As per the 2019 EY Global Climate Risk Disclosure Barometer, asset owners and managers obtained the lowest scores for coverage and quality of climate-related risk disclosures across all the sectors assessed. This ranking was similar to that of the 2018 analysis. Each of the asset owners and managers that were reviewed received a score for the coverage and quality metrics on the basis of how they addressed or implemented all of the 11 recommendations by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
On average, the companies covered roughly one-third of the TCFD recommendations related to governance, risk management, and targets and metrics. For recommendations related to strategy, it was slightly lower — less than 30%. Performance was particularly poor for recommendations related to strategy, mostly due to the lack of any disclosure regarding climate scenarios. This was the case for more than 75% of companies assessed.
The quality of disclosures was significantly poorer when compared with the other sectors, with disclosure scores from 12% for strategy and 18% for risk management. Only 23% of companies participated in Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reporting. This could partially explain the weaker coverage of the recommendations and low quality of disclosures overall; our results show that companies which participated in CDP reporting tend to have the most complete and TCFD-aligned source of information.
It appears the asset owners and managers sector has yet to translate its advocacy for disclosures for target companies into its own reporting of risks and opportunities. The best-performing countries within the sector in terms of both coverage and quality included the US, the UK, Canada, France and the Netherlands.
EY teams examined how the asset owners and managers sector performed against the four areas through which the TCFD recommendations are structured.
Only one-third of asset owners and managers disclosed some information regarding their climate governance structure. Of those companies, the majority mentioned that their board, rather than a specific group, oversaw the Environmental Policy or Sustainability (environmental, social and governance [ESG]) framework, which typically included climate-related issues.
The management process for climate-related risks was not specifically described, as it was most often embedded in the ESG management process. The disclosures did not include information such as the frequency of meetings during which climate-related issues were mentioned or a clear description of the interaction between the management and the board on climate-related issues.
Two of the top performers within the sample of companies assessed were more specific about the different governance bodies involved in the assessment, monitoring and management of ESG risks — including climate-related risks. The disclosures of these two asset owners and managers also explained the interactions between these distinct governance structures.
One top-performing company used the sustainable investment report to describe the chief financial and risk officer’s role on climate-related risks management, the interactions with the Climate Change Steering Committee and ad-hoc risk committees. Also, the company described details of how the board was updated and advised on risk management practices, including climate-related risks.
Less than half (37%) of companies reported some detail of their climate-related risks and opportunities, and their criteria for materiality. Those asset managers who reported on climate-related risks usually covered both transition and physical risks. The physical risks disclosed often included the potential impacts of chronic and acute risks at the portfolio and asset level.