New research on sea level rise emphasizes the potential for dire changes over the course of the century. Recent satellite data suggests that warming water is causing East Antarctica to melt more quickly than previously thought and a study released in early May found that almost a quarter of West Antarctica’s ice is thinning, with its largest glaciers shrinking five times faster than in 1992. A study based on expert opinion found that there is the possibility of sea levels rising by 2 meters (6.5ft) under an extreme scenario of 5˚C global temperature increase. This would mean an area of land as big as Libya would be lost, and up to 2.5% of the population globally could be displaced.
Extreme scenarios of sea level rise will have severe impacts on our cities and economies. Sea level rise is happening today to a lesser extent; however it is already having tangible impacts on real estate values. This means increasing costs for property owners and tenants, but it also has far-reaching market impacts on access to and cost of insurance, fluctuations in market values and potential increase in local taxes to fund adaptation efforts.
Investors and businesses have a responsibility to understand these risks: using best available science to measure exposure to sea level rise and other flood risks, getting informed on adaptation efforts by local governments, and engaging with local industry associations or other groups to promote further investments in resilience.
Four Twenty Seven works with investors to provide portfolio hotpot screenings and real time due diligence with site-specific data on sea level rise and other climate risks. Contact us for more detailed analysis and site-specific data on sea level rise exposure and detailed analysis of local jurisdictions’ response.
Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments on climate risk and resilience. This month we explore the second year of Art. 173 reports, highlight regulators' action on climate risk and share new findings on financial climate risk in Asia.
In Focus: Lessons Learned from Art. 173 Reporting - An Update
Physical Risk Analysis is Stronger in Art. 173's Second Year
The second year of reporting under Article 173 in France saw increased analysis of physical climate risk, but there is still substantial room for improvement. We reviewed disclosures from 49 asset owners in France, finding that almost half of the respondents conducted more substantial physical risk analysis compared to last year. Insurance companies AXA and Generali provided the most detailed analysis for property portfolios, adding to their previous methodology. FRR and Comgest provided the most thorough assessment of physical climate risk in their investment portfolios and BPCE Group was the only bank with a complete analysis of physical risk.
Many firms still cite lack of data and tools as a barrier to adopting thorough analysis of physical risks. Those firms that are on the forefront of climate risk reporting disclose asset-level risk exposure and are beginning to explore how to assess value at risk and scenario analysis for physical climate risks, which are emerging as key research topics.
While French firms are refining their climate risk disclosures, other companies across Europe are beginning to report on climate risk. 30 out of the top 80 companies in Europe made statements in support of TCFD and/or released disclosures, according to the Climate Disclosures Standard Board's review, First steps on climate-related financial disclosures in Europe. Only seven of these firms addressed physical risks.
ClimINVEST reviews developments in physical climate risk assessment in the financial sectors of France, the Netherlands and Norway, finding that common needs across these countries include in-house capacity building, improved risk assessment tools, increased understanding of the impacts of extreme events & guidance on corporate engagement. The report also reviews the landscape of physical risk data providers, including Four Twenty Seven.
How do these developments in TCFD reporting affect the greater landscape of financial risk disclosure and management? In its winter issue the Climate Change Business Journal interviewed Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, about the history of the TCFD, it’s uptake to-date and how the recommendations influence other developments on risk disclosure. Emilie says, “The market is in exploratory mode: this is an emerging issue, and the collective understanding of impacts on corporations and financial markets is fast evolving. What is clear, however, is that this is a very material issue, and that is here to stay.”
Central Banks and Regulators Take Action
A Call for Action: Climate Change as a Source of Financial Risk
example by assessing risks in central bank portfolios, promote the growth of publicly available data and encourage continued research and knowledge sharing on climate risks. The report makes two final recommendations for policy-makers: encourage continued uptake of climate risk disclosures, in line with the TCFD and develop a taxonomy of activities that support the transition to a resilient low-carbon economy and those that are highly exposed to climate and environmental risks.
Integrating Physical Climate Risks into Insurance Stress Tests
The draft outlines three scenarios, including a sudden disorderly transition, a long-term orderly transition and a "hot house" scenario without transition and lists metrics of physical risk hazards and transition risk for each scenario. Feedback from industry participants is requested by May 31.
Survey of French Banks and Insurers on Climate Risk
While banks and insurers have made significant progress on assessing transitition risk, progress in undertanding physical and liability risks is much slower. In response to these findings ACPR will establish two working groups with the financial sector, one on governance of climate-change related risks and another on risk metrics and scenario analysis.
Climate Change: Awareness to Action
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) surveyed 38 regulated entities including authorized deposit-taking institutions, superannuation firms and insurers on their risk perceptions, governance, strategy, risk management, metrics and targets and disclosures. Firms identified several opportunities associate with climate risk response: positioning themselves as
industry leaders, developing new products and promoting community resilience. Over 50% of respondents are conducting financial analysis of key risks. Many cite data limitations, resource constraints, regulatory uncertainty and lack of defined terms and methods as barriers to conducting scenario analysis.
Climate Change and the Federal Reserve
"In short, climate change is becoming relevant for a range of macroeconomic issues, including potential output growth, capital formation, productivity, and the long-run level of the real interest rate," writes Glenn D. Rudebusch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. His economic research letter highlights the ways that climate risks are pertinent for monetary policy, encouraging continued research on the financial impacts of climate change hazards.
Asian Investors Exposed to Water-Related Climate Risk
Are Asia's Pension Funds ready for Climate Change?
They found that public pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and central banks tend to have portfolios concentrated in their domestic markets, which are also highly exposed to climate risks. The export economies of India and China are particularly vulnerable to water stress, and businesses must prepare for the shift in economic policy towards more resilient industries. In light of high exposure to climate impacts that are already locked in, financial actors should promote adaptation finance, assess their portfolios' physical risk exposure and engage with companies and industry initiatives.
Yale 2019 Symposium on Sustainable Finance Call For Papers
The Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance is seeking papers for its 2019 Symposium on "The State of Play in ESG Investing.” They will consider empirical research papers, literature reviews or position papers from scholars, practitioners and industry experts. Selected authors will be asked to present at the symposium in November. Specific focal topics within the broad theme of ESG investing include: environmental and social impact metrics; portfolio-level ESG assessment and metrics; ESG in financial disclosures; future reporting frameworks for ESG information; private equity and ESG; and social- and green-impact bonds. Abstracts are due by May 17.
Join the Four Twenty Seven team at these events:
April 30 - May 1 – Ceres Conference 2019, San Francisco, CA: Meet with Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati on Wednesday.
April 30 – NAREIM Sustainability & Investment Management, Chicago, IL: Chief Operating Officer, Colin Shaw, will present on climate risk data for real estate at this gathering of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers.
May 1 – Addenda Capital Investor Day, Toronto, Canada: Colin Shaw will present on physical climate risk.
May 9 – Addenda Capital Investor Day, Montreal, Canada: Emilie Mazzacurati will present on physical climate risk.
April 30, 2019 – 427 ANALYSIS. The second year of reporting under Article 173 in France saw increased uptake of disclosures of physical risk. Our review of 2018 disclosures from 49 asset owners in France shows that almost half of the respondents conducted more substantial analysis of their exposure to physical impacts of climate change compared to last year. We find insurance companies Axa and Generali provided the most detailed analysis for property portfolios, while FRR and Comgest provided the most thorough assessment of physical climate risk in their investment portfolios and BPCE Group was the only bank with a complete analysis of physical risk.
Art. 173: A Second Year of Mandated Climate Risk Reporting
2018 was the second reporting year under Art. 173 of the French Law on Energy Transition and Green Growth, which was passed in August 2015. It requires major institutional investors and asset managers to explain how they take Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria, including climate change, into account in their risk management and investment policies.
Art. 173 covers publicly traded companies, banks and credit providers, asset managers and institutional investors (insurers, pension or mutual funds and sovereign wealth funds). In addition, asset managers managing funds above 500 M€ and institutional investors with balance sheets above 500 M€ are subject to extended climate change-related reporting obligations, including reporting on both physical impacts of climate change and transition risks (impact of the transition to a low-carbon economy).
We carried out a desktop analysis of the 2018 reports (applying to 2017 portfolios) to understand how financial institutions responded to the requirements laid out by Art. 173 and how their reporting has evolved since last year. We reviewed 49 asset owners in France, including public pension funds, asset managers and insurance companies, with an aggregate €5.5 trillion euro ($6.8tn) under management. Our analysis included all public entities covered by the Art. 173, as well as private insurers with over €2bn in assets under management. Insurance companies play a particularly important role as asset owners in France, where individual savings are massively invested in life insurance savings products. French pension funds, on the other hand, are relatively small due to France’s pay-as-you-go retirement system.
Art. 173 Reporting Trends in Year Two
We were able to find Art. 173 reports for 36 out of 49 organizations. It is possible that, in spite of our best efforts, we failed to locate reports. However, Art. 173 has a ‘comply or explain’ provision which also makes it acceptable for companies to not publish reports if they can justify that climate change is not a material risk, or to solely file their reports with the regulator rather than releasing them.
We found twenty five Art. 173 reports from insurance companies, five from pension funds, two from asset managers and four reports issued by banking institutions. We also found a press statement from HSBC that mentioned an Art. 173 report but we were unable to find the report itself and did not include it in the analysis.
Did Firms Change Their Disclosure Strategy?
Overall, 23 companies (47%) have made significant improvements in their disclosure since last year. These companies have either kept the same methodological framework and refined it or have published substantially more comprehensive reports than last year. Among them, two firms, Groupe Macsf and Carac, have published a report for the first time. Only four companies (8%) have provided reports which were less complete than last year, including one company for which we found a report last year, but not this year. 45% of the firms published reports which were very similar to last year.
How Did Firms Report This Year?
Table 1 presents a detailed breakdown of how insurance companies and asset managers have taken physical climate risks into account in 2018 reports.
12 organizations (25%) only discussed their carbon footprint or their exposure to energy transition risk, without including physical risk disclosures. A small group of organizations (10%) mentioned physical risk as a topic they were exploring without being able to provide a complete analysis for the moment, many citing the lack of tools and models as a major impediment to reporting physical risks.
11 institutions (23%) used a thorough methodology to analyze their exposure to physical risks, compared to only seven companies last year. Several firms released noticeably improved disclosure this year. Out of those firms that did asses their exposure to physical climate risk, nine (19%) carried out a bottom-up analysis of physical risks by assessing the asset-level risk exposure of at least some of their portfolio. Two institutions (4%) performed a “top-down” analysis, carrying out a multi-asset class, sector-level analysis of physical climate risk.
