Physical Climate Risk in Equity Portfolios – White Paper

At COP23 Four Twenty Seven and Deutsche Asset Management jointly released a white paper featuring a new approach to climate risk management in equity portfolios.  Measuring Physical Climate Risk in Equity Portfolios showcases Four Twenty Seven’s Equity Risk Scoring methodology, which identifies hotspots in investment portfolios by assessing the geographic exposure of publicly-traded companies to climate change. Our methodology tackles physical risk head on by identifying the locations of corporate production and retail sites around the world and their vulnerability to climate change hazards, such as sea level rise, droughts, floods and tropical storms, which pose an immediate threat to investment portfolios.

Deutsche Asset Management is leveraging Four Twenty Seven’s Equity Risk Scores to satisfy institutional investors’ growing desire for more climate resilient portfolios and design new investment strategies. “This report is a major step forward to addressing a serious and growing risk that investors face. To keep advancing our efforts, we believe the investment industry needs to champion the disclosure of once-in-a-lifetime climate risks by companies so we can assess these risks even more accurately going forward,” said Nicolas Moreau, Head of Deutsche Asset Management.

Methodology

Four Twenty Seven’s equity scoring methodology includes Operations Risk, Supply Chain Risk and Market Risk:

  • Operations Risk involves screening thousands of facilities for their exposure to climate risks.
  • Supply Chain Risk assesses both the climate risk in countries that produce a company’s materials and the sensitivity of a company’s industry to climate-related resources such as water and land.
  • Market Risk captures how a company’s consumers may change their behavior due to climate variability.

Since different industries will respond to climate hazards differently, the analysis includes both geographic location and business sensitivity. For Operations Risk, Four Twenty Seven screens each corporate site for its exposure and sensitivity to a set of climate hazards that include extreme precipitation, sea level rise, hurricanes, heat stress, water stress and wildfires. To calculate Supply Chain Risk and  Market Risk, Four Twenty Seven uses companies’ financial data, such as revenues and production. The image below shows an example of extreme precipitation risk for 68,000 corporate sites belonging to France’s benchmark index CAC40 (France’s 40 largest public companies).

Findings

This comprehensive, data-driven scoring effort culminates in a composite physical risk score that allows for comparison and benchmarking of equities and indices.  This integrated measure provides a point of entry to understand and address climate risk, engage with corporations and identify risk mitigation strategies.

The white paper includes a relative ranking of CAC40 companies, as shown below.

Climate Risk in Asia

Asia is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Five out of six people in Asia live in climate hotspots. The Asian Development Bank warned that, without mitigation action, Asia will experience temperature rise of six degrees centigrade by the end of the century. Of extreme concern is the region’s vulnerability to sea level rise. For example, China leads the world in terms of coastal risk, with 145 million people and economic assets located on land threatened by rising seas.

To better understand the implications of these projections for financial markets, Four Twenty Seven mapped the physical climate risks for 500 large and mid-cap constituents of an Asia ex-Japan listed equity index. We found that many companies are highly vulnerable to sea level rise in the region. China’s Pearl River Delta is already experiencing a higher than average rate of sea level rise and has many assets that would be exposed to flood risk in a two-meter flood scenario (see below). Many of these are energy assets which are long-lived and high value capital assets that cannot easily be relocated, requiring protection from rising seas if they are not decommissioned.

An explicit example of the economic impacts of extreme weather events and the resulting damage to assets can be seen in the Thailand floods of 2011. This event led to vast repercussions across industries, including car manufacturers, Thailand’s rice industry and even tourism. While these events were most damaging in Thailand, negative impacts were felt internationally. For example, the production of hard drive manufacturers like Toshiba and Western Digital was stalled due to the floods, which affected companies like Lenovo that depend on Asian manufacturing.

Accessing our Data

Four Twenty Seven’s ever-growing database now includes close to one million corporate sites and covers over 1800 publicly-traded companies. We offer subscription products and advisory services to access this unique dataset. Options include data feeds, an interactive analytics platform and company scorecards, as well as custom portfolio analysis and benchmarking.

Read the White Paper and contact us for more information about our products for financial institutions and corporations.