An ASIC commissioner has urged company directors to take seriously a leading barrister's opinion that they could face lawsuits for failing to consider risks related to climate change.
As large corporations face pressure to tell their investors more about risks they may face from climate change, ASIC Commissioner John Price said in a speech on Monday directors "would do well" to carefully consider a 2016 legal opinion by Noel Hutley SC and Sebastien Hartford-Davis.
The legal advice, which was commissioned by the Centre for Policy Development (CPD) and the Future Business Council, said directors not thinking about climate change risks today could be found liable for breaching their duty of care in the future.
"While matters such as this will, in the end, be determined by a court, we think the Hutley opinion is relatively unremarkable," Mr Price said in a speech to a CPD event in Sydney.
"We say that in the sense that, in our view, the opinion appears legally sound and is reflective of our understanding of the position under the prevailing case law in Australia in so far as directors’ duties are concerned."