Finally, eight firms (17%) were classified in the “work in progress” category. These companies studied physical climate risk at the company-level among many other criteria as part of a broader analysis of the sustainability of their portfolio. Many of these companies acknowledge that they have not yet been able to develop a complete methodology for assessing physical risks.
Axa is one of France’s leading multinational insurance firms holding 905B€ of assets. While Axa’s 2018 Art. 173 disclosure is very similar to last year, with a bottom-up approach and an internal analysis, the study has increased in accuracy and scope. Like last year, the methodology considers European natural disasters as well as the geographical location of individual assets and the destruction rate of building materials.
In addition to the traditional report about Art. 173 which lays out the principles and commitments of the firm regarding the ESG criteria, Axa released its first report aligning with the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. Axa’s analysis covered $34 billion worth of assets, compared to $15 billion last year, encompassing commercial real estate debt, infrastructures debt, and property debt. Unlike last year, the assessment was not limited to the financial impact of windstorms but also included the potential impact of floods on the infrastructure in its portfolio. Like last year, the analysis considers 100% of the infrastructure portfolio but this year it also covers 88% of the real estate portfolio in 14 countries, compared to 41% last year.
Figure 4 demonstrates the physical risk exposure to windstorms and floods for the analyzed infrastructure. On the left, the graph displays the annual average destruction rate, which is linked to the average loss generated every year (3.3M€ on average). The map on the right shows the destruction rates due to a 100-year event, with an estimated loss of 27.2 M€. In 2019, Axa plans to expand its internal model to evaluate the financial losses resulting from floods in more European countries.
Axa used a value at risk methodology to assess the potential costs and revenues associated with climate change for each company in its equity and corporate bond portfolios, but this assessment largely focused on transition risks.
Generali France is a French insurance company with 521B€ worth of assets. Generali also provided a more detailed evaluation of the potential impact of physical risks on its property assets than last year. It analyzed 268 assets, compared to 112 last year. Unlike last year, the analysis was not limited to the Paris area, but was expanded to all real estate assets held by the company. 89% of the assets are located in Paris, 7% outside Paris and 4% in the overseas department. They carried out a broader analysis of physical risks by adding earthquakes and avalanches to the study, in addition to flood and drought. The assessment rates assets from “high” to “very low” risk, finding that 5.4% of assets or 18 sites are classified as “high risk” for flood, 2% of assets (11 buildings) are classified as “medium risk” to drought and four of these 11 buildings are concentrated in the same building zone near Paris.
Comgest is an international asset management group with 25.7 B€ worth of assets. The firm released physical risk disclosure reports for its three largest funds: global, European, and emerging market. Four Twenty Seven conducted the physical risk analysis for Comgest, splitting physical risks into three categories: operations risk, market risk, and supply chain risk. The analysis also included a comparison of portfolio risk scores to relevant benchmark indices to highlight the holdings’ relative risk exposure. This asset-level assessment included exposure to storm, drought, extreme rainfall, floods, sea level rise, and heat stress. The analysis resulted in an aggregate score reflecting the portfolio’s exposure to physical climate risks, based on the sectors in the portfolio and the geographic distribution of companies’ assets.
Regionally, the portfolio companies in Asia are most exposed to physical climate risks. Half of the sites are located in Japan and China, which makes the portfolio vulnerable to cyclones and extreme rainfall. The rest of the portfolio is located in the United States and Europe, which have relatively low exposure to physical risks. The risk of rising sea level is relatively low for the portfolio, with only 15% of the sites being exposed.
Overall, 2018 showed an increase in the inclusion of physical climate risks assessment by French financial institutions. However, reporting on physical climate risk remains a challenging task for investors. Many organizations lack the tools, models and data to perform a comprehensive assessment of their portfolios, and for many firms, physical risks appear to still be a lower priority than transition risks. Those firms that are on the forefront of climate risk reporting disclose asset-level risk exposure and are beginning to explore how to assess value at risk and scenario analysis for physical climate risks. 2019 reporting is ongoing and has already brought some new high profile reporters, including the French Central Bank, Banque de France. The positive trends in 2018’s Art. 173 reports, along with continued uptake of TCFD recommendations, ongoing pressure from central banks and regulators, and increasing losses from extreme weather events, suggest that we will see continued growth in physical climate risk disclosures during the third year of Art. 173 reporting.
This analysis was written with support from Roman Dhulst and Natalie Ambrosio.
Climate risk disclosure is essential to building market transparency and a resilient financial system. France led the way in mandating climate risk disclosure in 2015 and continues to play a key role in catalyzing the financial sector’s understanding and disclosure of climate risk. As part of its seven part series highlighting approaches to green finance in “pioneering countries,” Germanwatch published a piece by Four Twenty Seven on France’s role in promoting climate risk disclosure. Read the article below, or find the German version here.
Climate Risk Disclosure: France Paves the Way
Already in 2015, France adopted a law on climate risk disclosure paving the way for protecting economic systems from the consequences of climate change. But others need to follow.
