The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has undergone a marked transformation since President Biden was elected. In stark contrast to how it operated under the previous administration, the proxy season just gone saw shareholder proposals on race and climate change backed by the powerful regulator and taken to the vote at companies.
This new orientation was confirmed by the SEC when in March its then acting-head Commissioner Allisson Herren Lee confirmed that climate change was now “front and centre” at the financial regulator.
But now the SEC is facing an important test of its commitment to climate action - one which will indicate the extent to which it has broken with its previous rulings under the Trump administration.
Last month, US retail giant Costco petitioned the regulator to allow it to exclude a shareholder proposal calling on it to adopt short-, medium- and long-term, science-based 2050 Net Zero emissions reduction target…