Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures
About the Task Force
“Increasing transparency makes markets more efficient, and economies more stable and resilient.” — Michael R. Bloomberg, Chair
The FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) will develop voluntary, consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies in providing information to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders.
The Task Force will consider the physical, liability and transition risks associated with climate change and what constitutes effective financial disclosures across industries.
The work and recommendations of the Task Force will help companies understand what financial markets want from disclosure in order to measure and respond to climate change risks, and encourage firms to align their disclosures with investors’ needs.
What is the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures?
- The TCFD seeks to develop recommendations for voluntary climate-related financial disclosures that are consistent, comparable, reliable, clear, and efficient, and provide decision-useful information to lenders, insurers, and investors.
- The TCFD’s 31 members were chosen by the FSB to include both users and preparers of disclosures from across the G20’s constituency covering a broad range of economic sectors and financial markets.
Why is this important?
- Better access to data will enhance how climate-related risks are assessed, priced, and managed. Companies can more effectively measure and evaluate their own risks and those of their suppliers and competitors. Investors will make better informed decisions on where and how they want to allocate their capital. Lenders, insurers and underwriters will be better able to evaluate their risks and exposures over the short, medium, and long-term.
- Though great work has been done by NGOs in this space, as an industry-led initiative, the TCFD represents an opportunity to bring climate-related financial reporting to a mainstream audience.
- The TCFD engages extensively with key stakeholders to ensure that it builds on existing work and produces recommendations that can be used by the private sector, globally.
What progress has the Task Force made?
- After holding two plenary meetings, one in London and one in Singapore respectively, the Task Force presented its Phase I Report to the Financial Stability Board during the FSB’s March 31, 2016 plenary meeting in Tokyo. The FSB “welcomed” the Task Force’s Phase I Report. The G20 “received” the Phase I report “and looks forward to considering the final report and recommendations in early 2017.”
- The Phase I report was posted on April 1, 2016 on the Task Force’s website and was open for a public consultation period until May 31, 2016. The report has five main components:
- A review of existing climate-related disclosure initiatives
- The scope and high-level objectives of the Task Force
- Fundamental principles for effective disclosure
- Plans for stakeholder outreach and public consultation
- Plans for moving forward in Phase II.
The Task Force held its third plenary meeting in Washington, DC in May.
What are the Task Force’s next steps?
- Subsequent plenary meetings of the Task Force will be held on July 12-13 (New York), September 13-14 (Paris), and November 15-16 (London).
- The Task Force is committed to engaging and soliciting input from a broad spectrum of stakeholders.
The Task Force plans to deliver its recommendations to the FSB at the end of December.
The Phase I Report was welcomed by the FSB on March 31, 2016. The Task Force will deliver final recommendations to the FSB at the end of December 2016.
Phase I Report: Executive Summary
Many users and providers of financial capital increasingly recognize the risks and opportunities inherent in a changing climate, and there has been a corresponding increase in demand for decision-useful information. Nevertheless, users of climate-related financial disclosures commonly identify inconsistencies in disclosure practices, a lack of context for information, and uncomparable reporting as major obstacles to incorporating climate-related risks as a consideration in their investment, credit, and underwriting decisions. Enhanced disclosures on climate-related risks that are used by investors, creditors, and underwriters can improve market pricing and transparency and thereby reduce the potential of large, abrupt corrections in asset values that can destabilize financial markets.
At the request of the G20, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) engaged the private and public sector to review how the financial sector can incorporate climate-related issues in financial reporting. In December 2015, the FSB established the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures to undertake a coordinated assessment of what constitutes efficient and effective disclosure and design a set of recommendations for voluntary company financial disclosures of climate-related risks that are responsive to the needs of lenders, insurers, investors, and other users of disclosures. The Task Force membership spans private providers of capital, major issuers, accounting firms, and rating agencies, thereby presenting a unique opportunity to form a collaborative partnership between the users and preparers of financial reports.
The Task Force’s Remit
A key objective of the Task Force’s work, as outlined by the FSB, is to promote more effective climate- related disclosures that (1) will support informed investment, credit, and insurance underwriting decisions about reporting companies, and (2) will enable a variety of stakeholders to understand the concentrations of carbon-related assets in the financial sector and the financial system’s exposures to climate-related risk.
