Climate change risk reporting becomes hot topic among investors
Corporate disclosures either don't exist or are 'boilerplate,' vague or incomplete, says securities agency
A year-long review of climate change risk disclosures to investors by large Canadian publicly-traded companies has found huge disparities in practices between corporations and industries.
The Canadian Securities Administrators, a national body representing provincial securities regulators, says it plans to do further work to develop new guidelines and potentially new rules to help companies comply with its disclosure rules.
In a notice, the CSA says users it consulted indicated broadly that companies need to improve how they report climate change risks and financial impacts, with many complaining that current disclosures either don't exist or are "boilerplate," vague or incomplete.
It's a hot topic among investors, as shareholder-sponsored motions related to climate change risk reporting have been put forward at upcoming annual general meetings of Imperial Oil Ltd., which is urging rejection, and pipeline company TransCanada Corp., which recommends acceptance.
Room for improvement
The CSA found that the oil and gas industry was the only one in which the majority of respondents in a survey said they currently disclose such information. But it also found room for improvement, noting that a review found that oil and gas issuers who disclose their greenhouse gas emissions use multiple calculation methods without consistent standards.
The CSA found that 56 per cent of issuers it examined provided specific climate change-related disclosure in documents required by regulation, with the remaining issuers either providing boilerplate or no disclosure.
It says about 85 per cent of issuers provided climate change-related disclosure in their voluntary reports.
The climate change-related risk most identified by issuers was from regulation, identified by 90 per cent of companies in their disclosures and 64 per cent in the issuer survey.