The arrival of a new year marks the beginning of the annual proxy season. And this year, shareholders can expect to see a lot more climate change disclosure in 2017 corporate financials.
Companies now have guidelines to help do that. In June 2017, the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) issued voluntary disclosure recommendations, so companies can provide shareholders with information about the business risks, opportunities, and impacts posed by climate change. The TCFD is an international coalition of business, government, and financial leaders tasked with developing voluntary disclosure recommendations to help companies identify, report, and protect against climate risks. The voluntary recommendations are designed to “foster shareholder engagement and broader use of climate-related financial disclosures, thus promoting a more informed understanding of climate-related risks and opportunities by investors and others.” Id. at iv. The TCFD emphasizes that disclosure should be made according to each jurisdiction’s requirements and that the guidelines do not replace existing law.