Measuring TCFD Disclosures

September 24, 2020 – Vigeo Eiris and Four Twenty Seven Report. The TCFD recommendations helped to catalyze a global conversation on the need for increased climate risk assessment and disclosure. While there is much progress still to be made, there has recently been significant developments in the uptake and quality of TCFD-aligned climate risk disclosures. This report explains Vigeo Eiris’ new TCFD Climate Strategy Assessment dataset, sharing key findings of how firms’ disclosure align with each element of the TCFD framework and includes a case study on how companies’ risk reporting compare to their physical risk exposure.

Download the report.

Consistent climate risk disclosure is essential to improving market transparency and building a more resilient financial system. As devastating extreme events, regulatory developments and investor pressure have led to an increase in climate risk disclosure, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures’ (TCFD) recommendations have become a global reference. Moody’s affiliate Vigeo Eiris’ new TCFD Climate Strategy Assessment dataset provides a granular view of how 2,855 companies report in line with TCFD recommendations.

This new Vigeo Eiris and Four Twenty Seven report, Measuring TCFD Disclosures, explores the key findings from this assessment, highlighting companies’ disclosures in governance, strategy and risk management.  We find that while 30% of companies have identified at least one climate-related risk that may affect their business, only 3% have disclosed enhanced due diligence for projects and transactions. The report highlights examples from the three sectors of energy, electric & gas utilities and diversified banks to compare reporting for several indicators within each TCFD category. It  includes a case study on the energy sector to review how companies’ physical risk exposure compares to their risk disclosure. Based on Four Twenty Seven’s data on physical climate risk, we find that there is still significant discrepancy between how companies are exposed to climate risk and what they disclose. This is essential for investors to understand when leveraging disclosures to assess their own risk exposure and when engaging with companies around improving climate risk assessment and disclosure.

Key Findings:

  • Overall:
    • 30% of the companies have identified at least one climate-related risk that may affect their business and strategy over the short, medium and long term.
    • Physical risks are most frequently reported, followed by policy and legal risks.
  • Governance:
    • 15% of the companies report on having assigned climate-related responsibilities to management.
    • 16% have established processes to inform board members about climate change issues.
  • Strategy
    • 12% of all assessed companies report the development of products or services that contribute to the low-carbon economy, making it the most common Strategy disclosure.
    •  Only 8% of the European and 7% of the North American companies in the panel disclosed climate change as a material factor in their financial planning.
  •  Risk Management:
    •  30% of the assessed energy companies report using an internal carbon price.
    •  Enhanced due diligence for projects and transactions remains a minority practice, with only 3% of companies disclosing information on this specific recommendation.

Download the report.

————————————–

For more information on climate risk exposure and disclosure explore Vigeo Eiris’ transition risk data and Four Twenty Seven’s solutions for assessing physical risk exposure across asset classes.

Newsletter: Wildfires, Storms and Their Impacts on Credit Risk

Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate risk and resilience. This month we discuss the costs of climate hazards, share updates on Moody's ESG and highlight recent developments in climate risk regulation.

In Focus: The Current Reality of the
Climate Crisis

Devastating Human & Economic Costs of Wildfires

As cities on the West Coast take turns with the worst air quality in the world, and cope with evacuations and loss of life and property from record-breaking wildfires, there is increasing evidence about the longer-term implications of these devastating events. After several years of catastrophic fires in California, exacerbated by hot and dry conditions driven by climate change, homes in exposed areas are likely to decline in value, which in turn can increase mortgage default rate, with severe market implications.

Likewise, as the COVID-19 pandemic limits firefighting resources and makes evacuations particularly challenging, new research continues to emerge about the devastating health impacts of wildfire smoke. For example, "Researchers from the University of Tasmania identified 417 extra deaths that occurred during 19 weeks of smoky air, and reported 3,100 more hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiac ailments and 1,300 extra emergency room visits for asthma" during Australia's bushfires last year.

This is not just a current concern in the U.S., but rather wildfire potential is increasing  globally, and regions such as Brazil and Portugal are also enduring fires. Four Twenty Seven's recent analysis on global wildfire potential assesses how conditions will become more conducive to wildfires in regions around the world.
Read Wildfire Analysis

Dire Records Foreshadow Worsening Extremes

As wildfires ravage the west, Hurricane Sally began to hit southeastern Mississippi and the western Florida Panhandle on Tuesday. The slow-moving storm is expected to continue to drop rain and lead to heavy wind as it moves to shore on Wednesday. This is the 18th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season and the earliest S-named storm on record. Several more hurricanes have already formed in the Atlantic and these back-to-back storms present significant challenges; diminishing the window for search and rescue, increasing the duration of flooding and power outages and exacerbating COVID-19 challenges. Sea level rise driven by climate change worsens storm surge risk during hurricanes and warmer oceans can fuel stronger storms.

