Helping Businesses Respond to Climate Change
Premier Supports Greater Clarity from Businesses on Climate Plans
Premier Kathleen Wynne shared today her support for continuing to strengthen climate-related financial disclosures in Ontario. Increasing public access to this information will help investors make more informed decisions, and give businesses more incentive to innovate in an era of climate change.
In a meeting today with Michael Bloomberg, federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, and senior leaders in Ontario's financial services and natural resources sectors, Premier Wynne commended the work of Mr. Bloomberg's Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). She commits to work with the financial community, Ontario regulators and the TCFD to increase transparency in Ontario through climate-related disclosures for publicly traded companies, asset owners and asset managers.
The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, an industry-led initiative headed by Mr. Bloomberg, has won endorsements around the world. Publicly traded companies participating in the Task Force voluntarily report on factors such as greenhouse gas emissions.
Premier Wynne also indicated her support for the work conducted by the Ontario Securities Commission and other members of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) as part of the recently released Report on Climate change-related Disclosure Project. The CSA will be developing new guidance and educational initiatives to help publicly traded companies consider the material business risks and opportunities, and potential financial impacts, of climate change.
Strengthening the ability of Ontario's financial sector to respond to climate change is one way Ontario is supporting the fight against climate change. In addition:
- Ontario is transitioning to a competitive, low-carbon economy through a joint carbon market with Québec and California that sets a hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions while giving flexibility to businesses and industry. So far, the carbon market has generated $2.4 billion for Ontario.
- These funds are reinvested in energy-saving renovations for homes and businesses, electrified rail transit and incentive programs to encourage businesses and communities develop new and innovative solutions for reducing greenhouse gas pollution.
Tackling climate change and supporting a low-carbon economy for Ontario are part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and easier access to affordable child care.
- Encouraging companies and organizations to disclose climate change-related information aligns with the ongoing work of the Ontario Securities Commission and other members of the Canadian Securities Administrators, who are working to improve how publicly traded companies disclose their material climate change-related risks, opportunities and financial impacts.
- The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures was created in 2015 by the Financial Stability Board — an international body led by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system.
- Over 250 companies and 37 other organizations, including five governments and 23 financial regulators, have expressed support for the Task Force recommendations since 2017.
- Companies that support the Task Force recommendations represent a broad range of industries, including construction, consumer goods, energy, metals and mining, and transport.
- The Climate Change Action Plan and carbon market form the backbone of Ontario's strategy to cut greenhouse gas pollution to 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, 37 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050.
- Ontario is undertaking a provincial risk assessment on the impacts of climate change that will help identify current and future vulnerabilities and risks in order to help make informed investment decisions and prioritize actions.
- As of January 1, 2018, Ontario became part of the largest carbon market in North America — a linked marketplace with Québec and California that provides more choice for companies wanting to reduce emissions, at a lower cost.
“We can’t ignore the warnings — the floods, droughts and increasingly active and intense weather. The climate crisis is a reality and we need to ensure that Ontario is planning effectively for the future in all areas. This includes encouraging businesses and organizations to be open and transparent about how climate change affects their operations, as well as their strategies to address it. That’s good for business, and it’s good for Ontario, as we continue to be a global leader on climate change.”
“Companies want to reduce the risks they face from climate change but lack good data on how they’ll be impacted — which prevents them from taking action and prevents investors from rewarding companies that are taking smart steps to protect themselves, and our planet. It’s a fixable problem that the Task Force recommendations will help address, and the more companies adopt them, the bigger impact we can have.”
“We support the desire for consistency and transparency embodied in the TCFD recommendations and see them as a way to build on our two decades of sustainability reporting and ESG investor engagement. The recommendations provide a useful voluntary framework to describe how businesses are managing climate risk and ensuring corporate strategies remain resilient in a low carbon future.”