Former High Court judge and royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne has recently emphasised the legal duty of directors to disclose and manage climate related risks. Hayne noted;
"Framing the most recent debates provoked by the bushfire emergencies as part of the 'culture wars' reinforces the notion that climate science is a matter of belief, not scientific observation and extrapolation," he said.
"International opinion is now firmly behind the need for all entities with public debt or equity to respond to climate change issues in their governance, their strategy, their risk management and their metrics and targets and, importantly, to record their responses to the issues in their financial reports."
Hayne's comments reflect commentary from Australian and market regulators including APRA, ASIC, ASX, and Reserve Bank that climate changes real financial risks, as well as the landmark opinion by Noel Hutley, SC, and Sebastian Hartford Davis.
Former High Court judge and royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne has warned directors they have a legal duty to act on climate change risk, include it in corporate strategies and report on it to shareholders, raising the real prospect that boards failing to act could end up in court.