TCFD Conference: investors respond to a climate crisisOn September 12, AXA welcomed the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to its headquarters. The agenda gathered a number of high-level speakers addressing strong commitments and roundtables to deep dive into the correlation between finance and the climate. Here are the conference highlights. ALL ARTICLES | Commitment
Increasing transparency makes markets more efficient, and economies more stable and resilient.
The objective of the FSB is to improve the quality of the information that companies disclose to financial market actors about their exposure to climate-related risks.
“AXA is extremely proud to be a member of the TCFD.” These were the opening words of Thomas Buberl, CEO of AXA, to the latest TCFD conference. He went on to explain why the Group has a duty to address the problem of climate change.
This problem cannot be solved by nations and governments alone; it requires a global effort involving both the private sector and financial market actors.
More specifically, Thomas Buberl stressed the crucial role of insurers tied to risk management and investment, especially for green technologies and renewable energies.
Afterwards, Christian Thimann, Vice-Chair of the TCFD and AXA’s Group Head of Strategy, Corporate Responsibility and Public Affairs (left on cover picture), took the floor to explain the mechanics, objectives and progress of the Task Force. He reiterated the TCFD’s commitment to involve all stakeholders when submitting its final recommendations at the end of this year.
Encouraging investors to “move to the next level”
The COP21 President and French Minister of the Environment, Ségolène Royal, attended the event. “Without the support of the financial industry, we will not be able to stay below 3 degrees, let alone 2 degrees as required by the Paris Agreement,” she stressed, before urging market actors to “move to the next level.” She reminded those present that half of the world’s biggest investors have yet to take any steps to address the risks of global warming.
Drastically reducing carbon emissions by 2020
After Ségolène Royal, the floor was passed on to Jean Jouzel, winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,. The well-known French climatologist reaffirmed the reality of global warming, recalling that “2015 was the hottest year on record since 1850,” and drew attention to the potential consequences of climate change, such as the loss of entire ecosystems, shortages of drinking water and the rising numbers of climate migrants.
The scientist referred to 2020 as the deadline for drastically reducing carbon emissions to avoid the worst consequences of global warming. There is no doubt in his mind that the financial industry has a major role to play in fighting climate change. He named energy, agriculture, construction and manufacturing as priority areas for investment.
An essential cooperation between policy makers and regulators
The conference ended with two roundtable sessions: the first was a discussion about the climate-related risk that companies are facing and the concrete steps they are taking. Denis Duverne, Chairman of the AXA Group Board of Directors, and Karim Hajjar, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Committee member of the Solvay Group, explained why it is important for companies to fully incorporate climate change into their medium and long term strategies.
The second roundtable session tackle the regulatory challenge thanks to high-level speakers such as Laurence Tubiana, French Ambassador for international climate negotiations, and Rintaro Tamaki, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD. This session aimed at clarifying the next steps toward fully incorporating climate-related issues, emphasizing once again the key message of the event: “Political leaders and the financial industry ultimately have no other alternative but to collaborate to move forward in the fight against global warming.”