This comes as this year's first seven months were the second hottest on record and in the Northern Hemisphere July was the hottest on record, beating the previous record set just last year. This is increasingly evident in the Arctic, where satellite imagery shows that the region's largest remaining ice shelf lost a 110 square km portion and where Bering Sea ice was at a record low during 2018 and 2019. This affects ecosystems and Indigenous communities and contributes to feedback loops of warming in the region when reflective ice is replaced by dark water. Meanwhile, in Antarctica two glaciers that are already contributing to around 5% of global sea level rise were recently found to be less stable than previously understood.

Global Ports Exposed to Floods, Sea Level Rise

Sea ports handle 80% of global goods, so disruptions have significant wide-reaching consequences. This recent Economist article leverages Four Twenty Seven's data to explore risk exposure of about 340 of the world's largest ports. The analysis found that 55% of global trade goes through ports that are highly exposed to at least one hazard, such as floods, sea level rise, storms and wildfires and that 8% of trade passes through ports highly exposed to at least three hazards. This points to a need for risk assessment and resilience investment at ports, which requires capacity-building for port managers and an increase in adaptation finance.
Four Twenty Seven at Moody's:
Integration in Research and Ratings

Moody's Launches Comprehensive ESG Solutions Group

This week Moody’s Corporation announced the formation of an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Solutions Group to serve the growing global demand for ESG insights. The group leverages Moody’s data and expertise across ESG, climate risk, and sustainable finance, and aligns with Moody's Investors Service and Moody's Analytics to deliver a comprehensive, integrated suite of ESG customer solutions.

The ESG Solutions Group includes Four Twenty Seven and Vigeo Eiris, a global pioneer in ESG assessments, data and tools, and sustainable finance. Together, Moody's and its affiliates develop tools and analytics that identify, quantify and report on the impact of ESG and climate-related risks and opportunities. ESG and climate risk considerations are already integrated into credit ratings and research offered by Moody’s Investors Service (see below), and will be integrated into a range of Moody’s Analytics risk management solutions, research, data and analytics platforms, including stress testing solutions and climate-adjusted credit risk analytics for corporates, sovereigns and real estate.

Moody's Investors Service Announces Inclusion of Four Twenty Seven's Climate Risk Data in US CMBS and CRE CLOs

Reflecting the growing materiality of climate events for real estate, Moody's Investors Service now considers climate risk data and analytics from Four Twenty Seven in its research and ratings process for US commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and commercial real estate collateralized loan obligations (CRE CLOs). Presale reports include physical climate risk tables for the properties backing the loans in CMBS and CRE CLO transactions, including their forward-looking risk to floods, heat stress, hurricanes & typhoons, sea level rise, water stress and wildfires. 

Moody’s: U.S. Nuclear Operators Exposed to Physical Climate Risks

Physical climate hazards affect the operations and costs of nuclear plants due to their water needs and reliance on critical equipment. In its report, Nuclear Operators Face Growing Climate Risk but Resiliency Investments Mitigate Impact, Moody’s Investors Service leverages Four Twenty Seven’s physical climate risk data to explore the exposure of nuclear power plants to climate hazards, including heat stress, water stress, flooding and hurricanes. The analysis found that nuclear plant operators face physical and economic risks due to extreme events driven by climate change, and operators and owners will have to consider these risks and explore increased resilience options, as they approach license expiration and renewal processes between 2030 and 2050.
Developments in Climate Risk
Regulation & Assessment

U.S. CFTC Releases Report on Climate Risk

Last week the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission released a report highlighting the economic risks of climate change and emphasizing the need for the financial system to address these risks. The first such report to be issued by a U.S. government entity, it covers both physical and transition climate risks and calls for a nationwide price on carbon. However, this comes two weeks after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission released updated disclosure requirements that don't include climate change.

UK Releases Consultation on Mandating TCFD Disclosure

The UK's Department for Work and Pensions released a public consultation on a proposal to mandate climate risk disclosure. The policy would require pension funds of at least £5 billion to assess and disclosure their climate risks and opportunities under several scenarios by October 2021 and would also apply to funds of at least £1 billion in 2022. Respond by October 7th.
Meanwhile, yesterday, New Zealand announced that it would mandate TCFD disclosure on a comply or explain basis by 2023.

Charting a New Climate: UNEP FI TCFD Banking Pilot Phase II Report

Last week the UNEP Finance Initiative released a report outlining phase II of its pilot project working with global banks to understand their approaches to assessing physical climate risks and opportunities and the tools and data that could best support these processes. It discusses climate risk vulnerability by sector, includes an exploration between the connection between loan performance and climate risk exposure and reviews several data providers, including Four Twenty Seven and our ongoing collaborations with Moody's Analytics.
Moody's ESG Summit: Climate Scenarios

Join Us During Climate Week NYC for a Half Day on Climate Risk

Hear from industry leaders on the latest market developments in climate change and discover new approaches to leveraging climate data and financial indicators to understand how physical and transition risks translate into credit risks. The session will include keynote presentations by Nick Anderson of IASM, Jane Ambachtsheer of BNP Paribas Asset Management and Sean Kidney of the Climate Bonds Initiative. The latter session will feature experts from Moody's, Four Twenty Seven and Vigeo Eiris, discussing new approaches to modeling climate risk and its financial impacts.

