Addressing the Agriculture, Energy, Water, Climate Change Nexus

12-13 August 2019, Canberra


Sarah Barker

Special Counsel Climate Risk Governance
Minter Ellison

Sarah Barker has two decades’ experience as a corporate lawyer and is regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on investment governance issues relating to climate change. Her expertise is sought by public and private sector clients across Australasia, and by global institutions from the Bank of England to the United Nations PRI.

Sarah is a non-executive director of Emergency Services & State Super and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia, and on the Steering Committee of the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative. She teaches the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ flagship Company Directors’ Course and Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s ‘Earth on Board’ programme, and in an academic visitor at the Smith School of Enterprise & the Environment at the University of Oxford.

Sarah holds a B.COM (ACC & FIN), LLB (HONS) and M.ENV (HONS).

Environment-schmironment: climate change through a finance and liability lens

First it was activist investors. Then mainstream shareholders. And now finance markets, insurance companies, regulators and even auditors are demanding that companies actively address their climate-related financial risks. But why this shift from ‘ethical fringe’ to ‘financial mainstream’, and what does it mean for corporate governance, strategy risk management and disclosure?  And how can seemingly divergent national policies, regulatory practices and financial market signals be commercially reconciled? Join MinterEllison’s global Head of Climate Risk Governance, Sarah Barker, as she examines climate risk from her unique perspective as a corporate lawyer, director of a large institutional investor, and faculty member of Oxford University’s Sustainable Finance Programme.

The session will focus on emerging corporate governance issues for FY19, from:

  • International regulatory developments: the EU’s Green Taxonomy, the UK’s Net Zero Law, and signalling by central banks and prudential regulators;
  • International financial market trends: integration of climate-related issues into credit ratings and commercial loan margin adjustments;
  • Litigation trends beyond planning and permitting: climate-related negligence, nuisance, directors’ duties and securities fraud claims; and
  • Annual reports: heightened investor expectations around TCFD-aligned disclosures, and new regulatory guidance on the integration (and audit) of climate-related assumptions in balance sheet accounting estimates.