Almost three quarters (72 percent) of large and mid-cap companies worldwide do not acknowledge the financial risks of climate change in their annual financial reports
6 November 2017 – Almost three quarters (72 percent) of large and mid-cap companies worldwide do not acknowledge the financial risks of climate change in their annual financial reports, according to the KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2017.
Of the minority that do acknowledge climate-related risk, less than one in 20 (4 percent) provides investors with analysis of the potential business value at risk.
KPMG’s survey studied annual financial reports and corporate responsibility reports from the top 100 companies by revenue in each of 49 countries: a total of 4,900 companies (N100).
It found only five countries in the world where a majority of the top 100 companies mention climate-related financial risks in their financial reports: Taiwan (88 percent), France (76 percent), South Africa (61 percent), US (53 percent) and Canada (52 percent). In most cases, disclosure of climate-related risk is either mandated or encouraged in these countries by the government, stock exchange or financial regulator.
In terms of industries, companies in the Forestry & Paper (44 percent), Chemicals (43 percent), Mining (40 percent) and Oil & Gas sectors (39 percent) have the highest rates of acknowledging climate-related risk in their reporting. They are closely followed by the Automotive (38 percent) and Utilities (38 percent) sectors. Healthcare (14 percent), Transport & Leisure (20 percent) and Retail (23 percent) are the sectors least likely to acknowledge climate risk.
When looking specifically at the world’s 250 largest companies (G250), public acknowledgment of climate-related financial risk is more common but still far from universal. French-based multi-nationals lead with 90 percent acknowledging climate-related risk, followed by majors headquartered in Germany (61 percent) and the UK (60 percent).
Around two thirds of G250 companies in the Retail (67 percent) and Oil & Gas (65 percent) industries acknowledge the risk but only around one third (36 percent) of major Financial Services firms do so. However, the research found only six G250 companies that have informed investors of the potential financial impact of climate risk through quantification or scenario modelling.
KPMG’s Global Head of Sustainability Services, José Luis Blasco, said “Our survey shows that, even among the world’s largest companies, very few are yet providing investors with adequate indications of value at risk from climate change. Our findings support the need for initiatives like the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) that aim to improve corporate disclosure of climate-related risk.”
“Pressure on firms to up their game on disclosure is growing by the day. Some investors are already taking a hard line approach to demanding disclosure; some countries are considering regulation to mandate it; and some financial regulators have warned that failure to identify and manage climate risk is a breach of a Board’s fiduciary duty. In this context, we encourage firms to move quickly. Those that don’t could very soon start to lose investors and find the cost of capital and insurance cover escalates quickly.”
KPMG’s survey also explored further trends in corporate responsibility reporting including reporting on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reporting on human rights and reporting on carbon reduction targets.
Key findings include:
As for Thailand, more than half (67 percent) of top 100 companies in Thailand report on sustainability performance. Of all N100 companies in Thailand that report on corporate responsibility, 48 percent acknowledge climate change as a financial risk, 73 percent has established their carbon target, and 91 percent perceive human rights as an issue to their businesses and have a policy in place within their organizations to tackle the issue. In terms of independent external assurance, only 49 percent of them published reports that were externally assured.
“Reporting on corporate responsibility allows businesses to properly identify material issues, risks, and opportunities as well as evaluate overall organizational performance towards the goal of sustainable development. Investors and other financial stakeholders need to be aware that non-financial data, such as human rights and climate change, are relevant to the financial performance and long term value creation potential of a business. More importantly, Thai companies is required to pay more attention to achieving independent external assurance to enhance the credibility and reliability of their disclosures,” said Paul Flipse, Partner, Climate Change & Sustainability Services, KPMG in Thailand.
José Luis Blasco said “It is not only employees, communities and NGOs who take an interest in corporate responsibility and sustainability issues. Investors are also increasingly aware that topics previously considered “non-financial” can have a material impact on a business’s ability to build and protect value both in the short-term and the long-term. Companies therefore need to understand the latest trends in reporting and ensure their own reports meet the expectations of a wide range of stakeholders.”
KPMG has published The KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting since 1993. The 2017 survey is the 10th edition. Professionals at 49 KPMG member firms carried out thousands of hours of research for this survey. They reviewed annual financial and corporate responsibility reporting by the largest 100 companies, by revenue, in their own country.
Research sources included PDF and printed reports as well as web-only content published between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017. If a company did not report during this period, reporting from 2015 was reviewed. However, no reporting published prior to June 2015 was included in the research for this survey. The survey findings are based on analysis of publicly available information only, and no information was submitted directly by companies to KPMG member firms. The survey refers to two research samples:
Professionals at KPMG member firms identified the N100 in their country based on a recognized national source, or where a ranking was not available or was incomplete, by market capitalization or another appropriate measure. All company ownership structures were included in the research: publicly-listed and state, private and family-owned.
The G250 was identified as the top 250 companies listed in the Fortune Global 500 ranking for 2016. The G250 is for the most part a subset of the N100 research sample. 7 companies in the G250 sample are not included in the N100.
The 49 countries that participated in the 2017 survey were as follows:
11. Czech Republic
27. New Zealand
38. South Africa
39. South Korea
45. The Netherlands
47. United Arab Emirates
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 189,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
KPMG in Thailand, with more than 1,500 professionals offering audit, tax, and advisory services, is a member firm of the KPMG network of independent firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity.