A global task force set up by the G20 has developed a voluntary framework for companies to disclose the financial impact of climate-related risks and opportunities, drawing support from more than 100 companies with $11 trillion of assets. There are concerns in the financial community that assets are being mispriced because the full extent of climate risk is not being factored in, threatening market stability. As a result, demand is growing from investors, shareholders, lenders, underwriters and the public for more meaningful and transparent climate-related financial information.
The TCFD said organizations should disclose their governance around climate risks and opportunities and the actual and potential impacts of those risks and opportunities on the business, strategy and financial planning, taking into account a global climate pact to limit global average temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius. They should also disclose the processes used to identify, assess and manage risks and opportunities and the metrics and targets used to assess and manage them.
Although several disclosure frameworks have emerged to meet this demand, there is no single standardized framework across the Group of 20 leading economies. The Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) was set up by the G20’s Financial Stability Board to provide such a framework to improve the ability to assess and price climate-related risk and opportunities. In a report, the TCFD developed recommendations for climate-related financial disclosures, applying to financial sector organisations, including banks, insurance companies, asset managers and asset owners.
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“The Task Force’s recommendations have been developed by the market for the market,” said FSB chair Mark Carney, who is also the governor of the Bank of England. “Widespread adoption will provide investors, banks and insurers with that information, helping minimise the risk that market adjustments to climate change will be incomplete, late and potentially destabilising,” he added.
Although the guidelines are voluntary some of the board’s 32 members would like them to become mandatory. It recommended organizations provide climate-related financial disclosures in their public annual financial filings. More than 100 business leaders and their companies, such as insurance groups AXA and Aviva, oil major Royal Dutch Shell, mining group BHP Billiton and Virgin Group, have committed to support the recommendations.
“Investors are pleased to see this industry-led forum publish a robust framework applicable across all sectors and jurisdictions,” said Peter Damgaard Jensen, chief executive of Danish pension fund manager PKA and chair of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change. “Greater climate-related financial disclosure in line with the TCFD’s four widely adoptable recommendations is crucial to secure more complete, meaningful, reliable and consistent data across all companies and sectors,” he added.