The task force charged with defining new corporate disclosures related to climate change has released its recommendations, with metrics and the role of company boards among the key issues.
The Financial Stability Board’s (FSB’s) Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures released its much-awaited report yesterday. Among the recommendations are that organisations publish the metrics they use to assess climate change risk, as well as the targets used for managing the risk.
Also recommended for disclosure is a description of the “board’s oversight” of climate risk, alongside a review of management’s role in assessing climate-related risks and opportunities.
The report also recommends reporting on how climate change might affect business strategy and financial planning.
A further recommendation called on companies to describe how their “processes for identifying, assessing, and managing climate-related risks are integrated into the organization’s overall risk management.”
Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England and chair of the FSB, said: “The disclosure recommendations will give financial markets the information they need to manage risks, and seize opportunities, stemming from climate change.
“As a private sector solution to a market issue, the Task Force has focused on the practical, material disclosures investors want and which all capital-raising companies can compile.”
Michael Bloomberg, chair of the Task Force, said: “Climate change is not only an environmental problem, but a business one as well. We need business leaders to join us to help spread these recommendations across their industries in order to help make markets more efficient and economies more stable, resilient, and sustainable.”
The recommendations now go out for a 60-day consultation, but they received immediate support. Richard Howitt, chief executive of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), said: “The IIRC believes implementation of the Task Force recommendations can be a major step towards ending the fragmented approach to the management, measurement and disclosure of climate-related financial risks.
“Investors need a complete picture of value creation to price in future risks and opportunities, and genuine action to combat climate change can only be achieved if it makes sense in capital markets.”
However, there were doubts. Environmental campaign group ClientEarth said it was concerned the recommendations might be used by companies and regulators to avoid enforcement of existing laws.
ClientEarth senior lawyer, Alice Garton, said: “A company’s legal duty to disclose material risks is clear and this duty applies equally to climate risk.
“These recommendations should set the standard for compliance with these existing laws. It shouldn’t be an ‘either/or’ choice but there’s a very real danger that some companies and regulators will treat it as such.
“It is already evident that financial regulators are not providing adequate oversight of climate-related risk disclosures and enforcement.”