This event is hosted by Moody's in partnership with the Climate Bonds Initiative during Climate Week New York City. The session is on September 24th beginning at 9:15am EST.
Register for Free

Moody's Analytics' Launches ESG Risk Assessment Courses

Moody's Analytics' upcoming courses on ESG risk assessment include introductions to climate, environmental and social risks and their connection to credit analysis and portfolio management. These virtual, instructor-led courses will include case studies and discussions on how to assess and manage ESG risks. Topics include ESG KPIs, the Sustainable Development Goals, CO2 scope, climate risk analysis, proxy voting, climate risk disclosure and upcoming regulation.

Choose from three upcoming sessions, with options for time zones in the U.S., Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions and review the full course outline.
Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven

Director, Sales - Jackie Willis

Four Twenty Seven welcomes Jackie Willis as Director, Sales in New York. Jackie leads Four Twenty Seven’s business development and growth strategy in the eastern United States. Jackie has spent the majority of her career in analytical and portfolio management roles in corporate and municipal finance, in the securities and banking industries at institutions such as Prudential Capital Management, TIAA-CREF, TD and Wachovia (now Wells Fargo). Most recently, she served as a Solution Specialist covering the commercial and industrial (C&I) and commercial real estate (CRE) credit risk models for Moody’s Analytics.

Join the team! 

Find open positions on our Careers page and visit Vigeo Eiris' and Moody's Careers pages for more opportunities in climate change and ESG.
Upcoming Events

Join the team online at these upcoming events and check our Events page for updates, including links to events not yet available:

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Copyright © 2020 Four Twenty Seven, All rights reserved.
Four Twenty Seven sends a newsletter focused on bringing climate intelligence into economic and financial decision-making for investors, corporations and governments. Fill in the form below to join our mailing list. As data controller, we collect your email address with your consent in order to send you our newsletter. Four Twenty Seven will never share your mailing information with anyone and you may unsubscribe at any moment. Please read our Terms and Conditions.
 

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Panel Recording: Preparing for the Future of ESG

This panel on Preparing for the Future of ESG  features a discussion on interactions between ESG, the global pandemic and corporate strategy and is part of the Vinson & Elkins (V&E) ESG Symposium: Capital, Climate and Culture in the New World.

Speakers

  • Beth Lowery, Managing Director of TPG discusses ESG governance in the corporate sector.
  • Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder and CEO of Four Twenty Seven, offers insight into the increasing understanding of ESG and climate risks as materially relevant, underscored by regulatory developments, objective data and investor pressure.
  • Sarah Fortt, Counsel – Mergers & Acquisitions and Capital markets of V&E, speaks on metrics for measuring ESG through company behavior and disclosure.
  • Skye d’Almeida, Senior Vice President, Investor Coverage of Green Investment Group at Macquarie, discusses the financial success of ESG products due to long-term predictable revenue.
  • Susan Gray, Global Head of Sustainable Finance Business and Innovation of S&P Global Ratings, discusses company engagement with stakeholders and the increased granularity of investor focuses.
  • Moderator: Maggie Peloso, Partner –  Environmental & Natural Resources of V&E.

 

Moody’s Launches Comprehensive ESG Solutions Group; Appoints Global Head

Moody’s launches an ESG Solutions Group, offering data and analytics across ESG, climate risk and sustainable finance. Read the press release from Moody’s:

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) announced today the formation of an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Solutions Group to serve the growing global demand for ESG insights. The group leverages Moody’s data and expertise across ESG, climate risk, and sustainable finance, and aligns with Moody’s Investors Service (MIS) and Moody’s Analytics (MA) to deliver a comprehensive, integrated suite of ESG customer solutions.

The ESG Solutions Group develops tools and analytics that identify, quantify, and report on the impact of ESG-related risks and opportunities. Moody’s ESG capabilities expanded following its investments in Vigeo Eiris (VE), a global pioneer in ESG assessments, data and tools, and sustainable finance, and Four Twenty Seven, a leader in climate risk analysis, in 2019. ESG and climate risk considerations are already integrated into credit ratings and research offered by Moody’s Investors Service, and will be integrated into a range of Moody’s Analytics risk management solutions, research, data and analytics platforms.

“Moody’s ESG Solutions Group brings together capabilities from across the company to help market participants advance strategic resilience, responsible capitalism, and the greening of the economy by identifying risks and opportunities and providing meaningful performance measurements and insights,” said Rob Fauber, Moody’s Chief Operating Officer.

The ESG Solutions Group is led by Andrea Blackman, who has over 30 years of experience in harnessing financial and technology innovation in leadership roles with banks, asset managers, and financial technology vendors. She previously managed Moody’s CreditView, growing it into the leading global research, data, and analytics platform for credit market professionals.

