October 08, 2019

Japan holds summit to accelerate climate-related corporate disclosures

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, speaks during a summit convened by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, or TCFD, in Tokyo on Tuesday. | BLOOMBERG

The government on Tuesday held the first global summit to encourage corporate disclosures on climate change, and called on investors to forge a virtuous cycle between the environment and growth.

The 2015 Paris agreement, a global pact agreed on by nearly 200 countries to fight potentially devastating climate change, has spawned a boom in responsible investments to realize a sustainable society, trade minister Isshu Sugawara said in a keynote speech at the Tokyo summit convened by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, or TCFD.

In particular, environmental, social and governance investing, known as ESG, has been boosted by about ¥2 quadrillion over the past six years, Sugawara added.

“How do we encourage investments into innovation that will be necessary to realize a sustainable society in the future? That is the aim of launching this summit,” he said. “We would like to share the recognition among the top management of industries and financial institutions that dealing with climate change is not a cost but a fountain for competitiveness.”

Tasked with probing climate risks, the TCFD was established in 2015 by the Financial Stability Board, an international organization that monitors global financial systems, after a request from financial leaders within the Group of 20 industrial and emerging-market nations.

Recommendations compiled by the TCFD in 2017 were mainly focused around four themes — governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets. As of the start of this month, the number of organizations supporting the TCFD recommendations stood at 855 worldwide — including 194 from Japan — making it the world’s biggest TCFD-supporting consortium.

Also on Tuesday, the TCFD Consortium released green investment guidance to encourage investors to enter dialogue with companies to facilitate their climate-related actions, identify risks and opportunities posed by climate change and promote innovation that leads to decarbonization.

Other participants included Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England; Peter Bakker, president and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD); Kosei Shindo, chairman of Nippon Steel Corp.; and Hiromichi Mizuno, chief investment officer of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund.

To build momentum behind the TCFD in Japan, the TCFD Consortium was set up by five founders — Kunio Ito, a professor at the Graduate School of Business Administration at Hitotsubashi University; Keidanren Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi; Mitsubishi Corp. President Takehiko Kakiuchi; Japanese Bankers Association Chairman Makoto Takashima and Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. Chairman Shuzo Sumi.

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