Big emitters not acknowledging climate risks: Carbon Tracker

Of the 134 multinational companies responsible for up to 80 per cent of corporate industrial greenhouse gas emissions, 98 per cent did not provide sufficient evidence about the impacts of climate-related matters.

This is one of the findings of a new report of ‘Still Flying Blind — The Absence of Climate Risk in Financial Reporting’ released by the Carbon Tracker Initiative on Thursday.

The companies surveyed included those from the fossil fuel, mining, manufacturing, automotive and technology sector that are focus companies for the investor-led Climate Action 100+ engagement.

The lack of information available to investors is underscored by the fact that none of the companies met all the Climate Action 100+ Climate Accounting and Audit Assessment (CAAA) methodology metric requirements, which includes the analysis of company financial statements.

Indeed, only eight, or six per cent, received “Partial” scores by providing all the information required by the CAAA methodology for at least one of the seven metrics used to assess them.

The remaining 126 companies and their auditors did not meet any of the requirements.

Barbara Davidson, Carbon Tracker’s Head of Accounting, Audit and Disclosure and lead author, told IANS: “Even after adjusting for changes in the methodology since last year and despite some improvements in disclosure, no CA100+ focus company provided all of the information required by the relevant standards or requested by investors.

“This is despite the fact that most companies operate across a range of high emitting sectors including oil and gas, mining, transportation and industrials.”

“Many asset and liability values rely on forward-looking assumptions. When companies don’t take climate-related matters into account, their financial statements may include overstated assets, understated liabilities and overstated profits.”

When available, analysts also reviewed audit committee (or equivalent) reports, finding that they often do not mention climate risks. Even when they do, most audit committees fail to consider the impacts of climate-related issues on company financial statements suggesting that audit committees are not providing sufficient oversight on these matters.

Research was performed in collaboration with the Climate Accounting and Audit Project.

Researchers also assessed the related external audit reports. They found that, overall, auditors do not appear to comprehensively consider the impacts of material climate-related matters in their risk assessments and audit testing.

In total, 96 per cent of audit reports reviewed did not indicate whether and how they considered the impact of emissions reduction targets, changes to regulations, or declining demand for company products, for example, when auditing these companies.

20221006-085001

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