The Swiss government on Wednesday joined a small number of rich countries that have set a timeline for major companies to disclose the risks they face from climate change.
Global powers have been calling for more coordination on efforts to measure and declare companies’ environmental impact, a measure seen as vital to efforts to safeguard the financial system from climate change shocks.
In June, G7 countries endorsed mandatory disclosures under recommendations made by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Some policymakers want a deal to establish global reporting requirements in time for November’s U.N. climate change conference in Glasgow.
Under the TCFD’s recommendations, companies are urged to disclose the actual and potential impacts of climate change on their business, as well as explain how they identify and manage such risks and opportunities.
France in June became the first major economy to make the rules binding, as it set new targets that will require investors to declare how green their assets are and set greenhouse emissions goals every five years from 2021 onwards.
Britain has proposed UK companies should meet TCFD recommendations from next year.
Switzerland said its rules would apply to both financial actors like banks and insurers as well as to public companies with over 500 employees, over 20 million Swiss francs ($21.9 million) in total assets, or 40 million francs in turnover.
The finance ministry will prepare a bill by mid-2022 on mandatory reporting that “not only includes the financial risk that a company incurs as a result of climate-related activities, but also discloses the impact of the company’s business activities on the climate and the environment,” a government statement said.
Binding implementation of TCFD recommendations is expected from 2024 for reporting on the 2023 financial year, it said.
($1 = 0.9133 Swiss francs) Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi