Environmental & Energy Law Program Staff Attorney Hana Vizcarra spoke at the Vermont Law Review’s 2018 Annual Symposium on Friday, Sep. 14, 2018. This year’s Symposium theme was “Corporations and Climate Change: How Businesses are Changing the Environmental Landscape.”
Hana spoke about how the discussion around incorporating more expansive climate-risk disclosures in financial reporting has evolved since the 2015 formation of the G-20’s Task Force on Climate-risk Disclosure, Mark Carney’s speech on the “Tragedy of the Horizons,” and the Paris Agreement. Since the TCFD issued its final report in 2017 recommending a way forward for climate-risk disclosures, the focus has turned to implementation. Hana discussed some of the challenges with implementation, particularly the legal question of what is “material” in this context. A bedrock securities law principle, how companies decide whether specific climate information the TCFD and others are urging companies to disclose is material for reporting purposes is a foundational question that could prove a barrier to implementation if not properly considered.