Under the Adaptation Reporting Power (ARP) established by the Climate Change Act 2008, the government asks some organisations to report on how they manage climate risk. Reports cover the impacts of climate change on their organisation, how they intend to adapt and the progress being made on adaptation.
In line with the Act’s five-yearly cycle, the rules for the fourth round of reporting will be published this year following consultation.
For the first round, it was mandatory to report and for the second and third rounds, it was not. The government is consulting on whether to make reporting mandatory rather than voluntary.
Organisations within the scope of reporting are infrastructure providers and bodies with functions ‘of a public nature’. This includes operators of major infrastructure such as utilities, and transportation, public bodies such as the Environment Agency, and financial regulators. The consultation asks whether to extend the scope of reporting.
IEMA’s Climate Change and Energy steering group members held a workshop to discuss the consultation proposals and prepare IEMA’s response.
Four key recommendations were developed from this process.
The first is that the primary objective for adaptation reporting should be to integrate climate change risk management into the work of reporting organisations. This will raise the overall standard of adaptation planning. The recent IEMA publication Climate Change Adaptation Practitioner Guidance sets out a maturity matrix for adaptation planning and delivery.
Second, reporting should be mandatory. Experience shows that not all organisations will report when reporting is voluntary. Therefore, it is not possible to know whether these organisations – critical for the functioning of society as a whole - are adequately taking the need for adaptation into account as they plan for the future. For this reason, the Steering Group supported the extension of the reporting power to other actors in the infrastructure sector, as well as to regulators. This will close off any gaps, ensuring that no aspects of a sector are ill-prepared for the effects of climate change.
Third, the group concluded that the reporting format should have some degree of standardisation so that the reports can be easily read, understood and audited. If reports are mandatory and standardised, then organisations will be better able to assess their interdependencies with other organisations and risk assess the potential for cascading failures. Any assessment of interdependencies and cascading failures can only be as robust as the weakest report in the system. Auditing is essential so that the quality of reports, as well as the delivery of actions identified in the reports, can be appraised in a transparent manner.
Finally, and so as to minimise burden on organisations, IEMA recommends that reporting is designed in such a way as to complement other climate reporting requirements (such as those in line with the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)). Thus, organisations will not have to repeat work and can submit from one ‘databank’ of reporting content.
For the full response submitted to DEFRA, follow this link. IEMA will be following up and reporting on the government’s response to the consultation in due course.
Posted on 5th April 2023
Written by Chloë Fiddy
Net zero progress in the environment sector
- 26th May 2023
Train company GTR highlights work to improve biodiversity
- 11th May 2023
Where is the government on net zero delivery?
- 11th May 2023
Islamic perspective on the environment
- 4th May 2023
COP28 cover text must include commitment to delivering green skills and training
- 28th April 2023
IEMA responds to House of Lords Built Environment Committee Consultation on The Impact of Environmental Regulations on Development
- 26th April 2023