The importance of looking forward to manage risks: submission to the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures

Submission made to the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, which was set up in December 2015 by the Financial Stability Board to “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 is chaired by Michael Bloomberg, and published its initial findings in March 2016. It is due to publish its final report by the end of 2016.

The submission states: “[There is a] gap between what politicians have signed up to in Paris and what markets and fossil fuel companies are assuming. This gap should alarm policy-makers and central bankers: it suggests either asymmetric information or a lack of credibility in policies”

The authors argue that companies should not only disclose the “carbon exposure” of their past activities, but they should also undertake an assessment of forward-looking business risks.

They call for companies to carry out ‘stress tests’ for the risks associated with climate change, including business risks from new policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to disclose to investors their findings, as well as their strategies for dealing with those risks.