Including its affiliates, Moody’s ESG-related offerings now include:

  • 5,000+ company ESG assessments
  • Controversy screening for 7,900 companies
  • 1 million climate risk scores
  • 250+ sustainable bond and loan reviews
  • 70+ ESG specialty indices
  • Credit ratings that integrate ESG risk considerations
  • Risk management solutions integrating ESG and climate risk factors

VE and Four Twenty Seven will continue to offer market-leading stand-alone ESG and climate risk solutions given strong demand for their innovative products. VE recently launched enhanced Second Party Opinions for sustainability bonds that integrate aspects of the EU Taxonomy and Green Bond standard. Four Twenty Seven recently announced the addition of wildfire risk to their on-demand Real Asset Scoring Application for a property or facility’s projected exposure to climate change effects.

For more information visit Moody’s ESG & Climate Risk hub at www.moodys.com/esg

Webinar: Climate Change and Wildfires

How will climate change increase wildfire potential? This Four Twenty Seven webinar shares our methodology for assessing global wildfire potential and highlights key findings from our analysis.

Speakers

  • Natalie Ambrosio Preudhomme, Director, Communications, provides an introduction to the implications of wildfires for finance, business and government stakeholders.
  • Colin Gannon, Director, Research, explains Four Twenty Seven’s methodology for assessing wildfire potential.
  • Lindsay Ross, Director, Global Client Services, shares key findings from the analysis, highlighting regional hotspots and discussing actionable ways to leverage this data to inform investment in resilience.

For more information on Four Twenty Seven’s wildfire dataset read our report, Climate Change and Wildfires: Projecting Future Wildfire Potential.

Newsletter: How will climate change worsen wildfire exposure?

Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate risk and resilience. This month we share new data on wildfire potential, highlight the connection between racial justice and climate change and feature new reports on climate risk.

In Focus: Projecting Future Wildfire Potential

Four Twenty Seven Analysis - Days of High Wildfire Potential will Increase by Up to Three Months in Most Exposed Regions
 

Areas ranging from California and Australia to the Amazon, Spain and the Arctic have experienced unprecedented loss of life and damage from wildfires in the past several years. Climate change is already making wildfires more severe and Four Twenty Seven's latest analysis finds that it will lead to more days with high wildfire potential in areas already prone to wildfires, and create hotter and drier conditions that will expose entirely new areas. 

This analysis leverages Four Twenty Seven's new dataset, which provides the only known globally comparable assessment of future wildfire potential in a changing climate at a scale of approximately 25 kilometers by 25 kilometers. The data is built upon the two key factors of soil moisture deficit and wildfire fuel type and incorporates data from global climate models to provide a view of changing conditions by 2030-2040, capturing both absolute and relative change in frequency and severity. This new data is now available on-demand for our clients via Four Twenty Seven’s Physical Climate Risk Application for real assets.

Register for our webinar on August 20th at 8am PST / 11am ET / 16:00 BST to learn more about the methodology and findings.
Read the Report
Climate Change and Racial Justice

Exploring Environmental Justice and the Need for Equitable Adaptation

The relationship between race and climate change is too often ignored. The recent protests for racial justice and police reform call attention to the fact that racism is still deeply embedded in our institutions and public policies. In the United States, people of color are disproportionately affected by polluting industries and climate change, while at the same time often lacking the resources to prepare and being excluded from decision-making on adaptation investment.

As part of our commitment to help raise awareness of the nexus between racial justice and climate change, Four Twenty Seven published a two-part blog series on the nexus of racial justice and climate change. The first blog focuses on exposure, providing a brief overview of environmental injustice issues in the U.S., and shedding light on the disproportionate impacts of climate change on Black communities and people of color. One solution is to ensure that climate adaptation intentionally considers this disproportionate exposure, factoring racial equity into decision-making. The second blog on adaptation outlines the need to integrate equity into adaptation and highlights emerging best practices.

Read our analyses:

Webinar Recording

Last week Four Twenty Seven and Moody's hosted a webinar exploring these topics. Four Twenty Seven's Yoon Kim discussed disproportionate exposure of people of color to climate hazards, Moody's Investors Services' Ram Sri-Saravanapavaan presented on the implications of inequality on sovereign credit, Tulane's Jesse Keenan discussed climate justice in urban development and UC Irvine's Michael Méndez presented on racial equity in climate policy. Register here to watch the recording

Central Banks on Climate Risk

The Bank of England's Climate Risk Disclosure

Last month the Bank of England published its first TCFD-aligned climate risk disclosure, assessing the exposure of its own portfolios to physical and transition risks. The Bank underscores the importance of addressing climate change as a financial risk and states the importance of assessing and disclosing risks even as the best available resources continue to evolve. The risk assessment leverages Four Twenty Seven and Moody's Analytics analysis on physical risk exposure. Meanwhile, the Bank of England's Climate Financial Risk Forum published a guide for financial stakeholders to assess, manage and disclose climate risk.

