Climate change has rapidly evolved from an ethical, non-financial issue to one that has material impacts on financial performance, position and prospects. Information regarding the impacts of climate change should now be regarded as decision-useful to a reasonable investor and therefore as material in a disclosure context.
Climate-related financial risks and opportunities broadly include physical impacts (both immediate and gradual onset), economic transition impacts (including policy and regulatory developments, technology and stakeholder interests) and liability exposures.
This page includes reports, research and resources to help the accountancy profession contribute to the economic and business response to climate change.
WORLDWIDE ACCOUNTING PROFESSION’S CALL TO ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
CPA Australia has joined many of the world’s largest professional accounting organisations committing to a call to action in response to climate change. The 14 organisations represent 2.5 million accountants globally. The call to action recognises the crucial role of the accounting profession in addressing climate change. Professional accountants are represented in every sector across the economy, and are uniquely positioned to enact meaningful and positive change through a collective effort.
POLICY STATEMENT: BUSINESS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
This paper outlines CPA Australia’s policy position on the link between environmental and economic policy, and the role accountancy can play in helping to combat the effects of climate change.
AUSTRALIA’S INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE COMMITMENTS
ACCOUNTING ASSUMPTIONS AND AUDITING OF CLIMATE RISK DISCLOSURES
CPA Australia has commissioned research from the University of Melbourne, The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative and MinterEllison to explore the impacts of Australia’s international climate commitments on the accountancy profession.
The below factsheets provide a snap-shot of the reports
Australian Accounting Standards Board - on CLIMATE-RELATED RISKS
Due to the importance of climate-related risks to investor's decision making, entities must consider them in the context of their financial statements. Find out how this could affect you.
View the Australian Accounting Standards Board's:
ASIC Guidance - on CLIMATE-RELATED RISKS
ASIC has published updates to clarify the application of ASIC’s existing regulatory guidance to the disclosure of climate change related risks and opportunities. See the Media Release for more information.
Climate change and professional liability risk for auditors
This analysis outlines the comparative legal obligations and potential sources of professional liability for Australian auditors, based on the UK non-profit environmental law organisation, ClientEarth’s publication Risky business – Climate change and professional liability risk for auditors.
The four short papers examine the various standards and rules applicable to UK auditors’ duties relating to annual financial accounts, focusing where those corporate disclosures might reasonably be expected to contain climate risk-related information, and how these might translate to Australian circumstances.
Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures: Implications for Australian business and corporate reporting (PDF)
Dr John Purcell FCPA, 2017
The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) was established in 2015 to develop a set of voluntary, consistent disclosure recommendations for use by companies in providing information to investors, lenders and insurance underwriters about their climate-related financial risks. This paper explores the TFCD’s recommendations and their implications for corporate reporting.
Carbon risk: A contemporary business challenge and the role of bank monitoring
Australia has since 2007 had a comprehensive statutory-based mechanism for ensuring the collection and reporting of energy and emissions information for large emitters of greenhouse gases – the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Systems (NGERS). Reporting under NGERS is nevertheless not tied to mainstream disclosures to financial markets, say through annual reporting under the Corporations Act, and it is thus worthwhile to explore what processes and practices may have emerged to fill this gap in information.
This study undertaken by researchers at the University of Queensland examines as one source of information bank loan and renewal announcements premised on accesses to risk-related information arising out of bank relationships. The analysis of 120 bank loan announcements for 81 ASX companies spanning 2009-2015 partitioned for on the basis of NGERS information as high- and low- carbon risk, provides evidence of positive excess loan returns for loan renewals for high carbon risk firms. The results confirm that bank loan renewal are more informative to equity markets than loan initiations, and that the renewals for high-carbon risk firms infers positive news about management of carbon risk exposure.
Research report: Carbon risk: A contemporary business challenge and the role of bank monitoring (PDF)
Carbon Reporting - research
A longitudinal study of ASX listed companies drawn from the national greenhouse and energy reporting act register.
Carbon reporting: Regulatory and voluntary disclosures(PDF)
Cornelia Beck, Geoff Frost, Stewart Jones, Zornzita Baker, 2016
Law and accounting
CPA Australia presented at the Commonwealth Climate Law Initiative (CCLI) International Legal Symposium held 29 August 2016 in Melbourne.
The keynote address explored the differing legal and accounting explanations for the emergence of non-financial voluntary disclosures, and argued that an aligning of law and accounting around climate risk disclosure could both build disclosure utility and improve related governance potentially negating litigation risk.
Transcript: Climate change risk disclosure – where law and accounting might converge or continue to diverge (PDF)
Links to External resources
The Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) was established by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2004 with the aim is to make sustainable business, business as usual.
- A4S knowledge hub
- The Essential Guide Series supports finance professionals to integrate sustainability into their work. It provides tools, guidance and practical examples that address the challenges and opportunities of becoming a sustainable business. The guides are by finance for finance.