Financial institutions and governments around the world are acknowledging the importance of climate change on the sustainable finance agenda. The World Economic Forum identified climate change-related risks as the top three most likely global risks for 2019, followed by data fraud and cyber attacks, and as four out of the top five most impactful risks, after weapons of mass destruction. This underscores the importance of building economies resilient to climate change impacts.
In 2015, just before the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) and the Paris Agreement, France became the first country to pass a law requiring publicly listed companies, institutional investors and asset managers to report their climate-related risks, including both transition risks (associated with the transition to a low carbon economy) and physical risks (associated with extreme weather events or chronic stresses affecting businesses and economic assets).
While today’s conversations about the Paris Agreement and sustainable finance require a transition to a low carbon economy, governments have realized that they also require discussion of the economic risks of physical climate impacts that will occur whether or not Paris climate targets are met. Reaching the adaptation goals of the Paris Agreement requires catalyzing investment in climate resilience. Increasing transparency on companies’ and investors’ exposure to physical climate risk is an essential first step towards identifying opportunities to invest in adaptation and build resilience.
The Approach: Comply or Explain
The French Energy Transition Law and its Art. 173 laid the regulatory groundwork for integrating climate risk transparency into the national sustainable finance approach. The regulation uses a comply or explain approach, providing flexibility for how firms disclose their risks and allowing firms to opt-out from reporting, with an explanation. This fosters discussions among investors, insurers and businesses to find the most informative and feasible risk analysis and reporting methodology across sectors.
The Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) released its final recommendations for climate-related disclosures in June 2017. These voluntary recommendations provided additional direction on how to disclose climate risks, but still do not provide concrete metrics. French organizations, such as Finance for Tomorrow and I4CE, the Institute for Climate Economics, help to catalyze continued research on this topic and keep climate on the sustainable finance agenda.
International initiatives also help facilitate ongoing thought leadership: for example the report Advancing TCFD Guidance on Physical Climate Risks and Opportunities prepared by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Global Center for Excellence on Climate Adaptation, based on working groups of financial sector experts. While data providers, such as Four Twenty Seven, help to fill data gaps by providing asset-level data on climate risk exposure, there will continue to be ongoing conversations about how best to incorporate this information into actionable disclosures.
Other countries follow the example of France
Art. 173 has helped to center the Paris marketplace in the landscape of green finance. Action on climate risk disclosure continues to increase both within France and internationally. Influential financial actors are beginning to report their own risk exposure, encouraging the market to follow suit. The French Central Bank (Banque de France) for example, released a comprehensive analyses of physical and transition risk in its portfolios in compliance with Art. 173 and TCFD, aiming to set an example for emerging best practices for disclosure. The Dutch Central Bank assessed the exposure of its financial sector to water stress and other environmental risks. Countries such as Spain and Sweden have voiced their support of the TCFD and their consideration of legislation similar to Art. 173, and in July 2018 the Italian insurance supervisor IVASS released a comprehensive reporting requirement for Environmental Social Governance (ESG) risks, including climate change.
In early 2018, the European Commission published an Action Plan: Financing Sustainable Growth, outlining ten actions with timelines by the end of 2019. This led to the development of a Technical Expert Group, which has four workstreams underway: developing a sustainable finance taxonomy, integrating climate change into non-financial reporting requirements, creating a green bond standard and creating carbon indices standards.
Art. 173 mandates an assessment of reporting progress made during the first two years of its application. This review may lead to more explicit guidance on reporting methodologies, potentially expanding the directive to apply to more actors. This, alongside increasing regulatory and investor pressure, will propel the continued improvement of physical climate risk disclosure. As uptake of climate risk and opportunity disclosure increases and is integrated into financial decision-making, France, along with other nations, will make important progress on building more sustainable economies.
FEBRUARY 19, 2019 – SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – Four Twenty Seven receives Climate Change Business Journal Awards for three climate change risk and resilience projects.
The Climate Change Business Journal (CCBJ) released its 10th annual CCBJ Business Achievement Awards, recognizing outstanding business performance in the climate change industry. CCBJ assesses markets and business opportunities across the emerging climate change industry and acknowledged Four Twenty Seven’s contributions to this field through our global dataset on climate risk in real estate, the development of the California Heat Assessment Tool and our contribution to the EBRD-GCECA initiative on Advancing TCFD Guidance on Physical Climate Risks and Opportunities.
The California Heat Assessment Tool (CHAT) earned the Project Merit: Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience award for its innovative approach to helping public health officials, health professionals and residents understand what changing heat wave conditions mean for them, through a free online platform. CHAT is part of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, a state-mandated research program to assess climate change impacts in California, and was developed by Four Twenty Seven, Argos Analytics, the Public Health Institute and Habitat 7 with technical support from the California Department of Public Health.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation initiative on Advancing the TCFD Recommendations on Physical Climate Risks and Opportunities earned the Advancing Best Practices: Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience award. This project culminated in a conference and report building on Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations and providing common foundations for the disclosure of climate-related physical risks and opportunities. It identifies where further research or market action is needed so that detailed, consistent, industry-specific guidelines can be developed on the methodology for quantifying and reporting these risks and opportunities. Four Twenty Seven and Acclimatise provided the technical secretariat that led the working groups and authored the report.
