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TCFD says long-term future could involve merger with another reporting body

Secretariat member sees consolidation between sustainability reporting frameworks

The Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures says its future could ultimately be as part of a merged entity with another sustainability reporting body.

The TCFD is an initiative pushed by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney that released its final recommendations just over a year ago.

In June a senior member of the body’s secretariat, former Federal Reserve official Stacy Coleman, said the outlook for the body was “unclear at this time”.

Now Curtis Ravenel, the Bloomberg executive who is also on the secretariat, has addressed the outlook for the TCFD.

Speaking on a webinar last week, he said the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the high-level body chaired by Carney, has asked the TCFD to produce a follow-up report for June 2019, “so some of our work will continue.”

But as to longer-term plans, he said June 2019 was “a long way away”. He didn’t want the TCFD to be a “flash in the pan”, rather he saw it as a permanent feature in the landscape, which could mean merging with another sustainability reporting body when the FSB remit formally ends.

This was in the context of a “highly fragmented” sustainability reporting landscape. Ravenel name-checked the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), alongside the TCFD itself, as bodies focused on financial materiality.

“We need some sort of consolidation between all the sustainability reporting frameworks, frankly,” Ravenel said.

The purpose of the webinar was to appeal for corporate support for the TCFD to help it show regulators that it is working as a private sector initiative.

“We want to demonstrate to the G20 that this is a global issue – the more support we get, the more support we’ll get, quite frankly, from the G20,” Ravenel said, adding the TCFD has got “pretty good support across the board, we just need more of it”.Ravenel, who is the Global Head of Sustainable Business & Finance at Bloomberg, said the initiative wants to be able to announce it has the support of 500 companies when it releases its next update.

The report is being launched at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum and One Planet Summit on September 26 and there are currently only 384 companies committed – meaning there is a tight deadline to get the extra companies signed up. Firms need to sign up by September 20 to be included in the report.

“We need some sort of consolidation between all the sustainability reporting frameworks”

He was the only speaker on the webinar, which was moderated by his Bloomberg colleague Veronika Henze, head of communications for the TCFD.

The presentation featured a slide entitled “What does support mean?”

It said: ‘Support literally means support. We would like to see supporting organizations to begin working on implementing the TCFD recommendations. There is no set timeline and it’s OK to only start on a portion of the recommendations. Reporting can be done in financial filings, sustainability reports, other reporting framework disclosures such as CDP and PRI.’

It includes the line: “There is no cost involved in supporting the TCFD”.

Ravenel said the TCFD will track the companies signed up but will not evaluate their disclosures, saying the market would do it.

It comes as some involved are frustrated by what seems to be more noise than signal around the TCFD at this early stage, given that not many TCFD members report according to its guidelines yet. The Bank of England itself has been accused of a contradictory climate strategy.