climatechangedisclosure

The NFP sector has undergone significant change since the release of the Principles in 2013. Regulatory reform, disruption to funding patterns and an increasingly complex operational environment have reshaped the sector in many ways. The AICD is undertaking a consultation to review the Principles and ensure they reflect the new challenges and opportunities facing governance leaders in the NFP sector.

The response says, “The financial disclosure requirements contained in the Corporations Act 2001 are principles-based and provide a flexible framework for financial disclosure”.

All of this means that the Government consider that a disclosure framework covering climate change risks already exist. It then follows that potential liability exists for directors that do not adequately address these requirements in a way most relevant to their organisation.

The Government, in its response, agreed in principle with two of the six Committee recommendations, namely:

  1. The Government encourages the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to review its guidance material to ensure it continues to provide appropriate principles and high level guidance that stakeholders can apply in meeting their disclosure obligations under the Corporations Act 2001; and
  2. The Government encourages the ASX Corporate Governance Council to continue to keep the Principles and Recommendations and the guidance material under review to ensure it provides an appropriate framework and to ensure the corporate governance of ASX listed entities remains best practice.

The remaining 4 recommendations – relating to law reform to create mandatory reporting obligations as well as the need for the government to develop a stable and consistent climate change policy - of the Senate Economic References Committee were noted in the Government response.

The Government response also welcomed the release of the Final Report of the Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and encouraged all stakeholders to carefully consider the recommendations.

The TCFD recommendations along with its implementation guidance were released in June 2017, and in Australia we are already seeing it gaining momentum. The recommendations have been referenced in a number of annual reports of large listed entities, with the supporters list rapidly growing. Thus far, Australian organisations such as BHP, ANZ, AGL, NAB, Westpac and Aurizon are amongst those large corporates which have signed up. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has also expressed its support for the TCFD recommendations.

AICD webinar on climate change and board decision making

The AICD will be running a free member webinar with experts, Sarah Barker MAICD and Sam Mostyn MAICD and Non-Executive Director, entitled The Impact of Climate Change on Board Decisions on Risk and Strategy on Tuesday 29 May 2018 at 12pm.

With legal experts and regulators all indicating that climate risks are foreseeable now, members should be asking the following questions:

  • Should climate change be a board agenda item? It is material?
  • How is climate change covered in the existing risk reporting of management to the board?
  • Is there any long term value in addressing climate change risks in the organisation’s strategy?

The webinar will help answer these questions and provide information on the impact on directors’ liability, the risks and opportunities to be considered, and existing disclosure requirements.