“Increasing transparency makes markets more efficient, and economies more stable and resilient.”
—Michael R. Bloomberg, Chair of the TCFD
To help identify the information needed by investors, lenders, and insurance underwriters to appropriately assess and price climate-related risks and opportunities for the companies, the Financial Stability Board established an industry-led task force: the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) led by Michael Bloomberg. The Task Force was asked to develop voluntary, consistent climate-related financial disclosures that would be useful to investors, lenders, and insurance underwriters in understanding material risks.
In developing and finalizing its recommendations, the Task Force solicited input throughout the process. First, in April 2016, the Task Force sought public comment on the scope and high-level objectives of its work. As the Task Force developed its disclosure recommendations, it continued to solicit feedback through hundreds of industry interviews, meetings, and other touchpoints. Then, in December 2016, the Task Force issued its draft recommendations and sought public comment on the recommendations as well as certain key issues, receiving over 300 responses. The final report reflects the Task Force’s consideration of industry and other public feedback received throughout 2016 and 2017. Section E of the final report contains a summary of key issues raised by the industry as well as substantive changes to the report since December.
The Task Force recommends that preparers of climate-related financial disclosures provide such disclosures in their mainstream (i.e., public) annual financial filings. In most G20 jurisdictions, companies with public debt or equity have a legal obligation to disclose material information in their financial filings—including material climate-related information. The Task Force believes climate-related issues are or could be material for many organizations, and its recommendations should be useful to organizations in complying more effectively with existing disclosure obligations. In addition, disclosure in mainstream financial filings should foster shareholder engagement and broader use of climate-related financial disclosures, thus promoting a more informed understanding of climate-related risks and opportunities by investors and others. The Task Force also believes that publication of climate-related financial information in mainstream annual financial filings will help ensure that appropriate controls govern the production and disclosure of the required information. More specifically, the Task Force expects the governance processes for these disclosures would be similar to those used for existing public financial disclosures and would likely involve review by the chief financial officer and audit committee, as appropriate.
Importantly, organizations should make financial disclosures in accordance with their national disclosure requirements. If certain elements of the recommendations are incompatible with national disclosure requirements for financial filings, the Task Force encourages organizations to disclose those elements in other official company reports that are issued at least annually, widely distributed and available to investors and others, and subject to internal governance processes that are the same or substantially similar to those used for financial reporting.
The Task Force structured its recommendations around four thematic areas that represent core elements of how organizations operate: governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets. The four overarching recommendations are supported by recommended disclosures that build out the framework with information that will help investors and others understand how reporting organizations assess climate-related risks and opportunities. In addition, there is guidance to support all organizations in developing climate-related financial disclosures consistent with the recommendations and recommended disclosures. The guidance assists preparers by providing context and suggestions for implementing the recommended disclosures. For the financial sector and certain non-financial sectors, supplemental guidance was developed to highlight important sector-specific considerations and provide a fuller picture of potential climate-related financial impacts in those sectors.
One of the Task Force’s key recommended disclosures focuses on the resilience of an organization’s strategy, taking into consideration different climate-related scenarios, including a 2° Celsius or lower scenario. An organization’s disclosure of how its strategies might change to address potential climate-related risks and opportunities is a key step to better understand the potential implications of climate change on the organization. The Task Force recognizes the use of scenarios in assessing climate-related issues and their potential financial implications is relatively recent and practices will evolve over time, but believes such analysis is important for improving the disclosure of decision-useful, climate-related financial information.
Read the final recommendations here