Tuesday May 10, 2022

In April 2022, the UK government implemented mandatory Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) requirements. These recommendations apply to the UK’s largest companies and financial businesses.

Companies must work with the resources available to them, and get their strategies in place now. Not only will this ensure that they are in a strong position for imminent changes, it will also help businesses to navigate changes within the broader ESG landscape.

Let’s take a look at how you can organise your company to align with the new requirements.

What is the TCFD?

The Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures was established in 2015, by the international Financial Stability Board. It is based upon the growing consensus that climate change has immediate effects on economic decisions. Investors are growing more aware of climate-related risks and turning towards those organisations that are planning ahead in this regard.

As part of a package of environmental measures from the government, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to make the TCFD guidelines mandatory for businesses. This fraction of the green recovery plan aims to bolster the UK’s position as a global leader for green finance.

To that end, the TCFD is a reporting framework with the aim of achieving consistency in terms of the level and quality of climate-related disclosures. Setting a consistent standard will increase transparency and allow for comparability between organisations, in terms of their impact and effects on climate change.

The TCFD reporting framework spans four key areas: governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets. In terms of governance, companies must describe how the board maintains oversight of climate-related risks and opportunities. With regards to strategy, they must identify climate-related risks and opportunities in the short, medium and long-term and how this will impact the organisation’s businesses, strategy and financial planning.

In terms of risk management, companies must demonstrate their processes for identifying and assessing climate-related risks, and how these risks are managed and integrated into their overall risk management. Businesses should also disclose the metrics they have used to assess climate-related risks and opportunities. They should disclose Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related performance targets.

Know where to start

The mandatory TCFD requirements now apply to large businesses, for accounting periods beginning on or after 6 April 2022.

Starting early is key in implementing TCFDs efficiently and effectively. While points may be altered in the strategy as time goes on, having a roadmap to achieve your TCFD goals within a future business plan is essential in understanding the potential gains, as well as risks. Board members may require training, and communication with stakeholders throughout the process will be key.

Reporting on risk management is also very important when starting out with TCFDs. The starting point is to consider the existing processes within your organisation and build upon these. As well as understanding the tools you already use to help collect and report climate-related information, and consider which additional tools are required.

All information required to meet the disclosure obligations must be included in the company Annual Report and Accounts. Third party information used to assess climate-related risks – such as from data providers – may be included.

Set targets

Identifying targets is a good start when figuring out a strategy. Measuring and reporting on progress, peaks and troughs, can help businesses to understand exactly where they can improve, and how. There are several initiatives that can assist businesses in this regard.

Science Based Targets , as well as industry projects promoting net zero targets for specific sectors, can help businesses to understand exactly how to create ambitious but reachable targets for the future. Emissions must be cut significantly for the UK to reach net zero, by 2050. A ‘science-based’ emissions target stays in line with the scale of reductions required to meet these objectives. These goalposts track progress and give the private sector a clear idea of how quickly they need to reduce their GHG emissions, to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

You should also consider carrying out a materiality assessment, which will help you to decide which climate-related issues within your organisation are significant enough to report on, and in turn, set targets for. Climate-related targets should be quantifiable and granular, linked to metrics, clearly specified over time and periodically reviewed. They should be understandable and contextualised.

The TCFD recommends using metrics that are ‘decision useful’, clear and understandable, reliable, verifiable and objective, and consistent over time. Categories of metrics include GHG emissions, transition risks (such as credit exposure to carbon-related assets or revenue from coal mining) and physical risks (such as investment in flood zones).

Follow available guidance

Understanding the ins and outs of the TCFD requirements may seem confusing, but there are many forms of guidance that are available to you. The TCFD Hub, BEIS and the FRC have published guidance to help companies with approaches, examples of disclosure and how the mandate interacts with existing requirements. Including SECR and ESOS.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has recently published guidance for businesses that now need to make TCFD-aligned disclosures. You can access the guidance here.

How can EIC help?

Implementing TCFDs comes with a number of benefits for larger businesses. A major one being that they will help companies to identify and assess the risks posed by climate change. They can then address their structural weaknesses, and implement mitigation and adaptation efforts to future-proof their business. Organisations that do this will have a competitive advantage over those that don’t when it comes to future funding and investments.

At EIC we are experienced in helping clients mitigate climate-related risks. Through our unrivalled energy management services, and cutting-edge technology, we can help you with TCFD compliance. Our aim is to guide you and interpret the legislation, keeping you informed and compliant. From resource efficiency and clean energy, through to your carbon compliance, our goal is to simplify your sustainability journey.

Get in touch today to find out more information on future-proofing your organisation.

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