The Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has become ‘the most powerful tool,’ for bankers to drive climate action across their client base, because it enables them to ‘talk a language that the board can really understand,’ declared senior banker Tara Schmidt today.

climate, cop26, climate change

Schmidt, who is Head of Climate and Sustainability Strategy, Sustainability & ESG Finance at Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland, was speaking on an episode of Conversations on Climate focussed on the role of the banking sector in the net-zero transition. 

‘I’ve worked a lot on TCFD…[including] the technical guidelines, the toughest part of TCFD. I think it’s the most powerful,’ Schmidt explained to podcast host Chris Caldwell. ‘When you can have that conversation with a board where you’ve got sustainability talking through the lens of finance,’ it allows consultants and bankers to ‘bring sustainability to life.’

Global framework seeing growth, but firms still falling short

The TCFD framework was created by the Financial Stability Board in 2015, under former chair and Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney. Its purpose was to create a set of globally-recognised standards and recommendations to help banks, insurers and investors disclose climate risks. In January 2022, it listed over 3000 supporters from 92 countries, with a combined market capitalisation of $27.2 trillion.

The TCFD’s most recent report found that the number of sampled firms disclosing climate-related information in their annual reports has grown from 27% in 2017 to over 60% in 2021. However, of the TCFD’s 11 recommended disclosures, only 43% of reporting firms disclosed in line with at least five.

Balancing audit and opportunity

Host Chris Caldwell – CEO and founder of green energy firm United Renewables – raised this issue of compliance with Schmidt, asking how banks and consultants were auditing progress.

‘External frameworks like the TCFD and science-based targets,’ were key here, Schmidt replied, giving everyone an opportunity to ‘compare and contrast to best-in-class and [find] where we can work with clients to get them more where they need to be.’ Yet it was also important to use the frameworks positively, she declared, ‘what are the opportunities that [climate change] could potentially present? That I think has been a game changer.’

Conversations on Climate is a joint production of United Renewables and the London Business School Alumni Energy Club, which invites leading academics and business leaders to offer their expertise to bring a new angle to the climate change debate. 

The latest episode, featuring Tara Schmidt of Lloyds Bank, will be released today, Friday 25th November 2022.

Conversations on Climate brings world-leading thinkers from business and academia together to share their expertise on the subject of climate change. Previous guests include Sir Andrew Likierman, Julio Dal Poz, Professor Jean-Pierre Benoît, and Professor Ioannou.

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