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US Securities & Exchange Commission releases final rule requiring oil, gas, mining companies to disclose payments to govts.

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28 June 2016

SEC Issues Long-Awaited Transparency Rule for Oil, Gas and Mining

Author: Marco Simons, EarthRights International (USA)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a landmark transparency rule yesterday requiring oil, gas and mining companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to disclose the payments they make to the U.S. and foreign governments. In 2010, Congress mandated the rule in Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, in order to provide critical information to investors and help communities in resource-rich countries hold their governments accountable for the responsible management of billions of dollars in extractive resource revenues…Section 1504 inspired similar disclosure laws around the world, setting a new global standard for transparency…Some companies, like Shell, Total and Statoil, are already reporting on their project-level payments in all countries of operation under those regulations without consequence, while others have voluntarily disclosed their payment information. The SEC’s rule intentionally aligns with those rules to ensure consistent reporting obligations…

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27 June 2016

News: SEC Releases Strong Oil, Gas and Mining Transparency Rule and Restores US Leadership

Author: Publish What You Pay US

[The] United States…celebrates today’s release by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of a long-awaited rule for the landmark transparency provision, Section 1504, of the Dodd-Frank Act. Section 1504… requires oil, gas and mining companies listed on US stock exchanges to publicly report, by project, the payments made to US and foreign governments for access to natural resources in all countries of operation.

PWYP-US, a civil society coalition dedicated to creating a more open and accountable extractives sector, has led the nearly six-year long effort to secure a strong Section 1504 rule. The implementing rule, which requires project-level reporting, by company, with no categorical exemptions for supposed host-country prohibitions, aligns with similar payment transparency requirements already in effect in 30 countries.

…Jana Morgan, Director of PWYP-US…[states] “This rule will give investors the tools they need to assess and mitigate risk in the volatile extractives market, as well as empower citizens to hold their governments accountable for how their resource wealth is used.”

…PWYP-US is disappointed that the SEC has allowed for an unnecessary two-year phase-in period before companies are required to report, as well as the provision allowing a one year delay in reporting for payments related to exploratory activities.

[Also refers to BHP Billiton, Eni, ExxonMobil, Total]


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27 June 2016

SEC Adopts Rules for Resource Extraction Issuers Under Dodd-Frank Act

Author: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission…announced it adopted rules to require resource extraction issuers to disclose payments made to governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas or minerals.  The rules, mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, are intended to further the statutory objective to advance U.S. foreign policy interests by promoting greater transparency about payments related to resource extraction...


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27 June 2016

SEC Announces Historic Transparency Rule For U.S. Oil, Gas and Mining Companies Doing Deals With Foreign Governments

Author: Global Witness

Today, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a landmark transparency rule which requires U.S.-listed oil, gas and mining companies to publish details of their payments to governments for the right to exploit a country’s natural resources. The rule, which follows more than 16 years of campaigning by Global Witness and our Publish What You Pay-US allies, has been celebrated by human rights and transparency advocates as a key step in curbing corruption and cutting poverty around the globe.

The new SEC measures will make it much harder to strike such deals, and enable citizens to “follow the money” generated by their country’s resources, understanding what revenue their country should be receiving in exchange for its natural wealth. The ruling requires companies to declare what they pay their governments for oil, gas and mining deals, broken down by country and by project.

Global Witness was the first organization to call for mandatory disclosure laws that would bring payments into the open... [Global Witness] was the co-founder of the Publish What You Pay campaign, which has since seen the European Union, the UK, Canada and Norway enacting transparency laws requiring companies to disclose project-level payments to governments.

…Having a common, global standard simplifies compliance for multinational companies and makes it possible for civil society to use and compare disclosures from different jurisdictions to hold their governments and the companies that exploit their resources accountable.

[Also refers to BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell]

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27 June 2016

Keynote Address, International Corporate Governance Network Annual Conference: Focusing the Lens of Disclosure to Set the Path Forward on Board Diversity, Non-GAAP, and Sustainability

Author: SEC Chair Mary Jo White, US Securities and Exchange Commission

Investors and regulators everywhere share a common interest in effective disclosures, robust corporate governance practices and strong corporate cultures, which are fundamental for fair and efficient markets and to achieve sustainable value.  But, as the preamble to ICGN’s Global Governance Principles acknowledges, there are differences from jurisdiction to jurisdiction as to what precisely we are trying to achieve and the tools available to us.  So, I thought I would begin by discussing the regulatory framework in the United States with respect to corporate governance matters and how the SEC, long known as “the disclosure agency,” fits into the framework.  Then, reflecting on the extent of the SEC’s disclosure authority, I will discuss my perspective on the work we are doing on three important subjects on your agenda – board diversity; non-GAAP financial measures; and sustainability reporting...

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