Guide to Climate Scenario Analysis for Central Banks and Supervisors

The Network for Greening the Financial System released a four step approach for central banks and supervisors to implement scenario analysis for climate risk, accompanied by a detailed set of climate scenarios. The steps include identifying the scope of the assessment; identifying scenarios; assessing the best way to connect climate risk exposure to economic and financial impacts; and explaining the results and methodology.

Indebted to Nature - Exploring Biodiversity Risks for the Dutch Financial Sector

Last month the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency released this report outlining the ways in which biodiversity loss poses economic and financial risk and the role the financial sector plays in biodiversity loss. The report also assesses the Dutch financial sector's exposure to biodiversity risk leveraging Four Twenty Seven's database. The separate report, Methods for analyses in Indebted to nature, explains the full approach. 
Public Consultations on Climate Risk

EIOPA Discussion Paper on Methodological Principles of Insurance Stress Testing

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority's (EIOPA) recent discussion paper outlines an approach to climate risk stress testing for transition and physical risks, citing Four Twenty Seven's methodology. EIOPA has asked for feedback by October 2.

European Central Bank Consultation on Climate Risk Disclosure Guidance

The European Central Bank (ECB) published guidance asking banks to disclose their climate-related risks and integrate these risks into their risk management processes. Compliance will be expected when the guidelines are finalized at the end of the year. The ECB has solicited feedback through a public consultation open until September 25.
Four Twenty Seven Wins
WatersTechnology Asia Award

Four Twenty Seven Recognized as Best Alternative Data Provider

The WatersTechnology Asia Award 2020 for Best Alternative Data Provider recognizes Four Twenty Seven’s innovation, accuracy and high standard in curating and deploying data for financial stakeholders.
This regional award showcases vendors and end users with high quality solutions with global relevance that are also especially pertinent to Asia markets.This came as financial regulators across the Asia-Pacific region have increasingly contributed to the global call for increased measurement and disclosure of climate risks in investment portfolios, encouraging financial actors to step up. With an office in Tokyo and a partnership with Sydney based DB Funds Advisory, Four Twenty Seven is excited to bring our award-winning climate risk data to more financial stakeholders in these markets. 

Four Twenty Seven Recognized in Exeleon Magazine's Top Companies

Business and Tech Magazine Exeleon, includes Four Twenty Seven in its listing of the top 100 companies to watch in 2020. "While the past several years have seen an increase in awareness of the material risks of climate change, Four Twenty Seven was on the leading edge of analyzing many complex scientific datasets and translating them for financial and business stakeholders." Exeleon writes. "Emilie and her team publish deeply data-driven and location-specific analysis, based on the best available climate data and the specific need of financial stakeholders."
Four Twenty Seven Partners with Nova Group

Nova's Climate Resilience Assessment Leverages Four Twenty Seven's Physical Risk Data

Four Twenty Seven is pleased to announce a partnership with Nova Group, GBC, a leading environmental and engineering due diligence advisory firm. Four Twenty Seven's asset-level physical climate
risk data now informs Nova’s new Climate Resilience Assessment, providing resilience recommendations based on the risks and characteristics of the specific asset of interest.
Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven

Associate Director, Research - Stephanie Auer

Four Twenty Seven welcomes Stephanie as Associate Director, Research. Stephanie develops and incorporates metrics of novel climate indices into Four Twenty Seven’s products and services. Stephanie’s background is in data science and conservation ecology. She has worked for NatureServe and the California Academy of Sciences in ecological forecasting, data visualization and mapping, with a focus on analysis and communication for climate change adaptation planning.

Join the team! Four Twenty Seven is Hiring

There are several opportunities to join Four Twenty Seven's dynamic team. See the open position below and visit our Careers page and Moody's Careers page for more information.
  • IAM Modeler with expertise in Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) and in translating IAM outputs for a wide range of stakeholders
Upcoming Events

Join the team online at these upcoming events and check our Events page for updates:

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Copyright © 2020 Four Twenty Seven, All rights reserved.
Four Twenty Seven sends a newsletter focused on bringing climate intelligence into economic and financial decision-making for investors, corporations and governments. Fill in the form below to join our mailing list. As data controller, we collect your email address with your consent in order to send you our newsletter. Four Twenty Seven will never share your mailing information with anyone and you may unsubscribe at any moment. Please read our Terms and Conditions.
 

Our mailing address is:
Four Twenty Seven
2000 Hearst Ave
Ste 304
Berkeley, CA 94709

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Climate Change and Wildfires: Projecting Future Wildfire Potential

August 6, 2020 – Four Twenty Seven Report. Wildfires are complex physical phenomena that come at extraordinary costs to human and natural systems. Climate change is already making wildfires more severe and this new research finds that it will lead to more days with high wildfire potential in areas already prone to wildfires, and create hotter and drier conditions that will expose entirely new areas. Understanding which areas are exposed to changing wildfire conditions will help leaders in government, finance and public health to mitigate catastrophic loss. This report explores Four Twenty Seven’s new methodology for assessing global wildfire potential, identifying regional trends and hot spots.

