Leading Banks Fail to Account for Climate in Financial Statements

Just 37% of 35 major banks mentioned climate in the notes of their financial statements last year, according to new analysis by Big Four accountancy firm KPMG. The report also suggested that auditors are not yet focused on climate-related reporting by their banking clients, with just 26% of auditors’ reports on the financial statements of asses banks mentioning climate, within or outside key audit matters. This is the second year of annual benchmarking analysis undertaken by the firm, which is focused on the annual climate-related disclosures made by 35 major banks globally to offer insights to investors, regulators and other stakeholders. While all banks analysed provided some form of voluntary climate-related disclosure in their annual reports, the level of detail “varies significantly”, the report noted. “Banks continue to focus on climate-related matters in the front part of their annual reports while disclosures in the financial statements are less common,” said Silvie Koppes, Associate Partner at KPMG in the UK. She further noted that the nature and extent of climate-related information that was disclosed by the assessed banks was “minimal”. The expected finalisation of the general and climate reporting standards being developed by the International Sustainability Standards Board will inform banks’ future climate-related disclosures and ensure a higher level of detail, the report said. 

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