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March 11, 2016

Sustainability’s new contender

By Vincent Huck

Sustainability, climate change and non-financial reporting initiatives are proliferating even though businesses do not seem to see climate and environment as a risk. There is a new entrant: the TCFD or Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, established by the Financial Stability Board at the end of last year under the chairmanship of Michael Bloomberg


Sustainability, climate change and non-financial reporting initiatives are proliferating even though businesses do not seem to see climate and environment as a risk.

This was particularly evident in the latest World Economic Forum Global Risks Report. This year’s report included a focus on the impact of global risks on the business community based on a survey of 13,000 executives in 140 economies and found that no executive considers environmental issues as the primary risk for doing business.

This perception seems to contrast greatly with the number of initiatives aiming at making businesses reporting include more environmental and social material information. Indeed, the list is long and it is easy to get lost in the sea of acronyms: INCR, IIGCC, CTI, WBCSD, IIRC, GRI, GSSB, CDP, CDSB, SASB…

Within this list comes a new entrant: TCFD or Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. TCDF was established by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) at the end of last year under the chairmanship of Michael Bloomberg. It aims at developing voluntary, consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies in providing information to lenders, insurers, investors and other stakeholders.

On 9 February 2016 TCFD held its first plenary meeting, at Bloomberg’s European Headquarters in London. Aside from the plenary meeting a special session open to the public was organised. It hosted parties from industry, finance, government and not-for-profits, to explore the principles, challenges and best practices of current climate related disclosure, from relevant organisations and standard setters.

"But why a new initiative?" Mary Schapiro, the former USA Security and Exchange Commission chair, now special advisor to Mike Bloomberg, rhetorically asked in introducing the task force special session.

"First, and above all, we build on the work of tremendous people who have done phenomenal work in the space of climate-related risk disclosure. Our goal is to pull that together and create a framework going forward," she said.

The TFCD is expected to publish its first report at the end of March, which will determine the scope and objectives for its work. The TFCD will then focus on delivering specific recommendations for voluntary disclosure principles and leading practices, with the aim to finish its work by end-2016.

Read the full article: In the name of sustainability

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