Download the report.

The 2019-2020 Australian bushfires raged for seven months, killed more than 30 people, hospitalized thousands more,[1] and burned more than 10 million hectares of land.[2] While the full financial and ecological impact is still unknown, costs from those fires are likely to exceed the $4.4 billion.[3] Meanwhile, ten of the largest wildfires in Arizona’s history occurred in the last eight years and nine of California’s largest wildfires occurred in just the last seven years.[4]

Beyond direct losses and disruption from damage to buildings and infrastructure, air pollution from wildfires has led to healthcare costs in excess of $100 billion in losses per year in the United States.[5] Leaders in government, finance, and public health need to understand how and where climate change will further heighten wildfire potential because of the serious threat wildfires pose to societies, economies, and natural systems.

This new report, Climate Change and Wildfires: Projecting Future Wildfire Potential, outlines Four Twenty Seven’s approach to quantifying global wildfire potential, capturing both absolute and relative changes in frequency and severity by 2030-2040.  Wildfire potential refers to meteorological conditions and vegetative fuel sources that are conducive to wildfires. Using a proprietary methodology submitted for peer review, our analytics link climate drivers such as changing temperature and precipitation patterns with the availability of vegetative fuels to assess wildfire potential in the future.

The analysis also explores key regions exposed to increasing wildfire potential and discusses the implications for financial stakeholders and communities. Our analytics affirm common understanding about locations exposed to wildfire, providing an indication of the increasing severity and frequency of wildfires in areas already prone to these events. The report also offers insight into areas that may have less obvious exposure, but are likely to have higher wildfire potential over time. Preparing for wildfires is a local, and often regional effort. The relatively high spatial granularity of our results (~25 kilometers) enables decision-makers to evaluate wildfire potential at a useful scale.

Key Findings:

  • Four Twenty Seven developed a first-of-its-kind global dataset projecting changes to wildfire potential under a changing climate, at a granularity of about 25 x 25 kilometers.
  • In areas already exposed to wildfires, by 2030-2040 climate change will prolong wildfire seasons, adding up to three months of days with high wildfire potential in Western Australia, over two months in regions of northern California and a month in European countries including Spain, Portugal and Greece.
  • New wildfire risks will emerge in historically wet and cool regions, such as Siberia, which is projected to have 20 more days of high wildfire potential in 2030-2040.
  • Globally, western portions of the Amazon and Southeast Asia will experience the largest relative increases in wildfire severity, further threatening crucial biodiversity hotspots and carbon sinks.
  • Confronting this new risk will take unprecedented resources and new approaches in regions not familiar with wildfires and worsening wildfire seasons will continue to threaten already limited resources in currently exposed areas.

Download the report.

Download the press release.

[1] Cohen, Li, “Australian bushfire smoke killed more people than the fires did, study says,” CBS News, March 20, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/australia-fires-bushfire-smoke-killed-more-people-than-the-fires-did-study-says/.

[2] Rodway, Nick, “‘We are a ghost town’: Counting the cost of Australia’s bushfires,” Aljazeera, January 27, 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/ghost-town-counting-cost-australias-bushfires-200127035021168.html.

[3] Ben Butler, “Economic Impact of Australia’s Bushfires Set to Exceed $4.4bn Cost of Black Saturday,” The Guardian, January 7, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/08/economic-impact-of-australias-bushfires-set-to-exceed-44bn-cost-of-black-saturday.

[4] Cappucci, Matthew and Freedman, Andrew, “Arizona wildfires grow as flames flicker throughout Desert Southwest and California,” The Washington Post, June 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/06/22/arizona-wildfires-grow-flames-flicker-throughout-desert-southwest-california/

[5] Fann N., Alman B., Broome R. A., Morgan G. G., Johnston F. H., Pouliot G., & Rappold A. G., “The health impacts and economic value of wildland fire episodes in the U.S.: 2008-2012,” The Science of the Total Environment, 2018.

How Can Asset Owners Manage Climate Risk?

Introduction: Why Climate Risk Matters for Asset Owners

In the world where quarterly corporate reporting makes it feel like financial markets are ruled by short-termism, asset owners stand out in contrast, managing their portfolios with horizons in the decades and even longer. With trillions in assets under management and the long-term well-being of their beneficiaries and other stakeholders as their goal, asset owners’ risk management practices must be robust.  This includes the consideration of factors beyond traditional financial metrics. While their long horizon allows asset owners to withstand short-term volatility, their portfolios may be exposed to higher levels of other risks, including those posed by a changing climate, which is not necessarily accounted for in asset prices.

Additionally, regulatory actions like the EU Action Plan on Sustainable Finance, growing global support of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and groups like the Network for Greening the Financial System, whose members include 42 central banks and supervisors, are pushing investors of all stripes to take physical climate risks into account, warning of dire systemic consequences if climate risks continue to go unpriced.

