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Major corporations told to agree climate risk reporting rules

The governor of the Bank of England has urged major corporations across the world to agree rules for climate risk reporting before mandatory regulations are forced on them.

09 OCT 2019 | CHRIS SEEKINGS
Materiality of climate risks "beyond doubt" ©Shutterstock
Materiality of climate risks "beyond doubt" ©Shutterstock


Speaking at a conference held by the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) in Tokyo, Mark Carney said that demand for climate risk reporting is now “enormous”.

He warned that the UK and EU have signalled their desire for mandatory TCFD disclosures, and urged companies to use the next two reporting periods to make sure they are ready.

"The TCFD needs to reach a definitive view of what counts as a high-quality disclosure before they become mandatory," he explained.

"In my view, the next two reporting periods should balance the urgency of the task and the imperative of getting it right."

The TCFD published recommendations for companies looking to disclose climate risks in 2017, and support has skyrocketed ever since.

Organisations backing the TCFD now control balance sheets totalling $120trn (£98trn), and include some of the world’s largest pension funds, insurers, banks and asset managers.

Four-fifths of the top 1,100 global companies are now disclosing climate-related financial risks in line with at least some of the TCFD recommendations.

However, Carney warned that more is required from the private sector, and said that businesses, banks, insurers and investors must increase the quantity and quality of disclosures.

He also urged stakeholders to refine disclosure metrics to determine which ones are most useful, and spread knowledge on how to assess strategic resilience.

Moreover, he called on investors to disclose the extent to which portfolios are ready for the transition to a net zero carbon economy.

Joanne Etherton, climate finance lawyer at ClientEarth, said that the materiality of climate risks is “beyond doubt”, and that firms must now prove resilience to their investors.

"Carney is crystal clear that companies must raise their game on climate-related reporting,” she continued.

“The TCFD framework is the global industry standard, and to fulfil clear investor and regulatory demands, and companies’ own legal duties, it’s hard to imagine a credible excuse not to use it.

“To get ahead of inevitable regulatory trends and investor pressure, companies urgently need to align their strategies to Paris Agreement goals. Disclosure is an essential first step.”


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