Farmers have begun to speak out against the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) proposed climate disclosure rule citing a plethora of negative effects it would have on our agriculture industry. With agriculture being a heavily relied on industry, Washington D.C. should listen.
The addition of Scope 3 emissions reporting in the proposed rule is a major red-flag for many. Scope 3 emissions reporting will be especially problematic for those in the agriculture business. In an op-ed for Bakersfield Californian, Washington state-based farmer Pam Lewison explains why. Scope 3 emissions are indirect greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and very difficult to accurately track or trace. Farmers specifically would have to track indirect emissions from everyone in the food supply chain whether it is truck drivers, food processors, grocery stores, or consumers. Lewison provides the following example:
“The food supply chain within the United States is largely made up of small- to mid-sized farms that send their products to processors to be made into something else… in Washington state, we have several wheat growers. Those wheat growers produce the grain that is sent to a flour mill. The mill turns the wheat berries into flour. The flour is shipped to a commercial bakery to be made into bread before being purchased and shipped to a grocery store for consumers to then buy.”
The cost of this would be tremendous and would eventually shutter many small and mid-sized farms.
The National Farmers Union also submitted a letter to the SEC stating their concerns of what effect Scope 3 reporting will have on their agricultural businesses. They believe Scope 3 reporting requirements “could be burdensome and challenging for small and mid-sized family operations to comply with.” In addition to being burdensome, the fact of the matter is these kinds of rules go far beyond the SEC’s purview.