With climate risk moving from the fringes of finance to center stage, the challenge is to translate climate models and climate data into actionable intelligence for financial decision-making. Climate models are complex, incorporating information from many disciplines of earth science, and their outputs are unwieldy. However, when transformed into indicators at appropriate scales and timeframes, climate data provides essential forward-looking information for financial decision-makers.

Assessing Exposure to Inform Risk Management

Evaluating an asset’s exposure to physical climate hazards is challenging, yet also an essential first step in managing climate risks. Four Twenty Seven’s Physical Climate Risk Application (Application) allows investors to assess exposure to floods, sea level rise, hurricanes & typhoons, heat stress and water stress at the asset and portfolio levels. Asset owners leverage hazard exposure scores to identify regional and sectoral trends as well as specific hotspots. Flexible viewing options and digestible data provide insight for portfolio risk assessments and due diligence processes. Armed with climate risk data at decision-relevant scales, asset owners can begin to manage their risk.

Climate Data for Portfolio Management

Real estate, infrastructure, agriculture, timber and other real assets have long been an integral component of an asset owner’s portfolio due to their returns and the diversification they offer to the overall fund. However, many real assets are highly vulnerable to physical climate risks. These risks manifest in direct and indirect ways, including increased costs, reduced revenues, and decreased asset value.

Asset owners use Four Twenty Seven’s Application to evaluate forward-looking physical climate risk exposure. For example, the portfolio-specific summary table in Figure 1 provides a snapshot of exposure and serves as the starting point for the analysis of physical climate risks.  In this portfolio, hurricanes & typhoons, earthquakes, heat stress and water stress are the most prevalent hazards.

While asset owners frequently emphasize the hazards they view as most financially material—for instance floods, hurricanes, and sea level rise—heat stress and water stress can also have material financial impacts. For instance, a major heat wave across Europe in the summer of 2019 demonstrated how increasing temperatures can cause business disruptions and raise operating costs. Absent retrofits to address climate risks in European real estate, the total increase in energy bills for commercial buildings could potentially cost $300 billion (£457 billion) by 2050. Water stress, another potentially overlooked risk, can threaten the long-term operations of assets like thermal power plants that rely on large amounts of water for cooling. For example, Moody’s found that 11 major U.S. utilities representing over $31 billion in rate base have extreme risk to water stress, which has already caused some power utilities to retire capital-intensive generation facilities early.

In addition to providing an entry point for further analysis, metrics in the summary table are useful for risk reporting. As reporting requirements develop, outputs from the Physical Climate Risk Application will empower asset owners to effectively describe asset exposure, communicate how risks are being managed, and characterize their portfolios’ overall climate risk and resilience strategies.

Asset owners can also identify exposure hotspots, explore sectoral trends, and dive deeper into the exposure of individual assets. Figure 2 shows the same portfolio ranked by highest flood risk score. Floods can raise costs, cause business disruption, and decrease asset values.

Using the data in Figure 2, asset owners can consider shortening their holding periods for assets with the highest levels of exposure, ensure that they have appropriate insurance coverage, and evaluate if coverage or premium prices may rise in the future. As the climate changes, insurers’ risk tolerances may also reach their limits and they may seek to exit markets. It is thus essential for asset owners to monitor the evolving landscape. Beyond evaluating potential changes to insurance, asset owners can also use this data as an entry point for engagement with a building manager, to better understand the site’s flood history and investigate if the asset has flood defenses.

Institutional investors understand that, over the typical commercial real estate hold period of seven to ten years, the next buyer of their building is likely to be concerned by climate risk as well. The Application equips asset owners with the exposure data they need to make sure their portfolios are resilient to climate risks and continue to provide the returns they need and expect from the asset class.

Climate Data for Due Diligence

Beyond analyzing portfolios of existing holdings, the application’s real-time scoring allows asset owners to quickly incorporate physical climate analysis into their due diligence processes for new acquisitions. In addition to providing easily digestible, high-level screening results, granular climate data allows clients to continue to invest, for example, in valuable coastal markets with known exposure. Figure 3 shows exposure of nine facilities in Tokyo, where the combination of storm surge and sea level rise could cause $1 trillion (100 trillion yen) in damages in a 1-in-100 year storm. Because the sea level rise (and flood) data featured in the Application is at a scale of 90 x 90 meters, investors do not need to eliminate entire markets from their investment strategies. Rather than exiting a profitable market, asset owners can use the Four Twenty Seven Physical Climate Risk Application to selectively invest in assets with lower exposure.

Asset owners often use Four Twenty Seven data to set their own internal thresholds for further due diligence. Using the detailed site information, as shown in Figure 4, as well as the downloadable scorecard, analysts can quickly understand which hazards to investigate further.

Some investors require further due diligence for any assets that receive “High” or “Red Flag” scores. Deal teams may be tasked to investigate asset-specific features that would make it more resilient to specific climate hazards, such as freeboard above base flood elevation, onsite power generators, or water efficiency measures.

