Climate change is causing substantial structural adjustments to the global economy. Several sectors, such as coal and steel, are undergoing severe problems related to the inevitable transition to a low-carbon economy, while others such as renewables and new environmental adaptation technologies are benefiting substantially. In this context, regulators are beginning to intervene on the legislation, while investors, customers and civil society are looking for alternatives to mitigate, adapt and make these issues more transparent. This article aims to analyze the impact that these changes will inevitably have on banks’ balance sheets, introducing new risks but also opportunities. The final purpose is to help banks integrate climate risks into their organizational framework and to provide guidance on the implementation of the recommendations published by the Task Force on Climate related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) within the broader Financial Stability Board (FSB) objectives and the UN Environment
Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). Starting from a long-term perspective, the work suggests considering climate risk as a financial risk, overcoming traditional approaches that focus on reputational risk. This change implies the integration of climate change risk into the logic of Risk Management (Credit, Market and Operational risks) and a consequent sharing of responsibilities with the structures of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The TCFD recommendations urge banks to use forward looking scenario analyzes, including stress tests, to evaluate and disseminate the “actual and potential impacts” of climate-related risks and opportunities, suggesting in particular to consider the consequences in terms of two categories of risk: physical and transition risk.
Keywords: “climate change”, “transition risk”, “physical risk”, “EU taxonomy”, “IPCC scenarios”, “RCP-SSP-SPA pathways”, “forward looking analysis”, “climate stress test”, “PD assessment”