We certainly hit the ground running with our first briefing for the year, ‘Climate change — risk and reporting for boards and management’. This was a topic of vital interest to many members with our events quickly booking out across the nation and in some cases requiring a bigger venue to accommodate the additional attendees. The interest demonstrates a growing awareness that companies need to understand and manage the financial risks posed by a changing climate just as they would other economic and operational risks.
The briefings coincided with the launch of the Governance Institute’s Climate Change Risk Disclosure — a practical guide to managing climate risk, which assists members to assess and report on climate change risk and identify the opportunities created by climate change. The report has been downloaded over 1,300 times in its first three weeks or publication — a record for this time frame.
It is clear that companies need to be on the front foot when it comes to climate risk reporting.
The report is designed to support members following the release of the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations, 4e which, for the first time, encourage companies to consider and report upon any material exposure to climate change risk (Recommendation 7.4). In February 2020 (while drafting this column), APRA sent a letter to all Australian regulated institutions announcing plans to develop a prudential practice guide focused on risks from climate change, as well as a climate change vulnerability assessment. This focus on climate risk is supported by findings in Governance Institute’s Ethics Index for 2019, which revealed that nine in ten Australians want governments and organisations to take action on climate change. It is clear that companies need to be on the front foot when it comes to climate risk reporting.
You will have read the reports of acts of great generosity in response to the now extinguished fires across Australia. As part of Governance Institute’s briefing program, we explore current and pressing governance issues. In our next briefing, we will examine fundraising governance — accountability, transparency and trust. This free briefing will be held in our offices across Australia on Friday, 27 March.
Planning for the May 2020 Governance and Risk Management Forums is well underway. The forum is a great way to get updated on the latest issues facing governance and risk management professionals. I will be attending each forum around the country and hope to see you there.
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