LONDON, Feb. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — A new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a global multidisciplinary real estate organization, and Heitman LLC (Heitman), a global real estate investment management firm, points to the pressing need for greater understanding throughout the industry of the investment risks posed by the impacts of climate change. It also highlights proactive measures by Heitman and other leading firms to stay at the forefront of mitigation strategies and accurately price risk into investment decisions.
Climate Risk and Real Estate Investment Decision-Making explores current methods for assessing and mitigating climate risk in real estate, including physical risks such as catastrophes and transitional risks such as regulatory changes, availability of resources and attractiveness of locations. Both types of risks have financial impacts for real estate, including higher operational costs and declining property values. The report, released today at ULI’s Europe Conference in London, is based on insights from more than 25 investors and investment managers in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific, as well as existing research.
“Understanding and mitigating climate risk is a complex and evolving challenge for real estate investors,” said ULI Global Chief Executive Officer W. Edward Walter. “Risks such as sea-level rise and heat stress will increasingly highlight the vulnerability not only of individual assets and locations, but of entire metropolitan areas. This report shows that Heitman and other leading ULI members are prioritizing this issue with provocative approaches to better gauge and develop mitigation strategies. Building for resilience, on a portfolio, property and citywide basis, is paramount to staying competitive. Factoring in climate risk is becoming the new normal for our industry.”
“Opportunities are emerging across the real estate industry for investment managers and investors to better assess climate risk and navigate the potential impacts of climate change on assets and portfolios,” said Maury Tognarelli, Heitman Chief Executive Officer. “More accurate, forward-looking data on the risks associated with climate change are becoming available, positioning the industry to incorporate climate risks into how investments are underwritten and portfolios constructed. Ultimately, we hope this report will spur discussion among real estate industry participants with the end-goal of improving the investment outcomes for our clients and constituents.”
The real estate industry as a whole has just begun the development of more advanced strategies to recognize, understand and manage risks, and for the most part presently relies on insurance to cover the majority of the shorter term, financial-oriented risks related to climate change, the report states. However, while insurance has remained generally attainable in risk-prone areas, being insured does not protect investors from a reduction in asset liquidity. That, along with the likelihood of future changes in insurance availability and costs, is prompting a growing number of investors and investment managers to explore new ways to build climate risks into their investment processes, including:
Mapping physical risk for current portfolios and potential acquisitions;
Incorporating climate risk into due diligence and other investment decision-making processes;
Incorporating additional physical adaptation and mitigation measures for assets at risk;
Exploring a variety of strategies to mitigate risk, including portfolio diversification and investing directly in the mitigation measures for specific assets; and
Engaging with policy makers on local resilience strategies.
Whether or not their assets have already been directly affected by the impacts of climate change, “investors see climate considerations as a necessary layer of fiduciary responsibility to their stakeholders, as well as an opportunity to identify markets and assets that will benefit from a changing climate,” notes the report. While early adapters have committed resources to gain knowledge and improve awareness of climate risk, in the coming years, methods are likely to become more sophisticated, it adds.
“The industry needs to be able to better measure the value impact so it can base its future decision-making on a quantitative rather than qualitative understanding of the risks and the potential return on investment from investing in mitigation strategies for their assets.”
While awareness of climate risk is growing, none of the report’s interviewees have yet ruled out attractive investment markets solely because of that risk, the report says. Still, interviewees emphasized the need to invest in a “sensible and smart” way in markets where physical risks from climate change are evident.
Climate Risk shows that leading investment managers and institutional investors are at various points in the undertaking of resilience scans of their portfolios. These scans help to identify vulnerabilities and impacts resulting from sea-level rise, flooding, heavy rainfall, water stress, extreme heat, wildfires and hurricanes. This includes short-term considerations such as business disruption for building tenants as well as higher operating and capital costs caused by increased wear and tear on properties.
The report highlights Heitman’s use of emerging technology that combines next-generation climate maps with real estate data to manage climate risk. Providers of this technology use scientific climate models that project long-term, global climate change impacts and clarify the degree of exposure to both extreme weather events and chronic industry-disrupting fluctuations, such as rising seas. The report also shows how Heitman integrated the analysis into its investment decision-making, noting that the company also considers if and how an asset and the community in which it is located has already begun to mitigate climate risks. “The climate risk assessment contributes to a holistic approach (by Heitman) to constructing global property portfolios,” says the report. “If a portfolio is determined to have a higher-than-targeted exposure, it can be rebalanced over time through limiting new acquisitions or exiting existing assets exposed to a certain risk.”
As a whole, the industry needs to understand the pricing impacts of physical climate risks, and how climate change is likely to have a bigger impact on valuation in the future as asset and market liquidity are affected, the report says. It identifies several steps to raise awareness, such as:
Improve analyses of climate risk in annual and quarterly reports. This helps create awareness among investment managers and investors and helps drive change.
Use big data to better understand patterns around changes in asset liquidity and value, and weather forecasting.
Work with the insurance industry to understand data and gain knowledge on how climate change is affecting premiums and coverage.
Engage with city leaders in vulnerable areas to support city-level commitment to and implementation of physical and transitional risk mitigation strategies.
“An eventual downward repricing of higher-risk assets will be the market’s way of redirecting capital to locations and individual assets where it is expected to be better insulated from these particular risks. This process will be painful for investors who are caught off guard, but those who are prepared have the potential to outperform,” the report concludes.
Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, we release a new report to help corporations and investors understand local adaptive capacity, share initiatives to standardize adaptation and highlight resources on adaptation finance.
In Focus: Assessing Local Adaptive Capacity
427 Report: Helping Corporations and Investors Understand
Local Adaptive Capacity
Building resilient communities and financial systems requires an understanding of climate risk exposure, but also of how prepared communities are to manage that risk. From flooded or damaged public infrastructure hindering employee and customer commutes to competition for water resources threatening business operations and urban heat reducing public health, the impacts of climate change on a community will impact the businesses and real estate investors based in that community.
Our newest report describes Four Twenty Seven's framework for assessing adaptive capacity in a way that’s actionable for corporations seeking to understand the risk and resilience of their own facilities and for investors assessing risk in their portfolios or screening potential investments. We create location-specific analysis by focusing on three pillars: 1) awareness, 2) economic and financial characteristics, and 3) the quality of adaptation planning and implementation. This helps the private sector understand their assets' risks and provides an entry-point for collaboration on local resilience-building.
While climate mitigation has traditionally been the focus of efforts to address climate change, the past few years have seen an increased recognition of adaptation as a critical element of confronting climate change. As efforts grow to understand, quantify and catalyze adaptation investment there is a growing need for standardization and metrics around resilience investments.
This will contribute to the ongoing effort to identify investments that build resilience in specific industries. The TEG recently released its preliminary report outlining its current thinking and explaining where it is soliciting feedback. The report shows the current lack of consensus around adaptation metrics and the need to standardize resilience definitions.
These principles will be released for public consultation in June 2019 and will lay the foundation for the development of sector-specific adaptation and resilience criteria. Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, and Strategic Advisor, Josh Sawislak, are members of AREG.
Plugging the Climate Adaptation Gap with High Resilience Benefit Investments
In this report S&P Global Ratings highlights both the funding gap and the multifaceted benefits of resilience projects. It outlines both challenges and benefits of quantifying benefits of adaptation projects and the barriers to adaptation, providing a small case study on the economic benefits of adapting to sea level rise. Lastly, the brief report emphasizes the need for private investment to support limited public funding.
This report outlines a vision for a realigned financial system, prepared for long-term climate risks and opportunities. The OECD, World Bank and UN Environment explain the dire need to disclose climate-related financial information in infrastructure projects and to invest in low-emission, resilient infrastructure that is both prepared for a changing climate and able to catalyze economic growth.
“I’m honored to be recognized by The Top 100 Magazine,” says Emilie. “We’re pushing the boundaries of how the financial world thinks about climate change, and appreciate the recognition on how our work helps drive the conversation on climate risk.” The Top 100 Magazine writes that while climate data "may seem like a fairly novel niche within the financial sector, the demand for this data has grown exponentially over the past two years... [Four Twenty Seven's] analysis leverages best-in-class climate data at the most granular level, and scores assets based on their precise geographic location. This provides the financial industry with the most comprehensive overview of investment outcomes related to present and future climate changes."
Join the Four Twenty Seven team at these upcoming events:
February 12 – Investing for Impact, New York, NY: Emilie Mazzacurati will present on adaptation as an impact investment opportunity at this annual convening hosted by The Economist.
March 20-22 – Climate Leadership Conference, Baltimore, MD: Emilie Mazzacurati will speak about the evolving landscape of climate risk disclosure.
April 10-12 – RI Asia Japan, Tokyo, Japan: Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas, will present on climate analytics for investors and Emilie Mazzacurati will also join this convening.
April 13-16 – APA National Planning Conference, San Francisco, CA: Director of Advisory Services, Yoon Kim, and Director of Analytics, Nik Steinberg, will speak on a panel called, "Beyond Vulnerability: Innovative Adaptation Planning."
April 23-25 – National Adaptation Forum, Madison, WI: Editor, Natalie Ambrosio, will present on local adaptive capacity from a private sector perspective.
April 29 - May 1 – Ceres Conference 2019, San Francisco, CA: The Four Twenty Seven team will join investors and corporations at this annual gathering.
January 15, 2019 – 427 REPORT. Building resilient communities and financial systems requires an understanding of climate risk exposure, but also of how prepared communities are to manage that risk. Understanding the adaptive capacity, or ability to prepare for change and leverage opportunities, of the surrounding area can help businesses and investors determine how exposure to climate risk is likely to impact their assets and what the most strategic responses may be. This report outlines Four Twenty Seven’s framework for creating location-specific actionable assessments of adaptive capacity to inform business and investment decisions and catalyze resilience-building.
Every investment, from real assets to corporate initiatives, is inextricably connected to its surrounding community. From flooded or damaged public infrastructure hindering employee and customer commutes to competition for water resources threatening business operations and urban heat reducing public health, the impacts of climate change on a community will impact the businesses and real estate investors based in that community. Thus, evaluating how acute and chronic physical climate hazards will affect local communities and communities’ responses enables investors and corporations to assess the full extent of the risks they face.
This report, Assessing Local Adaptive Capacity to Understand Corporate and Financial Climate Risks, outlines Four Twenty Seven’s framework for capturing a city’s adaptive capacity in a way that’s actionable for corporations seeking to understand the risk and resilience of their own facilities and for investors assessing risk in their portfolios or screening potential investments. The framework focuses on three main pillars: 1) awareness, 2) economic and financial characteristics, and 3) the quality of adaptation planning and implementation. It is informed by social sciences research, recent work by credit rating agencies, and our experience working directly with cities and investors.
