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Ratings agency welcomes climate risk reporting

Requiring New Zealand’s financial sector to report on its climate change risk has been welcomed by ratings agencies.

Monday, September 21st 2020, 6:00AM

James Shaw

It was announced last week that about 200 of the country’s big financial organisations will be required to disclose how exposed they are to climate-related risks.

The rule will apply to any bank, credit union, fund manager, insurer or building society with more than $1 billion in assets.

“What gets measured, gets managed – and if businesses know how climate change will impact them in the future they can change and adopt low carbon strategies. Covid-19 has highlighted how important it is that we plan for and manage systemic economic shocks – and there is no greater risk than climate change,” Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said.

Ratings agency Moody’s said it was a positive move because it would make institutions that were not already doing so assess the impact of climate-related financial risks on their business.

That was likely to increase the visibility of such risks in the government and risk frameworks of the institutions, it said.

It could also provide them with new ways of assessing the risks and having a standard set of reporting would also allow investors to better understand the impact of the risks across different financial institutions.

“Many large businesses in New Zealand do not currently have a good understanding of how climate change will impact on what they do,” Shaw said.

Businesses covered by the requirements will have to make annual disclosures, covering governance arrangements, risk management and strategies for mitigating any climate change impacts. If businesses are unable to disclose, they must explain why.

Other countries are considering requiring climate risk reporting but New Zealand is the first to make it mandatory in the financial system.

Tags: Climate Change climate risk reporting investment Moodys politics

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