Background to the guide
The United Nations describes climate change as the defining issue of our time. Action to limit future global greenhouse gas emissions will help restrict future changes in the climate system. Impacts from climate change are already being felt today and will continue to increase in the future.
The government has committed to achieving ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and a challenge of this scale will require transformative change to the UK economy. There are a number of departments across government that are central to government’s response to climate change. However, the all-encompassing nature of achieving net zero means that all government bodies, including departments, arm’s-length bodies and executive agencies, have a role to play.
Purpose of the guide
Audit and Risk Assurance Committees (ARACs) play a key role in supporting and advising the board and Accounting Officer in their responsibilities over risk management.
This guide will help ARACs recognise how climate change risks could manifest themselves and support them in challenging senior management on their approach to managing climate change risks. We have outlined specific reporting requirements that currently apply.
Our primary audience is ARAC chairs of bodies that we audit, but the principles of the guide will be relevant for bodies across the wider public sector. It promotes good practice and should not be viewed as mandatory guidance.
Climate change and the nature of its impacts on organisations globally is changing rapidly. This guide acknowledges the evolving nature of climate change and its associated risks and opportunities and will be refreshed in the future to reflect those changes.