I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. While I am aware of the work of the task force on climate-related financial disclosures, TFCD, set up on the recommendation of the Financial Stability Board of the G20, I have not had any direct engagement with this group. My understanding is that the group has developed voluntary climate-related financial disclosures, recommended to complement the financial reporting and auditing process of large publicly-listed companies. They are to provide useful climate-related information to lenders, insurers and investors and so the Deputy may wish to look for further information from the Department of Finance or the Central Bank in that regard.
In 2017, I signed regulations transposing into Irish law directive 2014/95/EU on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and groups. The directive, referred to as the non-financial reporting directive, amended the EU accounting directive and placed new requirements for large companies or groups with more than 500 employees, including banks, insurance companies and large listed companies, to report annually on their policies in regard to environmental matters, social and employee matters, respect for human rights and bribery and corruption. These new rules took effect in Ireland for financial years starting on or after 1 August 2017.
I am aware that the EU Commission has further advised that the TFCD recommendations, while voluntary, are widely recognised as authoritative guidance on the reporting of financially material climate-related information and the Commission has encouraged financial regulators to implement them. It has provided guidance to companies on climate-related reporting that is consistent with the non-financial reporting directive and the recommendations of the TFCD. These are to assist companies in regard to their disclosures, including guidelines on climate related disclosures, in order that they can provide relevant, useful and concise reports. I understand that the Commission may consider a review of the directive with a view to addressing issues such as the availability and comparability of the non-financial information being disclosed.