The current complexity and unpredictability of global markets has brought environment and climate matters to the forefront of trends affecting companies and capital markets. Additionally, there is growing recognition that organisations need to consider whether environmental and climate-related matters are financially material, including the potential impacts from the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.
Major events and initiatives are driving the climate agenda forward. In 2015, a landmark global agreement was reached enshrining into international law the need to limit mean annual global temperature rise to 2°C or lower. Both financial and non-financial groups, through the auspices of the Financial Stability Board, have attempted to address this systemic risk through delivering on the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
The new, multi-faceted perspectives and criteria being used to judge corporate performance are having profound effects on the way in which companies prepare and include content in their corporate reports, particularly in relation to links between climate and financial information. There is growing demand for information about how corporate activity jeopardizes or contributes to long-term sustainability goals, including dependencies and impacts on the natural system. There is also growing demand for information that helps us understand the potential impact of climate change on the financial systemEnrol in this course to learn out about the basics of climate-related disclosure.
The demand for decision-useful climate-related information by a range of participants in the financial markets has continued to grow over the last decade. However, evidence suggests that the lack of consistent information hinders investors and others from considering climate-related issues in their asset valuation, allocation and decision-making processes.
The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) was set up in 2015 to deliver a set of recommendations for voluntary company financial disclosures of climate-related risks. Provided they are used by investors, creditors and underwriters, disclosures on climate-related risk can:
- Improve market pricing and reduce the potential or large, abrupt corrections in asset values that can destabilise financial markets;
- Reveal underlying system wide exposures; and
- Help market participants and other stakeholders assess to what extent companies are considering and managing climate-related risks and opportunities.
The history of accountancy is a story of responding to new market opportunities, changing demands and expectations, and new legal requirements. Climate change is increasingly becoming an important consideration as capital providers better understand that climate change presents both material risks and opportunities to businesses in the short-, medium- and long-terms.
Climate change can no longer be viewed in isolation from business processes, functions or reporting channels, presenting both new challenges and opportunities for the accountancy profession. Companies and investors are looking towards accountants to provide the expertise on how to incorporate climate-related issues into financial planning.
Accountants are already well-equipped to play an essential role in preparing company policies, developing business cases, and in identifying, measuring and managing climate-related business risks. This includes developing and using management accountancy systems to collate climate-related data and information with the same rigour as financial data and information. Accountants can guide reporting entities to meet the demands of increased transparency, by helping to provide and present relevant and reliable information in a meaningful, consistent and comparable manner.
Enrol in this course to obtain a better understanding of the role of accountants and how this might be applied to your role.
First complete Course 1 and Course 2 to obtain a better understanding of climate-related reporting.
Over the last two decades, it has become clearer that climate change will have a significant impact on business as it threatens the bottom line and creates risks to balance sheets and supply chains. The disruption caused by physical impacts (i.e. extreme weather, rising sea levels) in addition to impacts associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy (i.e. increased policy, stranded assets), could potentially lead to a variety of risks and opportunities for business. It is the role of the board and senior management to understand these potential positive and negative impacts and to ensure appropriate actions are taken to address climate-related risks and opportunities.
It is the duty of corporate boards to safeguard the long-term viability of their business. All members of the board, both executives and non-executives, need to gain a better understanding of climate change and how it might impact their business. By considering the potential impacts of climate change on their business, boards are able to get ahead of the curve and be in a better position as the impacts of climate change are realised. Intrinsically good governance should automatically include effective governance of climate-related risks and opportunities. Climate-related risk, defined as part of financial risk, should be addressed in existing governance and risk management processes. However, the unique and complex nature of climate change and the systemic risk it poses to business and society also requires special attention, and therefore a new corporate mindset is needed.
Increasingly, investors are scrutinising the actions taken by companies to manage climate-related risks and opportunities. An important element of this is the role of the board and senior management in the oversight and management of climate-related issues. To make a judgement on the efforts taken by companies and to inform investment decisions, investors rely on effective corporate disclosures. Companies are expected to disclose information about the governance and risk management processes adopted by companies to ensure climate-related risks and opportunities are embedded into strategic decision-making and business and financial planning.
The consequences of climate change are likely to impact us all as the potential physical and transition risks are far reaching in breadth and magnitude. The complexities associated with the changing climate, in addition to the transition to a net-zero carbon economy, pose a unique challenge for households, businesses and governments across industries and geographies. However, the magnitude and nature of the future impacts of these risks will be determined by the actions taken today, which need to be credible and forward-looking.
In particular, businesses are increasingly facing financial risks associated with climate change. Financial losses, sudden adjustments in asset values, and the increasing cost of capital are just some examples of the financial implications if these climate change risks are not effectively identified, measured, managed, monitored and disclosed. By incorporating climate financial risks into existing risk management processes and by considering the potential future pathways, organisations will be able to make their businesses resilient.
Enrol in this course to learn about managing financial risks from climate change.
The appreciation and demand for decision-useful environmental, social and governance (ESG) information has risen over the last two decades. Companies are increasingly expected to provide evidence about how they are contributing to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and how they are responding to complex and interwoven socio-economic and environmental challenges. This information can then be used by capital providers (investors, lenders and insurers) to efficiently allocate capital towards a more sustainable future and underwrite associated risks.
The European Union (EU) introduced the Directive 2014/95/EU on the Disclosure of Non-Financial and Diversity Information (NFR Directive), amending the Accounting Directive Accounting Directive 2013/34/EU. Companies are obliged to disclose sustainability information across a number of content categories including, their business models, policies, risks, outcomes and KPIs. This covers environmental matters, social and employee aspects, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery issues. The NFR Directive is a key element of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan and is designed to enhance corporate transparency.
This e-learning course specifically focuses on the disclosure of climate and environmental matters as required under the NFR Directive.
Enrol in this course to learn about the NFR Directive reporting requirements and how to apply them to your organisation.