we want to make this report useful not only for investors or policy makers, but other stakeholders that would be interested,” Ms. Remalante said.

She said that companies have been increasingly compliant with sustainability standards.

“Before, when we talk about sustainability, only a few companies are doing voluntary reporting,” she added.

Ms. Remalante said that having sufficient data can help better align investments towards sustainability efforts and close the climate finance gap.

However, there is still a need to elevate the level of awareness on sustainability reporting.

“We need a better understanding. We mention capacity building, but what would that result into? (It’s) not only awareness, eventually (we want to) do adaptation and transformation,” she said.

“Making it more mainstream, something that is being discussed, (then) companies can be aware that these are topics… and do what is right,” she added.

The SEC first ordered PLCs to submit sustainability reports in 2019 through a “comply or explain” approach. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson