The push and pull of business action on climate

Published date: 03 August 2023

Next podcast episode dips beneath surface of climate reporting

How is corporate reporting playing a bigger role in supporting the transition to a low carbon economy, and how can it drive the accountability required to achieve set climate targets? 

These are some of the questions addressed by international experts in the latest episode of The SDG Insider - the new podcast series from GRI that bridges corporate reporting and the global sustainability agenda, as encapsulated by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Episode 2 - Adding it up: The risks and rewards of corporate climate reporting 

The ever-increasing ambitions of governments and bolder policies on climate change are driving private sector action, pushing companies to accelerate efforts aligned with climate goals. This episode explores some of the most common challenges faced by businesses when reporting on climate, and the existing linkages between sustainability reporting and SDG 13: Climate Action. 

In the episode we hear from: 

    • Pankaj Bhatia, Director of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol
    • Raphael Soffer, Lawyer for the Asia Climate and Energy Program, ClientEarth 
    • Sean Kidney, CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative 

They shed light on accurate carbon accounting and the role of green finance instruments in sustainable investments, and highlight the consequences that may arise when a company fails to adequately manage and disclose climate risks. Climate litigation is on the rise, with more than 2000 cases filed in 65 jurisdictions in 2022. 

Currently, one of the biggest challenges lies in the speed at which carbon accounting needs to mature to reflect accurate and complete data. Estimates reveal that a company's supply chain emissions – referred to as scope 3 emissions – are, on average, 5.5 times higher than their own operations. Encouragingly though, over the past decade public reporting on those has increased almost four-fold. 

Margarita Lysenkova, GRI’s Senior Manager – International Policy, said: 

“For substantial and rapid changes in climate action to occur, a massive flow of capital into climate solutions is imperative. Investors are mobilizing their efforts and require reliable and consistent ‘green finance’ labels – such as green bonds and loans – as well as supporting data. Sustainability reporting has a key role in highlighting the risks and enables multiple data points to ensure investments are sustainable in the long term. 

Businesses should also be developing transition plans to reduce their emissions - otherwise, they will face financial liabilities and reputational risk. Even more so, companies singled out by civil society may face litigation or the attention of regulators. Ensuring comprehensive disclosure and taking responsibility for accurate climate information is therefore key.” 

The GRI Climate Change Topic Standards are currently being revised in line with the most recent international developments and authoritative intergovernmental instruments in the field, with the exposure drafts expected to be released for public comment early next year. 

The SDG Insider can also be accessed on Spotify, Apple podcast, and Google podcast. Episode one is also available, which explored the growth in human rights due diligence policies and their relevance to reporting on the SDGs.  

GRI would like to thank the Government of Sweden for supporting this project through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). 

GRI offers freely accessible resources and tools, which help organizations to understand and disclose their impacts and contributions to the SDGs.