Integrating climate risk into the finance sector

Published: 17 May 2017
Author: Communications
Type: Insight

On 15 May 2017, WBCSD co-organized an official side event at the UNFCCC Bonn Intersessionals with the We Mean Business Coalition (WMB), the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

In case you missed it, here are some of the key takeaways:

During the event, stakeholders from government, civil society and business explored how the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations can help leaders better manage climate risks and opportunities.

Throughout the panel, representatives from each organization expressed support for the TCFD recommendations.

They also stated that G20 governments must send a clear message to the international community reaffirming their commitment to the recommendations and the Paris Agreement.

Here’s what they said:

Norbert Gorissen, the Head of International Climate Finance for Germany at the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety presented the latest political state of play in the context of the G20 negotiations.

He highlighted that climate change is a top priority for Germany, especially as it’s hosting the G20 Presidency. As such, Germany has adopted a 2050 plan to reduce carbon emissions in the long term and to fully implement the Paris Agreement.

Mr. Gorrisen told the audience that Chancellor Angela Merkel is also determined to progress on the climate action agenda, and as a result, has created a specific G20 Working Group on Sustainability. This group has presented the G20 Action plan on Climate and Energy for Growth to the G20 Heads of States for consideration.

Mr. Gorissen also stated that the TCFD work will be critical for achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and for helping Germany meet its climate commitments (NDCs).

The outlook is more positive since late April, when the G20 Finance Ministers agreed in Washington DC to put the TCFD recommendations back on the G20 agenda, and urged companies to consider the implementing the recommendations themselves (see the Chair’s summary).

Mr. Gorrisen also noted that private sector support, including from WBCSD and investors, has definitely helped steer the G20 finance ministers in a more positive direction, as there is now momentum to secure a better outcome on climate and the TCFD recommendations at the G20 summit in July.

Lois Guthrie, Director Redefining Value at WBCSD and Founding Director of the Climate Disclosure Standard Board presented the TCFD work as truly innovative in setting new standards for reporting and risk management across the private sector.

This work, she said, is so important that many coalitions and private sector partners have come out in support of the FSB TCFD recommendations.

Ms. Guthrie also mentioned that WBCSD has been pleased to support the collective WMB statement in support of the TCFD recommendations, underlining that businesses across WBCSD and the Coalition are calling on all G20 leaders to:

1)      Reaffirm their commitments to implement the Paris Agreement;

2)      Introduce effective economic incentives for transitioning to a low-carbon world, including carbon pricing mechanisms and fossil fuel subsidies reform as soon as possible;

3)    Support the TCFD Recommendations to disclose and address climate-related financial risks and opportunities.

She also mentioned that the evolution of corporate culture is key for addressing climate risk - as it requires corporate leaders to take a proactive attitude. She pointed to some great examples of this kind of leadership within WBCSD.

Ed Wells, Head of Global Markets Policy- Infrastructure and Sustainability, speaking on behalf of HSBC, emphasized the scale of the problem HSBC faces as a financial institution trying to access good quality information to better manage climate risks.

The company has already taken the lead, commissioning a survey on the topic with many corporate clients and potential clients, he said.

One of the top challenges they mention is that there is no common framework to compare climate related risks and financial disclosure. This is why the work of the FSB TCFD is important. The recommendations could help to shift the trillions in investment towards a low carbon world.

“We know that the FSB TCFD recommendations are not perfect, but the role of the private sector is to take the lead and start implementing its broad principles,” Mr. Wells said.

Overall, the event was successful in showing that there’s a growing consensus: we need to improve climate related financial disclosure as soon as possible, and it’s in everyone’s interest to act fast. 

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