aerial view turquoise navy coastline

Australian climate reporting lawsuit could have “global ramifications”

A legal case that will test climate reporting duties in the courts for the first time has been brought by two shareholders in Australia.

The case is against one of the country’s biggest companies, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, on the basis that it is failing to report on the risks climate change may pose to its financial performance. They argue this disclosure is required by the Corporations Act.

The two shareholders are represented by Environmental Justice Australia, whose lawyers filed proceedings in the Federal Court today. The EJA lawyers confirmed this case could set an important precedent, while lawyers from ClientEarth note that it may set a standard worldwide.

ClientEarth lawyer Daniel Wiseman, who qualified in Australia, said: “With this case, the risk of litigation over poor climate disclosure has become a clear reality for companies. It’s unsurprising that investors are demanding companies properly disclose climate change risks – particularly where these companies have clear exposure to the fossil fuel sector.

“Shareholders will not be content to stand by silently without reassurance that climate risk is being adequately managed. This case against a major bank could signal a new trend in this type of litigation – with global ramifications.

“Many other countries already have similar disclosure requirements to Australia. In the UK, the Bank of England and other financial regulators have now made clear that financial institutions like banks and insurers should be considering climate risk.

“To limit exposure to this sort of litigation, business leaders need to get acquainted, and quickly, with their legal duties and with emerging industry standards, like the TCFD recommendations.”

Share this...
Share on Facebook! Tweet this! Share on LinkedIn! Email!


Related articles

More from or

  • aerial view turquoise navy coastline

    Australian climate reporting lawsuit could have “global ramifications”

    Climate reporting standards will be tested for the first time in the Australian courts. ClientEarth lawyers say it could have global ramifications.

  • bird flying

    Regional Spanish government authorised illegal emissions, court rules

    The Supreme Court of Asturias, in north west Spain, rules that a power plant was allowed an illegal permit and pumped out excess harmful pollutants.

  • california beach

    Carbon Majors to face court over rising sea levels in California

    Three local governments have launched legal claims against 20 fossil fuel companies, seeking a contribution to their costs of adapting to rising sea levels.

  • house over lake new zealand

    Law student sues New Zealand over climate change failings

    A New Zealand law student is suing the country’s Minister for Climate Change over national emissions reduction targets.

  • Follow us


    Get our regular email newsletters, they contain the latest updates on our work as well as features and articles about environmental issues, science and politics.