In our last issue of 2019, we look at what companies are doing to implement the Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures amid increasing pressure from investors. We also highlight some of those turning the tide from our monthly Disruptors series
With COP25 under way in Madrid this month amid dire warnings from the UNFCC that the world is close to the “point of no return” on disastrous climate change, the December issue of Ethical Corporation investigates the extent to which companies are facing up to climate risk.
Activist hedge fund TCI’s timely warning to investee companies that it will vote against directors if they do not implement the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures has turned the heat up on companies to act.
UK based TCI, which manages assets worth $28bn, sent letters to all its investee companies last week saying, “We expect all our portfolio companies to make full annual public disclosure to CDP,” which it said was the best way for companies to implement the TCFDs, which remain voluntary.
In an interview with the Financial Times early this month, TCI’s chairman Sir Christopher Hohn, said: “Investing in a company that doesn’t disclose its pollution is like investing in a company that doesn’t disclose its balance sheet. If governments won’t force disclosure, then investors can force it themselves,” and would indeed be “asleep at the switch” if they fail to do so.
As Mike Scott reports, as of last month support for the TCFDs had grown to 909 companies, up from 513 in September 2018. He asks whether the TCFDs are prompting companies to adopt more sustainable business models, as they were designed to do, or are simply seen as another box-ticking exercise.
Scott looks at the property sector, which has been slow to adopt TCFDs despite extreme vulnerability to the physical impacts of climate change, highlighting Landsec and Salesforce as two companies swimming against the stream.
He also reports on how leaders like Ørsted, Equinor and Unilever are using climate-risk reporting to help transform their business models.
Japan is now the leading country in adopting the TCFDs, with more than 200 companies signed up. Our Asia specialist Jill Baker reports on how TCFD adoption is only one example of the country’s emerging climate leadership, both at a corporate and government level. Elsewhere in East Asia, she also highlights adoption of TCFDs by Taiwan Semiconductor and Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels.
Finally, I speak to a TCFD enthusiast, ABN Amro’s Tjeerd Krumpelman, about how the recommendations go to the heart of the Dutch bank’s core responsibilities, and a UNEP FI pilot project to implement TCFDs in the banking sector.
We round off our last issue of the year by highlighting some of the Disruptors who were featured on EthicalCorp.com in 2019. Every month for the website, Oliver Balch conducts an in-depth interview with some of the people who are doing the most to push the envelope for sustainable business, many of whom speak at our conferences.
Our class of 2019 disruptors include Marilyn Ceci of JP Morgan; Schneider Electric’s Xavier Houot, WWF’s Pavan Sukhdev; Siemen’s Jürgen Maier; Gerbrand Haverkamp of the World Benchmarking Alliance; ShareAction’s Catherine Howarth; ING’s Leon Wijnands; and the B Corp’s founders Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan and Andrew Kassoy (though technically they were in December 2018).
We’ve decided to publish the interviews with Balch’s latest disruptor, Gabrielle Ginér of BT, and three other change-makers from 2019: Edward Mason of the Church Commissioners for England, Lucas Joppa of Microsoft and Mindy Lubber of the US environmental NGO Ceres.
This year was a big departure for Ethical Corporation as we made our magazine free to download, allowing our independent journalism to have greater reach and impact. We’ve just published our editorial calendar for 2020, with deforestation, climate activism, sustainable seafood, resilient cities, the circular economy and water risk key topics we will be covering over the next year. Like last year, our January issue will kick things off with thought-provoking contributions from leading change-makers, with their calls for action in the critical decade ahead.
As UN climate chief António Guterres warns: “If we don’t urgently change our way of life we jeopardise life itself.” It is a clarion call that lays responsibility at the door of every business.
Click on the cover of the magazine below to download your digital copy.
Have a restful Christmas and New Year before we all roll our sleeves up for the hard work that lies ahead.
COP25 TCI TCFDs ABN AMRO Landsec Salesforce CDP Orsted Equinor Unilever