Physical Climate Risks: 6 Things Portfolio Managers Need to Know

The negative physical impacts of climate change are being felt by communities and corporations globally and are likely to get worse in the coming years. The knock-on costs of more frequent “once-in-a-century” climate events on economies are likely to rise. To prepare for this looming threat, investors must forecast the asset-level effects of climate change on companies in a granular and sophisticated way. Here are six things portfolio managers should know to manage and mitigate the physical risks of climate change to their portfolios and meet growing list of climate-focused reporting requirements.

Utilities and Carbon Emissions

Impact of US Supreme Court’s EPA Ruling on US Utilities’ Carbon Exposure

The Clean Power Plan was created using a directive from the Clean Air Act that enabled the EPA to set emission limits for air pollutants based on the best available technology to reduce emissions. The EPA aimed to cap carbon emissions and curb greenhouse (GHG) emissions by changing the composition of the existing operational power generation assets by forcing the closure of coal plants through strict emission caps, resulting in a system-wide transition to renewable energy.

oil and gas europe russia

How Europe’s Energy Crisis Impacts the Clean Energy Transition

Europe is facing two major crises—an energy crisis, worsened by Russian energy supply disruptions and the challenge of tackling climate change. Renewables have the potential to accelerate EU's energy independence and reduce emissions. Still, there is also an urgent need to secure an adequate energy supply, especially in the coming winter months when heating demand increases. In the short-term, many EU countries are turning to other fossil fuel producers in the Middle East OPEC+ and the US, as well as domestic coal production. For firms deciding which energy projects to invest in, they face a complex question: are energy supply disruptions advancing the EU’s transition to a lower-carbon economy and its energy independence or furthering the continent’s dependence on fossil fuels?

EU Flags

Sustainable Investment Calculations Under MiFID II and SFDR Remain Perplexing for ESG Investors

The various interpretations of the sustainable investment definition introduced by the SFDR and leveraged in MiFID II leave many market participants unsettled, having to decide between approaches that have different benefits and limitations in the short to medium term.

deforestation biodiversity thematic engagement

Biodiversity loss and climate change call for a nature-positive economy – Stewardship may lead the way

Financial institutions funding the supply chains affected by biodiversity loss stand to lose right alongside farmers, producers and retailers—and so, in turn, do investors. ESG stewardship continues to be a powerful investor instrument to mitigate risks on a changing planet. With growing expectations of double materiality, it is an opportunity for investors to have a greater societal impact and support the transition towards a nature-positive economy.

Mass Timber in Construction - Big Buildings, Smaller Carbon Footprint

As an innovation in the industry, mass timber construction emits significantly less carbon than traditional concrete and metal structures, while modular construction ensures usability across many building types. This article reviews some of the concerns over structural strength, fire safety, regulatory compatibility, cost savings and the sustainability of increased forestry. It then examines current mass timber buildings and projects and looks at their viability as an alternative material for the future.

physical climate risk

Morningstar Sustainalytics Physical Climate Risk Metrics

As climate change challenges the modern investment landscape, evolving marketplace expectations will require investors to disclose both transition and physical climate risks associated with their investments.

Looking at ESG in Crypto, Blockchain, and Public Equities

Beyond the volatile crypto market, blockchain has several features that lend well to commercial applications. Blockchain can help improve the transparency, speed and efficiency of data transfers and monetary transactions. Businesses in multiple industries are using blockchain tools to enhance payment platforms and secure supply chain management systems. Sustainalytics’ latest Thematic Research report, An ESG Lens on Blockchain and Public Equities, surveys ESG risks and opportunities related to applications of blockchain technology that are being developed by listed companies across multiple sectors of the economy.

Key Themes Shaping Proxy Voting in 2022

Key Themes Shaping Proxy Voting in 2022

As the volume and breadth of ESG risk exposure continue to rise, the stage is set for another momentous proxy season. The trending topics of last year will continue to steer the agenda—with the prospect of even more substantial support from shareholders in 2022.

