This is pretty intense when you realise the implications of this legal opinion. Directors of companies and/or investment schemes have a ‘legal duty of care’ to the price in climate-related financial risk. This applies in the case where a business directly depends on the climate itself, like farming, as well as a business that is potentially impacted by societal changes as we try to mitigate future climate change. In other words, if you are a farm holding company you must consider how climate change directly impacts on your farm’s productivity; that’s pretty obvious. But if you are a company that uses transport, Chapman Tripp’s advice is that you need to consider that society may decide to re-price energy or even charge transport itself in order to meet the requirements of a zero-carbon society.
2030 sounds like it’s a long way away, but in a month it’ll be just nine years off. We know we need to get moving, and now we have a legal opinion that we are required by ‘duty of care’ to consider the impacts.