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 Climate Change

Environment
Published on: July 28, 2021, 3:08 p.m.
Risks and opportunities
  • If climate risk disclosures are rising, why is the carbon footprint not falling?

By Sabin Iqbal

Worldwide, businesses are finding it hard to publish their climate-related risks and opportunities and to take urgent steps to meet the expectations of regulations as well as investors, finds a report.

The report by leading consultancy EY, which covers 1,100 organisations in 42 countries, focused on their efforts to report climate-related financial information based on recommendation set by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

The scores of companies are based on the number of recommended disclosures that they make (coverage) and the extent or detail of each disclosure (quality).

Only half of companies examined worldwide make all recommended disclosures and therefore have full coverage, and on an average, the coverage was 70 per cent, according to The EY Global Climate Risk Disclosure Barometer 2021.

“Companies based in India presented 28 per cent on quality disclosure and 49 per cent coverage. Only 3 per cent of global companies reviewed meet the highest levels of quality and the average quality score is 42 per cent,” said an EY release said.

“Businesses around the world are struggling to manage the reporting of climate risks and should consider taking urgent action in order to meet the requirements and expectations of regulators and investors,” it noted.

In India, both coverage and quality of reporting remain below global averages. However, the number of Indian companies responding to disclosure platforms such as CDP is increasing. 2020 was the first year Indian companies featured on the CDP A List. In November 2020, 24 Indian companies signed a pledge to work with the Government toward achieving the 2015 United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference (Paris Agreement) goals, as part of the India CEO Forum on Climate Change. In the coming year, greater TCFD reporting is expected driven by pressure from financiers, investors and customers, the report said.

The number of Indian companies responding to disclosure platforms such as carbon disclosure project is on the rise. In the coming year, wider TCFD reporting is expected, driven by pressure from financiers, investors and customers, the release added.

Chaitanya Kalia, Partner and National Leader, Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) at EY India, said the pandemic has spurred the importance of climate change and the gravity of climate crisis which go beyond an organisation's own footprint, requiring more complex data management, analysis and forecasting.

Kalia said that Indian companies are making progress on climate risk disclosures, and hoped that Sebi's business responsibility and sustainability reporting norms designed to be mandatory from FY23 onwards will help investors identify firms’ business sustainability risks in a better way.

According to the EY report, globally only 41 per cent of the organisations reviewed have disclosed that they have conducted crucial scenario analysis, which is also a TCFD recommendation, to examine the likely scale and timings of particular risks and prepare for the worst-case outcomes. Only 15 per cent of the businesses feature climate change in their financial statements, which shows that they lack robust data or that they have not yet worked through the likely impact on the bottom.


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