20 September 2018
By David Barnden
Today ASIC released its report Climate risk disclosure by Australia’s listed companies. ASIC reiterated that the law requires the directors of a listed entity to publish an Operating and Financial Review in an annual report that includes a discussion of climate risk when it could affect the entity’s achievement of its financial performance or disclosed outcomes.
In August 2017 Environmental Justice Australia, on behalf of CBA shareholders, Guy and Kim Abrahams, filed the world’s first Court proceedings against a bank on climate risk disclosure. The claim demanded CBA disclose that climate change was a major or material risk to its business, and asked the bank to disclose to investors what it proposed to do about Adani’s Carmichael mine, which to this day remains unfinanced.
David Barnden, Principal lawyer at Environmental Justice Australia, said:
“It is encouraging that Australia’s company regulator is demanding directors take a “probative and proactive” approach to climate change.”
“The proceeding against the CBA was the first claim in Court to demand better climate risk disclosure by an ASX listed company.”
“We are pleased the CBA now discloses sophisticated analysis of climate change risks and that regulators are making strong statements about directors’ responsibilities.”
The Federal Court proceeding Abrahams v CBA was discontinued when CBA’s directors remedied disclosure deficiencies to investors in the bank’s 2017 annual report. You can find more information about the claim here.