Climate has been hot on the political agenda in the UK with one of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programmes – Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg – focusing on the government’s recent rowing back on its climate commitments 
Dramatic weather events continue to dominate the news agenda. With a group on the progamme's panel representing all sides of the debate - UK Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho, head of the Climate Change Committee Chris Stark, environmentalist and broadcaster Chris Packham, entrepreneur Luke Johnson and Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran – all viewpoints were represented. 
Chris Stark, giving the clear views of the globally recognised Climate Change Committee, said that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has set the UK back on climate change, downgrading it from its world leading position, adding that politicians on all sides of the debate were "wasting time". 
Flooding in Dubai this week after a year's worth of rain fell in hours 
Last November the UK government delayed a ban on new petrol and diesel cars and weakened targets for phasing out gas boilers as part of a major shift in green policy. Mr Stark said the country had made enormous progress towards reaching the climate target of net zero by 2050 under Theresa May and Boris Johnson. But Downing Street has now sent a message to the rest of the world that "the UK is less ambitious on climate than it once was, and that is extremely hard to recover". 
The Labour party, currently the front runners in any polls on voter choice for the next government, have also changed their stance dramatically, announcing in February they were cutting the original budget for climate measures in half, slashing their Green Prosperity Plan from £28billion per year to under £15billion, only a third of which would be new money. This has been deemed the biggest – and most controversial – U-turn of Keir Starmer’s leadership. 
Further disappointment this week has come from the SNP, Scotland’s leading political party, ditching one of its key climate goals, essentially pulling away the target framework almost in its entirety, leaving the net zero target, but removing the targets for 2030 and 2040. A Scottish Government spokesperson told the BBC: "Scotland's 2045 net zero target is not changing”. 
For getting to net zero – which we must remember is a legal requirement in the UK - these are dangerous waters to be sailing through. Such topsy turvy mixed messaging is hampering our ability to have any chance of achieving our targets, driving consensus or building momentum. With the next election likely to be later this year (or at the very outside early in 2025) the political mindset is focused on the short term and whatever will win votes. Measures to adapt to a changing climate are not deemed as the priority whilst voters are struggling to pay their household bills. Meanwhile however, businesses are dealing with an overwhelming number of demands in terms of its reporting and disclosure requirements. The pace of change in ESG and climate related disclosure is becoming ever more challenging to keep on top of, with a relentless move towards mandatory reporting across an increasingly complex set of legal systems, depending on jurisdiction. 
Companies are having to consider a mind-boggling number of over-lapping components, which are subject to changing conditions over the next few years. There are major voluntary frameworks running alongside existing and emerging mandatory ESG-related reporting systems. For example, minimum requirement for a listed business operating in the UK and Europe can disclose on a voluntary basis this year, but in 2025-26 will be required to do so in compliance with UK mandatory requirements, and in 2027-28 also in compliance with the incoming EU regulatory requirements. Not so difficult perhaps? 
However, to give a flavour of what businesses are expected to contend with, the reporting systems include the following mix of frameworks and classifications: UN SDGs - United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; UNGC - United Nations Global Compact; GRI – the Global Reporting Initiative; TNFD – the Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures; TCFD – the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures now replaced by IFRS S1 & S2, the new ESG reporting standards issued by the International Sustainability Standards Board; SECR - UK Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting Regulation; SDS - UK Sustainability Disclosure Standards; SEC – the US Securities and Exchange Commission; SBTi - Science-Based Targets Initiative; CSRD – the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive; CSDDD - Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. Not so easy then. 
At JS Global we are experts in supporting businesses to help navigate the disclosure landscape. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you. 
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