EU Taxonomy in Limbo - Reporting Alignment of Article 8 and 9 Funds in 2022

For observers of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Strategy, 2022 kicked off with a crack and a bang as the European Commission went ahead with plans to include natural gas and nuclear-related activities as potentially sustainable under their ‘Green Taxonomy’. However, in midst of this furor, seemingly less attention has been paid to other components of the regulation that have quietly taken effect from the 1st of January 2022, presenting their own set of challenges.

oil and gas ESG risk

The ESG Risks of National Oil Companies Taking Over Fossil Fuel Production from International Oil Majors

As growing pressure to cut GHG emissions is causing Western oil majors to sell their high-carbon assets, it is expected that National Oil Companies (NOCs) will pick up some of the production. For investors holding an interest in or considering investing in NOCs or sovereign debt, it is worth assessing how fossil fuel production shifts will impact their portfolio’s alignment with climate ambitions and ESG values.

biodiversity and ESG stewardship

3 Reasons to Skill Up and Scale Up ESG Stewardship in 2022

As our clients and the industry at large focus on proactively mitigating risk and capitalizing on this evolving landscape, stewardship will be a key lever for savvy investors—particularly those facing external pressure to divest. Here are the ESG themes we see influencing stewardship priorities this year.

5 Sustainability Themes to Expect in 2022

As we enter 2022, it struck me that VUCA--a concept that originated in the mid-1980s at the U.S. Army War College to describe the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of the world after the Cold War—is still a useful framework to think of where we are now.

Climate Action for Investors

For Investors with Ambitions to Lead on Climate Action Post COP26

In the weeks following COP26, investors in the UK and worldwide face a myriad of upcoming climate-related regulations heading towards the implementation phase. In addition, major global coalitions such as the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero have sprung up to attempt to accelerate decarbonization via targeted investment.

cop26 trending themes for investors

COP 26: A Spotlight on Emerging Climate Action Themes for Investors

Reactions to the COP26 Conference and the resulting Glasgow Climate Pact have predictably run the gamut from claims of greenwashing to the celebration of progress in the fight against climate change. Ultimately, any judgement on COP26 may be premature, as the success of the conference will best be measured in time by the extent to which commitments made are put into motion. While we wait to see the concrete actions that materialize, the past two weeks have underscored the importance of several themes that will garner increasing attention and should be considered by sustainable investors.

EU Action Plan SFDR

Momentum Around Principal Adverse Impact Data Remains Strong Despite SFDR Delays

Despite the shifting timelines, we observe that the market momentum around PAIs is not diminishing, quite the contrary. Investors in the scope of the regulation are using the fourth quarter of this year to get acquainted with PAI data and set up their systems. Most investors we speak with want to be prepared in time to be able to monitor PAIs throughout 2022 and adjust their portfolios to boost their PAIs (or rather limit the downside, as these are adverse impact indicators). This means that PAIs may significantly impact stock selection and portfolio construction by fund managers keen to have ‘good’ PAI scores.

energy crisis

What ESG Risks Should Investors Consider During the Energy Crisis?

As world leaders prepare to meet in Glasgow for COP26 to discuss accelerating climate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, an emerging energy crisis persists around the world.

SFDR EU taxonomy

SFDR and EU Taxonomy Product Disclosure Rules Finally Released

The publication of these rules marks the end of a prolonged period of uncertainty in the market around final rules and timelines - assuming the RTS will be adopted as-is in a Delegated Act, which turns these rules into regulation. There are several noteworthy aspects to these rules, which we address from our perspective in this article.

hurricane

Impact of Climate Change and Extreme Weather on Essential Services

Utilities have found themselves in the literal and metaphorical eye of the storm over the last year as hurricanes, floods and wildfires of increasing frequency and strength have wreaked damage on their assets. In late August, Storm Ida made landfall in Louisiana, USA and devastated the power grid lines. Entergy, the utility operating in Louisiana, supplying most of New Orleans, restored 90% of the supply only by mid-September, with 87,000 customers still without power.

Responsible Investing

Recent market trends put engagement and voting front and centre for responsible investors

From a market perspective, engagement and voting on governance issues have been used as levers for influence for a long time. On the other hand, environmental and social issues were historically addressed from a values-based perspective or primarily for fact-finding purposes. Today, many responsible investors leverage corporate dialogue as a tool to influence and drive meaningful change and impact