While a city’s adaptive capacity plays a key role in determining whether or not exposure to climate hazards will lead to damage and loss, cities are also likely to find that their resilience to climate impacts is an increasingly important factor in attracting business and financing, as adaptive capacity is more frequently integrated into credit ratings and screening processes. It is valuable for both cities to understand how investors are interpreting adaptive capacity and for investors to understand which factors of local adaptive capacity translate into increased resilience and reduced financial loss for their assets.
Corporate and real asset investments can be financially impacted by climate-driven weather events and chronic stresses, even with strong internal risk management systems in place, as climate events can affect the broader community and disrupt local infrastructure.
Adaptive capacity, the ability to adjust to potential damage and leverage opportunities, will influence how local jurisdictions and infrastructure are affected by climate-driven weather events.
Four Twenty Seven has developed a framework to assess the adaptive capacity of local jurisdictions to inform the private sector, examining a city’s awareness of climate impacts, economic characteristics, and adaptation planning efforts.
Understanding a local jurisdiction’s adaptive capacity provides opportunities to engage with decision-makers and relevant institutions to support local efforts to build resilience.
Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, we focus on recent scientific evidence of growing climate impacts, and highlight new resources to help the financial sector take action and manage exposure to climate change.
In Focus: Science Calls for Urgent Action
Recent Scientific Reports Send Dire Warning on Rapid Climate Change
At least 15 extreme weather events during 2017 were made more likely due to climate change according to the seventh "Explaining Extreme Events" report released last week. The research by the American Meteorological Society examined 16 extreme weather events for climate fingerprints, finding that climate change influenced events ranging from droughts in the U.S. and East Africa to floods in South America, China and Bangladesh, and heat waves in the Mediterranean and China.
Also released last week, NOAA's 2018 Arctic Report Card finds that Arctic air temperatures are still warming twice as fast as elsewhere and that sea ice was younger, thinner and less extensive than other years in 2018.
About one-third of the Arctic's infrastructure is on permafrost that has a high chance of thawing by mid-century, based on warming that is already locked in, according to a new report published in Nature (read the summary on Earther).
The award from Risk Magazine is a clear signal that financial markets are starting to take climate risk seriously. Investors who wish to develop a fully-informed view of their portfolios need forward-looking data on the impacts of climate change on corporations and public issuers and they're increasingly eager for this data. A judge noted that Four Twenty Seven's “Deep datasets and sophisticated analytics, [are] setting a high bar in what will become of increasing concern to investors.”
Announcements at COP 24 echoed this theme, as 415 asset managers wrote a letter urging their governments to act on climate change, accompanied by a briefing paper for policy-makers emphasizing the economic risks posed by climate change and the importance of the Paris Agreement. Investor action is also growing in the U.S., where banks such as Bank of America and BNP Paribas joined the new U.S. Alliance for Sustainable Finance to help propel adaptation and clean energy investment in the U.S.
This guide to scenario analysis provides resources for institutional investors to leverage scenario analysis for both transition and physical risks. The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) highlights 10 key takeaways, surveying the current landscape of scenario analysis and emphasizing the importance of understanding the process and intentionally weighing the trade-offs between comprehensive and simple approaches. IIGCC also includes examples from asset managers already working on this and features a list of curated data providers, including Four Twenty Seven.
Getting started on Physical Climate Risk analysis in finance -
Available approaches and the way forward
The Institute for Climate Economics surveys the landscape of financial climate data providers, in this report for investors. The report provides a detailed comparison of relevant data offerings that currently enable investors to assess and address climate risk in their portfolios, including numerous references to Four Twenty Seven's data products for equities, munis, sovereigns and real assets. The analysis compares providers based on their time horizon, intended audience, hazards, granularity and use cases.
Experts on Climate Change
This DWS report integrates several perspectives on the implications of climate change for institutional investors, starting with a scientific call to action from Dr. Emily Shuckburgh at the British Antarctic Survey. The report is a compilation of essays covering the fiduciary duty of trustees to understand the materiality of climate risks, actuarial responsibility to consider climate change, the current landscape of regulation around climate risks and pension funds' view of climate change, and an approach to integrating climate risk into an ESG engine.
The Private Sector's Climate Change Risk and Adaptation Blind Spots
Join the Four Twenty Seven team at these upcoming events:
January 6-10 – 99th AMS Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ: Senior Data Analyst, Josh Turner, will present a poster on the California Heat Assessment Tool and Senior Data Analyst, Colin Gannon, will also join this convening of meteorologists and climate scientists.
January 7-10 – NCSE 2019 Annual Conference, Washington, DC: Director of Advisory Services, Yoon Kim, and Strategic Advisor, Josh Sawislak, will facilitate sessions on private sector roles in building community resilience and on climate-ready infrastructure, respectively.
February 12 – Investing for Impact, New York, NY: Hear Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, present on adaptation as an impact investment opportunity at this annual convening hosted by The Economist.
March 20-22 – Climate Leadership Conference, Baltimore, MD: Emilie Mazzacurati will speak about the evolving landscape of climate risk disclosure.
