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California imposes climate disclosures and assurance

Hot Topic | April 2024

Updated: The ESG reporting landscape expands with the addition of broad reaching state-level climate disclosure rules.

In October 2023, the California Governor signed three climate disclosure laws that will shape climate disclosure practices beyond the state’s borders.

SB-253 and SB-261 apply to US businesses that meet specified revenue thresholds and do business in California. The California Air Resource Board is working through the operational details, including concerns raised by the Governor about implementation costs and timeline.

AB-1305 applies to US and international companies that undertake specified activities in California.


Relevant dates

  • The laws were signed by Governor Newsom in Oct 2023
  • SB-253 and SB-261 are effective for reporting in 2026
  • AB-1305 was effective Jan 1, 2024; a proposed amendment would change that date to Jan 1, 2025

Key impacts

There has been mounting pressure from governments and shareholders for companies to disclose their GHG emissions, describe their use of carbon offsets and report on climate-related risks. For most US companies, the current approach for such disclosures relies largely on voluntary reporting.

This is changing, as evidenced by reporting requirements on the national level (the SEC’s climate rule, now stayed) and international developments (standards from the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and European Sustainability Reporting Standards). The California laws represent a new dimension, with state-level requirements that have national and international implications.

In the movement to improve transparency and standardize climate-related disclosures, California passed three laws that apply to both public and private US companies (and other business entities) that either undertake in specified activities in California or do business in California – whether or not they are physically present in the state.

Report contents

  • Fast facts, impacts 
  • Background 
  • A broad scope 
  • Targeted disclosures 
  • Effective dates are coming soon 
  • Assurance required from the outset
  • Comparison to the SEC’s climate rule
  • It’s all about the value chain  

Download the document:

ESG in the US

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Meet our team

Image of Julie Santoro
Julie Santoro
Partner, Dept. of Professional Practice, Sustainability, KPMG US
Image of Marissa Gerdes
Marissa Gerdes
Senior Manager, Dept. of Professional Practice, KPMG US

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