3 min read

Understanding what climate change means for business

Developed in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), our climate change website is helping our clients to plant sustainable business practices firmly on the agenda.

Scientists are unanimous in what they believe failure to reduce current levels of carbon dioxide emissions will mean for the planet. Yet while the dire effects of climate change on humanity and ecosystems are well known, the impact on business is less well understood.

Since its launch in June, there have been over 5,000 visits to the Deloitte Climate Change website and learning programme, designed to help directors and finance professionals educate themselves on the issues.

The problem

This year, as it has for the past three years, the World Economic Forum's annual meeting at Davos cited climate change as the biggest threat to the global economy. With climate change driving some of the most profound changes to businesses in our lifetime, as trusted advisers, we have a duty to share our insight with the boards of companies and auditors who challenge the information they report.

From disruption to our products, services, supply chains, markets and asset values, to the acceleration of policy and regulatory change, we are waking up to the drastic action necessary to protect humanity, our planet, and our livelihoods.

Transition to a low-carbon economy will affect every single business and every one of our clients. Today, more than ever before, regulators need clarity, customers expect green standards to be met and employees choose to work for businesses that can demonstrate that their values and purpose are aligned. Consequently, companies will need to implement change, manage risk and exploit new opportunities to protect their value and businesses for the future.

Leading the way

Our website supports our clients ask the right questions about climate change at board level and understand its implications on financial statements and reporting. It is helping to plug the essential gaps highlighted by the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Status Report 2019, to enhance climate-related financial disclosures, and provide better information to investors.

Short videos, interviews with experts and other resources help them navigate challenges and build appropriate financial resilience in their business models to help them to withstand potential global shocks.

Impact to date

In the few weeks since it launched, high-profile organisations are supporting the project, include the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Hughes Hall Centre for Climate Change Engagement, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), and The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S). Hughes Hall's Chapter Zero: The Directors’ Forum is using the learning videos as its prime resource.

Next steps

The website is just the first step in raising awareness. Our plans include working with supporters, including CBI and ChapterZero, on workshops and seminars, working with clients to bring climate change onto the board agenda and applying a climate change lens to the way we conduct audits.

We’re proud that, so far, more than 70 of our people have been inspired by the approach and volunteered their time to help our clients make the change we all want see.

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