TCFD and IFRS S2 – Developments in Climate-Related Financial Disclosures

11th September 2023

Note: Rudolf van Rensburg will present on this topic at the Global Woodchip and Biomass Trade Conference and Networking Event on 23-25 October 2023 in Singapore.

Margules Groome appraised forest and wood processing assets in excess of USD 30 billion over the past two years. Our appraisals are compliant with relevant financial reporting standards and these normally include Fair Value Measurement (IFRS 13), IAS 41 Agriculture, and other relevant standards. Audited annual financial reports in compliance with standards bring transparency by enhancing the comparability and quality of financial information, enabling investors, lenders, customers, and other market participants to make informed decisions.

As the impacts of global climate change are starting to be increasingly felt in every aspect of life on Earth, financial markets are now looking for clear, comprehensive, high-quality information on the impacts of climate change on businesses. In response, rapid developments are underway with new frameworks and standards emerging requiring climate-related disclosures integrated with financial reporting. This includes reporting by businesses in the forest and wood products sectors.

The Basel-based Financial Stability Board (FSB), an international body established in 2009 after the global financial crisis, monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system. In December 2015, the FSB and the Group of 20 (G20) created the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), chaired by Michael Bloomberg. TCFD commenced work to develop recommendations for voluntary disclosures of climate-related risks and opportunities for listed companies. An absence of climate change governance ahead of the COP26 summit in 2021, resulted in the United Kingdom, being the first country to announce a mandatory comply and apply. That is to mandate climate disclosures by large, private companies and financial institutions by 2025. Subsequently, other countries followed, for example, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) published TCFD-aligned draft guidance on managing climate-related risks in April 2021 and published the final guidance in November 2021. On 27 June 2023, the Department of Treasury provided a further consultation paper for detailed implementation and sequencing of standardised, internationally aligned requirements for mandatory disclosure of climate-related financial risks in Australia. New Zealand in 2021 introduced a Bill that would require mandatory TCFD-aligned disclosures for large, listed issuers and financial institutions. The Bill passed into law in October 2021 as the Financial Sector (Climate-related Disclosures and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021.

At COP26 the IFRS Foundation Trustees (IFRS) announced the formation of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) into which the TCFD will converge. Cooperation was also established with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to ensure harmonisation between IFRS accounting standards and the ISSB’s sustainability disclosure standards.

TCFD provides information to investors about what companies are doing to mitigate the risks of climate change and is transparent about how they are governed. A limitation of sustainability reports as currently exist, is that it is a separate standalone report published alongside financial reporting and is not integrated. By contrast, a TCFD-aligned approach helps to identify climate opportunities and risks that are material and how these can be integrated into mainstream annual reports. This provides critical information needed by investors, lenders, and insurance underwriters to appropriately assess and price climate-related risks and opportunities. It includes quantitative as well as qualitative disclosures. There are four pillars to TCFD recommendations, being governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets.

In June 2023, the IFRS issued IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information and IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures. IFRS S2 is effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2024 with earlier application permitted if IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information is also applied.

IFRS S2 requires an entity to disclose information about climate-related risks and opportunities that could reasonably be expected to affect an entity’s cash flows, its access to finance, or cost of capital over the short, medium, or long-term (collectively referred to as ‘climate-related risks and opportunities that could reasonably be expected to affect the entity’s prospects’).

IFRS S1 and S2 fully integrate TCFD recommendations but require more detailed information in line with the TCFD framework.

It is Margules Groome’s view that early preparedness to comply with these new frameworks and standards will benefit companies seeking investment, financing, and insurance. Risks and opportunities associated with asset values should be quantified and disclosed in annual reports in compliance with the standards.

Margules Groome can assist you prepare for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. For further information contact Margules Groome.