Expert panel makes valuable recommendations to advance sustainable finance: CPA Canada

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) welcomes the final report of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance released today, believing it offers valuable perspectives to assist with Canada’s transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient economy.

Toronto, June 14, 2019Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) welcomes the final report of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance released today, believing it offers valuable perspectives to assist with Canada’s transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient economy.

In April 2018, the ministers of Environment and Climate Change and Finance created the Expert Panel. Part of the Panel’s mandate was to consult with Canada’s financial market participants on issues related to sustainable finance, including climate-related disclosures.

“The report sheds a light on the need for greater transparency and consistency in the reporting of climate-related risks and opportunities faced by a company or organization,” says Gord Beal, vice-president, research, guidance and support, CPA Canada. “The Expert Panel recommendations will assist in aligning Canadian financial reporting with the direction being taken internationally.”

The Panel’s report acknowledges the important role professional accountants play in the financial ecosystem, especially as it pertains to sustainable finance and climate change. “It only makes sense for the Panel to encourage continued guidance from Canada’s accounting profession,” explains Beal. CPA Canada has been researching, writing and offering guidance in this space for many years, focusing on governance, accounting, auditing and corporate disclosures. Our profession understands the information being sought by investors and can assist companies in identifying the most relevant environmental issues, along with their potential impact on financial performance and prospects.”

One focus of the Panel was how to advance the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).

The TCFD was established in 2015 by the Financial Stability Board at the request of the G20. It was tasked with recommending a more consistent and comparable approach for businesses to disclose climate-related financial risks and opportunities in financial reports. The TCFD’s recommendations were released in June 2017.

“The Panel has struck the right balance with its advice to phase in the TCFD recommendations,” says Beal. “It notes the particular challenges Canada faces, such as jurisdictional matters, the composition of Canada’s economy, and the need for decision-useful climate data. In reviewing the final recommendations, it is clear Canada has a unique opportunity to lead in sustainable finance – allowing us to ensure we are positioned for competitive advantage globally by harnessing the capital and innovation of all sectors of the Canadian economy.”

CPA Canada supported the work of the Expert Panel and participated in various consultations, including organizing a roundtable session with key stakeholders from the accounting and business communities. Beal says CPA Canada looks forward to reviewing the panel’s recommendations in more detail.

For more information about CPA Canada’s contributions to the work of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, please visit cpacanada.ca/climatepolicy. An overview of the TCFD recommendations can be found on the CPA Canada website at cpacanada.ca/tcfd.