Institute for Policy Integrity holds conference exploring climate change risk to financial markets

On October 2, the Institute for Policy Integrity and the Volatility and Risk Institute at NYU Stern School of Business co-hosted a conference on “Corporate Climate Risk: Assessment, Disclosure, and Action.” 

The conference explored the systemic risks that climate change poses to financial markets and the emerging calls from investors, governments, and other parties for companies to disclose these risks. In considering the global and domestic threats of climate change, panelists weighed in on opportunities for the United States to better measure, report, and respond to climate change risks. 

The event concluded with keynote remarks from Professor Robert Jackson Jr.; among other topics, he argued for the importance of using scientific evidence to inform decision making and discussed how investors could benefit if the United States became a leader in regulating climate-related risk disclosures. 

Selected remarks from panelists:

Professor Robert Jackson: “A failure to act on climate disclosure is going to lead to allowing Europe and others to take the pen in developing the kinds of transparency investors should have. I think those rules should be set by the American government and the representatives of the American people, and our failure to step into that breach has allowed Europe to take leadership in a way that doesn’t reflect the things that our investors are focused on.”

Watch video of the complete keynote remarks:

Veena Ramani, senior program director, Capital Market Systems, Ceres: “We’ve seen hurricanes, we’ve seen typhoons—extreme weather events are happening around us. These extreme weather events are clearly, significantly financially impactful enough themselves, but they also lead to cascading impacts, particularly on issues like health and productivity, community impacts, population upheaval, biodiversity losses that affect many core industries as well.”

Watch video of Panel 1: Assessing the Financial Risks of Climate Change:

Margaret Peloso, partner, Vinson & Elkins: “There is a lot of voluntary reporting out there, there’s a lot of climate information and data. But there’s also a lot of companies who just aren’t interested in [disclosing climate-change risks], and without a regulatory requirement to do so…your data set is necessarily pretty incomplete. I think on the other side of the coin…we have seen the rise in private governance, right? So corporations really stepping up and doing more to think about a stakeholder capitalism kind of model.... If we start to see more activity on the federal side, how do you balance those two things? So how do you both get the uniformity of information you want, but some of the creativity and innovation that has come from private governance?”

Watch video of Panel 2: The Current State of Corporate Climate Disclosure and Applications:

Posted October 23, 2020