Date posted: 28/11/2022

Climate risk in financial statements

Over a third of the financial statements we reviewed disclosed impacts of climate risks

In brief

  • The impact of climate risks on financial statements is increasing
  • Critical accounting estimates is the financial statement area that is most impacted by climate risks
  • The reporting of climate risks in financial statements is most prevalent in the utilities and energy industries

Updated research by CA ANZ, the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland has found that the proportion of financial statements impacted by climate-related risks is increasing year on year around the world.

This report provides an update for balance dates between 31 December 2021 and 31 July 2022. We sampled:

  • The largest 200 entities listed on the ASX
  • The largest 50 entities listed on the NZX (3 had not yet reported so sample size of 47)
  • The largest 10 entities in each of the 11 industry sectors from the rest of the world (excluding the US) (9 had not yet reported so sample size of 101)

There were 181 mentions of ‘climate’ (2021: 76) across 117 financial statements (2021: 64) of the total 348 financial statements (2021: 360) we reviewed.

Similar to our first report, we examined both the financial statement areas and the industry sectors of the entities impacted. In relation to financial statement areas, the largest increase globally is within critical accounting estimates (this includes disclosure in the ‘Basis of Preparation’), but impairment of non-current assets and financial risks continue to be impacted. The rest of the world is increasingly reporting climate risks within financial risks. In terms of industry sectors, the reporting of climate risks in financial statements is most prevalent in the energy and utilities industries and least prevalent in the IT and communications industries.

Our previous report looked at how climate-related risks impacted the financial statements of a sample of financial statements of listed entities in Australia, New Zealand and globally (except the US as it has not adopted IFRS Standards), with balances dates between 31 December 2020 and 30 September 2021.