April 13-16 – APA National Planning Conference, San Francisco, CA: Yoon Kim and Director of Analytics, Nik Steinberg, will speak on a panel called, "Beyond Vulnerability: Innovative Adaptation Planning."
Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, don't miss highlights from this year's risk reporting cycle, new resources for implementing the TCFD recommendations and opportunities to get involved in developing best-practices for climate risk disclosure!
In Focus: TCFD Reporting on the Rise
Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures Status Report
The first Status Report from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), released earlier this fall, summarizes the ways in which financial reports incorporate the TCFD recommendations. It includes a review of over 1,700 companies including banks, insurance, asset managers and asset owners representing the financial sector and energy, transportation, materials and agriculture in non-financial sectors.
While most of these companies made disclosures that aligned with at least one TCFD recommendation, companies rarely disclosed the financial impact of climate change and integrating scenario analysis remains a challenge. The report emphasizes the need for more "decision-useful" information and notes that TCFD integration will require continued industry-specific thought-leadership and knowledge exchange.
France Leads the Way with Article 173 Reports
The TCFD status report found that Europe had the highest percentage of companies integrating TCFD guidance into their disclosures, perhaps influenced by legislation such asFrance's Law on Energy Transition and Green Growth, with its Article 173 which mandates the disclosure of both physical and transition risks. Several French investors incorporate TCFD recommendations into their Article 173 reports, for example:
French sovereign wealth fund Fonds de Réserve pour les Retraites (FRR), insurance companies Allianz France and Aviva France incorporated Four Twenty Seven's physical risk analysis into their reports on climate risk (see Aviva 2018 report here)
Interactive Online Tool with Sector-specific Guidance from EBRD
What should disclosures look like, in practice? The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) launched a Knowledge Hub with case studies and emerging best practices around physical climate risk and opportunity disclosures.
This interactive platform allows users to easily navigate to Manufacturing, Agribusiness, Power & Energy, Mining or Commercial Property sectors to access case studies with examples of approaching risks, opportunities and scenario analysis in physical risk disclosure.
IGCC Report Outlines Resources for Australian Asset Managers
Opportunity for Investors to Contribute to Research on ESG Integration
Responsible Investor (RI) is investigating how ESG is integrated into investment decisions and is asking investors to fill out this five minute survey to share their approach to ESG. RI is seeking input from all perspectives, including investors who are active in the ESG space and those who are skeptical of these approaches. Respondents will remain anonymous and answers will not be attributable.
Assessing Risk to Build Resilience
Four Twenty Seven Appointed to Develop Resilience Primer for Shipping
Four Twenty Seven will develop a primer on best-practices and opportunities for building climate resilience in the shipping sector as part of the Resilience Shift initiative from Lloyds' Register. The initiative fosters global infrastructure resilience through projects, investments and events and Four Twenty Seven will support this effort by engaging with key stakeholders in the shipping sector to create industry-specific guidance on resilience strategies.
Webinar Recording: Climate Risk in Real Estate
Watch this webinar recording to learn about Four Twenty Seven and GeoPhy’s analysis of exposure to physical climate hazards in global real estate investment trusts (REITs). The presentations includes key findings from the white paper, Climate Risk, Real Estate, and the Bottom Line and a discussion of how physical climate data is leveraged in financial risk reporting for the real estate sector.
Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven
Meet Vice President of Engineering, Klaus Fabian
Our VP of Engineering, Klaus Fabian, is automating our data analytics platform, building the user-interface that our clients are looking forward to. Klaus draws on more than 25 years of experience in new product development.
Klaus co-founded and served as CTO of Incorta, a business intelligence and analytics software provider funded by Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins.
Previously he managed business intelligence and reporting software at Oracle, including BI Publisher and served as product manager for the Aegis Equity Portfolio Risk Analysis suite at MSCI (then Barra).
Join the Four Twenty Seven team in the field at these upcoming events:
November 27 - Risk Awards Gala, London, UK. Emilie Mazzacurati and Frank Freitas will join for the longest-running and most prestigious awards for firms and individuals involved in the global derivatives markets and in risk management.
November 26-28 – UNEP FI Global Roundtable & Climate Finance Day, Paris, France: Emilie Mazzacurati, Frank Freitas and Nathalie Borgeaud will participate in these events dedicated to mobilizing the financial sector to create a sustainable financial system.
December 5-6 – RI Americas, New York, NY: Hear Frank Freitas speak on a panel about climate risk in real estate markets and visit the Four Twenty Seven booth.
December 10-14 – AGU Fall Meeting, Washington, DC: Director of Analytics, Nik Steinberg, will present on the California Heat Assessment Tool at this annual meeting of climate scientists.
January 6-10 – 99th AMS Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ: Senior Data Analyst, Josh Turner, will present a poster on the California Heat Assessment tool during this convening of meteorologists and climate scientists.
January 7-10 – NCSE 2019 Annual Conference, Washington, DC: Director of Advisory Services, Yoon Kim, and Strategic Advisor, Josh Sawislak, will facilitate sessions on private sector roles in building community resilience and on climate-ready infrastructure, respectively.
February 12 – Investing for Impact, New York, NY: Hear Emilie Mazzacurati present on physical climate risks and opportunities at this annual convening hosted by The Economist.
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