Investors rally to turn COP23 talk into action
Bonn, November 13, 2017. The US government may have announced plans to pull out of the Paris Agreement but this has not derailed climate progress around the globe as investors, governments and other stakeholders look to ramp up their climate commitments at COP23.
According to a new survey published in September by financial market researchers East & Partners on behalf of HSBC, institutional investors are gearing up to plough increasing amounts of cash into the low carbon transition, with two-thirds saying they plan to increase their level of investment in climate mitigation efforts.
“We are seeing remarkable progress and resolve around the globe by investors and companies on tackling climate change,” said Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of the sustainability non-profit organization Ceres. “Climate risk is a defining corporate challenge of the 21st century. Those that fail to take action will be putting their future at increased risk of failure and those that act will reap the rewards.”
Disclosure on how companies plan to transition their businesses to a low carbon environment is seen as key for investors to better plan their investment strategies. It has also been a fundamental part of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, announced in June 2017, which are focused on improving clarity and comparability of climate disclosures, across four corporate areas: Governance, Strategy, Risk Management; and; Metrics and Targets.
“We believe the TCFD’s robust framework provides an essential foundation for investors and others to better assess and effectively price climate-related risks and opportunities, so disclosure of this kind must become a routine part of annual corporate reporting practice,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive of the IIGCC.
“The recommendations make a great leap forward in standardizing climate-related financial disclosure and enabling investors to compare impacts across companies and sectors,” added Mark Campanale, founder and executive director of Carbon Tracker.
To showcase how investors, the finance sector and companies are working with each other and governments to ensure greater disclosure of climate-related financial information, a side event: Actions on Disclosure of Climate Risks and Opportunities, will be held on at COP23 on 15 November. The event will include two panel discussions with experts from the finance and business sectors. The event is being organised by AIGCC, Carbon Tracker, CDP, Ceres, IGCC, IIGCC, PRI, and UNEP FI.
“The TCFD recommendations represent an important milestone in the recognition of climate change—which our signatories have identified as their biggest concern—as a systemic financial risk. This is why, beginning in 2018, the PRI will start to align its reporting framework to the recommendations,” said managing director, Fiona Reynolds.
“The TCFD recommendations are already helping Australasian investors understand how the effects of climate change and the market response will impact portfolios and to identify investment solutions to build resilience and generate low carbon returns”, said Emma Herd, Chief Executive Officer of the Investor Group on Climate Change.
A hallmark of the TCFD’s disclosure framework is the recommendation that organisations provide climate-related financial disclosures in their main annual financial filings, and that companies determine materiality for climate-related issues consistent with how they determine the materiality of other information included in their filings.
“As a result of increasing levels of investor support for climate disclosure more than 6,200 companies have disclosed their climate performance through CDP this year. The TCFD recommendations will help further strengthen and scale disclosure and ensure we close the loop on climate risk in capital markets.” noted Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP.
“Investors in Asia are beginning to realise the material risks of ESG issues, particularly climate change, to their portfolios, so the recommendations provide essential guidance on what they should be asking from the companies in which they invest,” said Rebecca Mikula-Wright, Director of the AIGCC.
“The TCFD framework – through its emphasis on forward-looking assessments and scenario analysis – has the potential to get corporate and financial organisations to more fully understand – and disclose – the climate-related risks and opportunities they face. At UNEP FI, we will support our members in adopting the recommendations and help accelerate TCFD disclosure practice in the financial industry.” explained Eric Usher, Head UNEP FI.
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