The Task Force has been asked to deliver two reports:
A first report (to be delivered by March 31, 2016) that will set out the scope and high-level objectives for the proposed work, together with a set of fundamental principles of disclosure, to provide an enduring disclosure framework and guide the Task Force’s Phase II recommendations.
A final report (to be delivered by the end of 2016) that will set out specific recommendations and guidelines for voluntary disclosure by identifying leading practices to improve consistency, accessibility, clarity, and usefulness of climate-related financial reporting.
In keeping with the FSB remit, this Phase I Report discusses four key areas:
First, the Task Force has conducted a high-level review of the existing landscape of climate-related disclosures—including current voluntary and mandatory climate-related disclosure regimes—to identify commonalities, gaps, and areas for improvement. The review highlighted the progress that has been made by governments, stock exchanges, nongovernmental organizations (NGO), and others in the context of disclosure frameworks. At the same time, despite these successes, climate-related disclosure remains fragmented and incomplete, with only a limited number of reporting regimes focusing on the financial risks posed by climate-related impacts. In general, existing laws and regulations already require disclosure of climate-related risk in financial filings if it is deemed material. The Task Force plans to build on existing work to provide a framework that promotes alignment and focuses on financial risks stemming from physical and nonphysical climate-related impacts (including transition and liability risks) to better meet the specific needs of users and preparers. The approach will be market-driven.
2. Objectives and scope
Second, the Phase I Report defines the scope and objectives of our work for Phase II. The Task Force’s recommendations in Phase II will target climate-related financial disclosures pertaining to near-, medium- , and long-term physical and nonphysical impacts faced by both nonfinancial companies and the financial sector, with the goal of furthering market understanding and evaluation of relevant financial risks and opportunities. The Task Force will consider the features and characteristics of information to be disclosed—including quantitative, qualitative, historical, and forward-looking metrics—and how disclosures are used, analyzed, and aggregated. The Task Force will focus primarily on developing recommendations for issuers of public securities, listed companies, and key financial-sector participants. The Task Force will seek to promote and drive voluntary adoption by ensuring that its recommendations reflect a consensus view of leading practices for disclosure; advance principles of good governance, fiduciary duty, and stewardship; and provide a basis for consistent and comparable application by firms in countries throughout the G20.
3. Fundamental principles for effective disclosures
Third, the Task Force has identified seven fundamental principles that are critical for an effective regime for climate-related financial disclosure, summarized as follows:
- Present relevant information
- Be specific and complete
- Be clear, balanced, and understandable
- Be consistent over time
- Be comparable among companies within a sector, industry, or portfolio
- Be reliable, verifiable, and objective
- Be provided on a timely basis
These principles will underpin the Task Force’s Phase II recommendations for enhancing climate-related disclosures and provide an enduring framework for future work on these issues.
4. Stakeholder outreach and engagement
The Task Force is strongly committed to extensive stakeholder engagement and public consultation, soliciting input from nonprofit organizations, industry, the official sector, and academia and ensuring that our work builds on their efforts.
Terms of Reference for Phase II
The Task Force will focus next on the financial impact of climate change on reporting companies’ businesses, as the starting point for the development of recommendations for voluntary disclosures within mainstream financial reports. In general, climate-related disclosures should be subject to good- governance processes and address as comprehensively as possible the significant impacts of climate change on the company’s business and the company’s strategy for managing related risks. The fundamental principles will underpin the Task Force’s work on these issues in Phase II of the project.
In order to conduct our work, the Task Force will hold four additional plenary meetings in the remainder of the year. In Phase II, we will organize ourselves into four workstreams:
- The governance workstream will focus on developing a common and baseline set of recommendations for voluntary disclosures pertaining to the processes that guide how boards and management consider these issues across sectors.
- Two other workstreams, on nonfinancial companies and the financial sector, will consider further industry-specific recommendations.
- The stakeholder outreach and communications workstream will continue to support the Task Force’s engagement strategy.The workstreams will consist of a balance of users, preparers, and other experts to ensure that findings reflect the challenges faced by preparers, the needs of users, and a variety of functional, regional, and industry perspectives.
- Transparency and Consultation
We recognize that effective engagement requires an open and transparent process. The Task Force will continue to proactively connect with a broad array of interested stakeholders.
In tandem with the April 1, 2016, publication of the report, the Task Force posted a structured, online form open for a two-month public consultation on our work in Phase II. Respondents with additional comments were able to submit a comment letter during the consultation period. The public consultation period has been closed as of May 31, 2016.
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