Most of the companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange still show little awareness of climate change issues. But we can see an improvement compared to the previous year and a group of leaders is slowly emerging. The Foundation for Reporting Standards, the Stock Exchange Issuers Association and Bureau Veritas Polska in cooperation with Go Responsible and MATERIALITY have announced the results of the second edition of the Corporate Climate Crisis Awareness study.
The survey was based on annual reports of all listed companies required to disclose non-financial information for 2019. The reports were analysed against 10 criteria. Three of them related to the companies’ policies or strategies regarding the management of climate crisis issues and identification of climate change risk and opportunities, while seven criteria concerned the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions.
The average result in the study of reports for 2019 was 1.87 (out of 10 possible) points and was 0.84 pts higher than the year before. The best company achieved 9.33 pts (compared to 7.33 pts in the previous year).
32% of companies did not receive any points in 2019, which was 14pp less on a y/y basis. The highest average scores were obtained by companies in the fuel and energy macro-sector (3.95 pts on average for 2019, +1.35 pts y/y), and the lowest by companies in the trade and services macro-sector (0.96 pts for 2019, + 0.60 pts y/y). Only 55 companies scored more than 2 pts, 17 above 5 pts, and only 6 companies got more than 7 pts.
“A small group of leaders were responsible for the increase in results. Only about one in four large listed companies has put a true effort in reporting greenhouse gas emissions or identifying climate change risks and opportunities,” said Piotr Biernacki, CEO of the Foundation for Reporting Standards and initiator of the study. “There are still few companies with policies or strategies to combat climate change, and very few have specific, measurable targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. However, we can see a small group of leaders - companies whose management boards are serious about the climate crisis. I believe that this group will grow fast,” added Piotr Biernacki.
“I am pleased with the increase in the latest survey, but the average result below 20% of the maximum score makes me concerned about the upcoming regulations, which will greatly link investing to the reporting of ESG factors,” - said Mirosław Kachniewski, CEO of the Association of Stock Exchange Issuers. Especially because the Association has been examining the climate impact reporting since 2012 under the project "ESG Analysis of Companies in Poland" and, unfortunately, over these 8 years there has been no significant improvement in disclosures in the area, but the legislative environment has changed dramatically. I hope that the group of leaders indicated the survey will be an inspiration for others and contribute to taking urgent measures to prepare reliable ESG data for investors. Otherwise, many companies listed on the WSE will gradually lose access to financing,” added Mirosław Kachniewski.
The positive conclusion from the survey is that several companies have significantly improved their performance, which means that within a year or two a large listed company can determine its climate impact, identify climate-related risks and opportunities, define policies and adopt a strategy. This applies to a small group motivated by the growing requirements of investors and customers, and the challenges related to the stigmatization of the industry. One of the negative conclusions is that 41 companies did not improve their score, which was usually low, while 24 companies scored lower than in the previous edition. This proves that companies are not developing the transfer of information to their stakeholders, or even that they show non-financial data randomly. I think the companies' climate awareness will grow slowly, and that we will see a sudden increase when climate reporting becomes an obligation,” said Michał Stalmach, Senior Sustainable Development Consultant at Bureau Veritas Polska and initiator of the study.
The results of the second Companies Climate Awareness Survey were announced during the Non-Financial Reporting Challenge for 2020 webinar organised by the Association of Stock Exchange Issuers. The survey methodology and its results are publicly available on the websites of the Foundation for Reporting Standards (www.standardy.org.pl) and the Association of Stock Exchange Issuers (www.seg.org.pl) and are attached to this announcement.
Piotr Biernacki, Foundation for Reporting Standards, tel. +48 693 330 003
Magdalena Raczek-Kołodyńska, Association of Stock Exchange Issuers, tel. +48 509 357 280
Michał Stalmach, Bureau Veritas, tel. +48 609 801 071
The Corporate Climate Crisis Awareness study is a project of the Foundation for Reporting Standards, the Association of Stock Exchange Issuers and Bureau Veritas. In 2020, the study was supported by consulting companies Go Responsible and MATERIALITY. The aim of the project is to regularly test which companies are aware of their impact on climate change. The results are made public. The survey is carried out in accordance with an established and explicit methodology based on information provided by companies in their annual reports.
The project initiators wish to raise awareness of large and medium-sized enterprises about their impact on climate change and at the same time provide investors, customers and other public stakeholders with reliable, measurable and comparable data indicating which companies are considering climate change issues in their management.
The Foundation for Reporting Standards is a non-governmental organisation whose goal is to improve the quality of information flow, reporting and communication on the capital and financial markets. It was founded in 2015 on the initiative of the Association of Stock Exchange Issuers, the Association of Individual Investors and the Association of Brokers and Advisors.
The Foundation developed and consulted the General Reporting Standards (GRS) for price-setting information reporting by listed companies and the Non-Financial Information Standard (NIS) for non-financial information reporting. Both GRS and NIS are environmental standards due to the universal nature of the Foundation and cooperation with organisations associating various market stakeholders.
The Foundation also performs research and educational activity in the area of communication and reporting on capital and financial markets.
The Association of Stock Exchange Issuers is an expert organisation established in 1993. The main purpose of the ASE is to provide support to companies in the aspect of information (providing information on legislative changes), education (organisation of seminars and conferences) and legal issues (preparing legal opinions, recommendations and interpretations on new regulations). The ASE works to develop the Polish capital market and represents the interests of companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Currently, the Association consists of approx. 250 entities listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and the alternative New Connect market, representing over 90 percent of capitalisation of domestic issuers listed on the WSE.
Bureau Veritas is a global leader in TIC (Testing, Inspection and Certification), offering support in meeting the growing requirements related to quality, OHS, environmental protection and social responsibility. Bureau Veritas has experience and technical expertise in helping the world’s largest organisations improve their sustainability performance in a number of sectors including food, pharmaceutical, financial and manufacturing. With a proven track record in verification of environmental, OHS and social data, Bureau Veritas is also a GRI Community Member, an AA1000AS Licensed Provider and a UKAS accredited ISO 14064-1 Verification Body.