Understanding the Differences Between IFRS S2 and TCFD Disclosures Regarding Climate Change
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August 23, 2023
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Understanding the Differences Between IFRS S2 and TCFD Disclosures Regarding Climate Change

what is the difference between TCFD and ISSB?

Climate-related disclosures are gaining prominence in the global financial landscape among businesses, investors, and regulators. The International Sustainability Standards Board's (ISSB) IFRS S2 and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures' (TCFD) recommendations are two important frameworks governing these disclosures. This post provides a comprehensive comparison of these two frameworks, highlighting their main distinctions and business implications.

Introduction to IFRS S2 and TCFD

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) issues IFRS S2, a set of guidelines delineating climate-related disclosures for companies. The IFRS S2 is an expansion of IFRS S1, which specifies disclosure requirements for financial information related to sustainability.

On the other hand, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) provides a framework consisting of four fundamental recommendations and eleven recommended disclosures for climate-related financial risks and opportunities.

Principal Distinctions Between IFRS S2 and TCFD

While both frameworks seek to promote transparency and accountability in climate-related disclosures, there are significant distinctions between them. These differences manifest predominantly in three areas:

  1. Language: IFRS S2 captures the same information with different language than the TCFD recommendations. Despite possible differences in semantics, the fundamental intent remains unchanged.
  2. Specific Information: Generally, IFRS S2 necessitates more detailed information in accordance with TCFD recommendations. This additional detail can provide stakeholders with a deeper comprehension of a company's climate-related threats and opportunities.

Additional Guidelines and Requirements: IFRS S2 occasionally departs from the guidance of the TCFD by providing additional requirements and guidance. These deviations do not contradict the TCFD's overall recommendations; rather, they provide additional context and clarification.

Analysis Comparing IFRS S2 and TCFD Recommendations


Both IFRS S2 and TCFD emphasize the necessity of governance in managing risks and opportunities related to climate change. However, IFRS S2 requires more detailed disclosures regarding the governance body's responsibilities, as reflected in, among other things, terms of reference, mandates, and role descriptions.


Despite the fact that both frameworks require disclosure of the potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities, IFRS S2 is more specific. IFRS S2 mandates, for instance, that companies consider industry-specific disclosure topics and provide specific information on where risks and opportunities are concentrated in the business model and value chain.

Management of Risk

Both TCFD and IFRS S2 are concerned with how organizations identify, evaluate, and manage climate-related risks. However, IFRS S2 requires more comprehensive disclosures, such as the input parameters used to identify risks, the use of climate-related scenario analysis, and modifications to risk identification processes compared to the previous reporting period.

Implications for Business Strategy and Investor Analysis

Understanding the nuances of the IFRS S2 and TCFD recommendations is not only crucial from a compliance standpoint, but it can also have a substantial impact on a company's strategic approach to managing climate-related risks and opportunities. Similarly, these standards can impact how investors interpret and utilize these disclosures in order to make informed decisions. Let's examine these facets in greater depth:

Business Approach to Climate Risk

Identifying Threats and Opportunities IFRS S2's level of specificity can prompt businesses to conduct more exhaustive and comprehensive analyses of their climate-related risks and opportunities. Such a granular approach can result in a more comprehensive understanding of how climate change may impact their operations, value chain, and business model in relation to their various operations and value chain components.

Governance and Risk Management With its emphasis on comprehensive disclosures regarding governance and risk management processes, IFRS S2 can encourage businesses to strengthen their internal controls and procedures pertaining to climate change. This can result in a more robust and efficient management of climate-related threats and opportunities.

Planning and Scenario Evaluation: The requirement to provide detailed information on the company's response to identified risks and opportunities, including any transition plans, can encourage businesses to develop more comprehensive and forward-looking climate change strategies.

Interpretation of Disclosures by Investors

(1) Detailed Evaluation: The extensive disclosures mandated by IFRS S2 can provide investors with a deeper understanding of how a company manages climate-related risks and opportunities. This allows for a more thorough evaluation of a company's sustainability performance, resilience, and future prospects.

(2) Comparability and Comparison: Although the difference in language between IFRS S2 and TCFD may initially cause some confusion, the consistency in intent between the two frameworks enables comparison and benchmarking across industries and companies. This is especially helpful for investors who wish to compare the climate-related performance of various investment options.

Decision Making involves: IFRS S2's additional requirements and guidance can provide investors with greater context and clarity, thereby facilitating more informed investment decisions. For example, knowing how a company identifies and manages climate-related risks and opportunities can assist investors in determining the company's resilience to potential climate change impacts and its readiness to capitalize on related opportunities.

In conclusion, the differences between the IFRS S2 and TCFD standards can have substantial effects on how businesses approach climate risk and how investors interpret these disclosures. Businesses and investors can navigate the complexities of climate-related financial disclosures and make more informed decisions if they comprehend these distinctions and their implications.

Concluding Remarks

While the IFRS S2 and TCFD frameworks promote transparency and accountability in climate-related disclosures, they differ in their level of specificity and additional requirements. Understanding these distinctions is essential for businesses that wish to comply with these standards and communicate their climate-related risks and opportunities in a transparent manner.

In an era characterized by climate change and sustainability, these disclosure frameworks play a crucial role in advancing corporate accountability and fostering informed decision-making among stakeholders. By adhering to these standards, businesses can not only improve their environmental impact but also increase their stakeholders' trust and credibility.