5 Feb 2024

Big jump in New Zealand companies disclosing climate-related risks - report

7:46 am on 5 February 2024
The pipe of a coal power plant with white smoke as a global warming concept.

Climate risks are impacting companies' disclosures concerning asset valuations, impairment testing, financial risks, and provisions, says Chartered Accountants leader Amir Ghandar. Photo: 123RF

About 40 percent of NZX companies are disclosing climate-related risks in their financial statements, which is just better than the global rate of three out of 10 companies.

A joint study by accounting body Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), the University of Queensland and the University of Melbourne indicates the number of New Zealand companies with climate risk disclosures nearly doubled in the past year from 22 percent, and was expected to continue to increase.

"Climate risks are impacting companies' disclosures concerning asset valuations, impairment testing, financial risks, and provisions," Chartered Accountants leader Amir Ghandar said.

"As you would expect, emissions-intensive industry sectors such as energy and utilities have a larger proportion of companies impacted, but we're also seeing sectors such as consumer staples and financials calling out climate risks as a key financial consideration."

Ghandar said climate-related risk reporting in financial statements was least prevalent in the information technology and communication services sectors.

"Interestingly, none of the 10 largest global tech companies mentioned climate-related risks in their financial statements," he said.

"These results demonstrate the impacts of climate risk as a financial issue, and investors have increasingly been calling for greater transparency and consistency."

He said requiring companies to report risks - such as New Zealand's world-leading legislation mandating climate-related disclosures for some large financial market participants - was essential.

"CA ANZ is focused on ensuring Chartered Accountants continually evolve their technical skills to support companies as they meet these new government requirements," he said, adding that moving to digital reporting would help to simplify what is a complex system.

  • Possible 'death spiral' for piped gas network when prices rise, report warns
  • 'Extra long-haul' flights boom would blow climate targets, campaigner says
  • Genesis Energy has target of 95% renewable generation by 2035
  • Sustainability key focus for consumers, firms - surveys
  • Most companies under-reporting climate emissions - study