Conclusion

Real assets, whose time horizon of returns aligns well with the investment goals of asset owners, are exposed to physical hazards, which will continue to become more frequent and severe. Exploring asset-level climate hazard exposure is the first step to analyzing and ultimately managing physical climate risk. As regulation around climate risk rapidly evolves, mandates to monitor and report these risks will also expand. Equipped with a detailed understanding of their portfolio holdings’ exposure, asset owners are empowered to make better-informed investment and risk management decisions, ultimately enhancing the resilience of their portfolios to physical climate risk.

Download this case study.

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Four Twenty Seven offers on-demand physical climate risk scoring for real assets and other climate risk datasets for investors to assess their risk across asset classes. Learn more about Four Twenty Seven’s data or reach out to schedule a demo.

IIF Webinar: Quantifying the Impacts of Climate Change

This Institute of International Finance webinar (IIF) features a discussion on quantifying the impacts of climate change into balance sheets and cash flows and provides an overview of Moody’s growing climate risk offering. This webinar is part of the IIF ESG Webinar series.

Speakers

  • Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder & CEO of Four Twenty Seven, discusses Four Twenty Seven’s process for quantifying the exposure of economic and financial assets to physical climate hazards and highlights collaborations with Moody’s.
  • Jing Zhang, Managing Director, Global Head of Quantitative Research at Moody’s, presents on translating physical risk metrics into financial metrics.
  • Sonja Gibbs, Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance, Global Policy Initiatives at IIF moderates the conversation.

Newsletter: New On-Demand Climate Risk App

 

Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments on climate risk and resilience. This month we announce our new on-demand climate risk scoring application, discuss RCP 8.5 and highlight developments in climate risk disclosure.

In Focus: Four Twenty Seven Announces its On-demand Climate Risk Application

Score thousands of assets in minutes with Four Twenty Seven’s new on-demand physical climate risk application.

We're delighted to announce that our new on-demand climate risk scoring tool is now live! This application responds to the financial sector’s growing call for the integration of granular, forward-looking climate data into investment decisions and risk management practices. Users enter addresses and facility types to receive information on their assets’ exposure to floods, sea level rise, hurricanes & typhoons, heat stress and water stress to mid-century. Detailed facility scorecards include data on the underlying risk drivers for each hazard and users can toggle between maps and tables to identify regional trends and multi-hazard exposure. This tool informs due diligence, risk management, enhanced portfolio construction, resilience investment and pre-loan evaluations to support the integration of climate risk into financial decision-making across use cases. “We are excited to bring our on-demand physical climate risk application to the market. Our app provides access to sophisticated climate model outputs in easily understandable metrics with just a few clicks,” says Founder & CEO Emilie Mazzacurati. “Real-time access to forward-looking, location-specific data on climate risk enables investors, banks and corporations to manage their risk and invest in resilience.”
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Moody's ESG and Climate Risk Businesses

Moody's Announces Global Head of ESG and Climate Risk Businesses

Moody's Corporation announced yesterday that Andrea Blackman has been appointed Moody's Global Head of ESG and Climate Risk Businesses. Andrea comes from a leadership position in Moody's Analytics CreditView. In her new position Andrea will lead Moody's strategy and vision for long-term growth in line with market demands for ESG and climate risk services. Moody's ESG and climate risk affiliates, including Four Twenty Seven and Vigeo Eiris will be part of this new business unit. Learn more about Moody's broad ESG and Climate Risk offering here.
RCP 8.5 - Still a Valid Possibility

Extracting the Scientific Uncertainties from the Policy Uncertainties

An article published in Nature last month sparked confusion about the legitimacy of Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5, but there are compelling reasons RCP 8.5 remains an important part of scenario analysis. The study's authors explain that the initial design of RCP 8.5 was to capture growing rates of coal production in China. They assert that since the rate of coal production has actually slowed, it's not appropriate to continue using this scenario as the "business-usual" scenario and rather it should be considered a highly unlikely extreme scenario. However, the article focuses on the policy drivers, rather than the scientific drivers, of warming. The authors do not explore the physical phenomenon, such as sudden release of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) due to thawing of permafrost. This is one of several tipping points that could lead to RCP 8.5 outcomes by 2100, independent of how coal production evolves.

While the initial design of RCP 8.5 was intended to capture growing rates of coal production, it doesn’t mean the scenario can’t be a stand-in for other sources of emissions that could quickly accelerate due to tipping points. Bob Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University, has previously pointed out on Twitter that "from a climate science perspective, RCP 8.5 is very useful, since we would like to know how models simulate a 5C world.”

It's important to note that under any scenario, we are committed to a certain amount of physical climate impacts to mid-century, regardless of RCP scenario. Temperature outcomes don't differ significantly under different RCP scenarios until after mid-century. For longer-term projections it is valuable to model impacts under several scenarios, such as RCP 4.5, RCP 7 (forthcoming in the latest generation of climate models) and RCP 8.5.
New Survey on the Quality of Climate Risk Reporting

Climate Risk Disclosures Lack Transparency

Companies tend to disclose more details on their exposure to transition risk than physical risk and disclosures still lack transparency on which models and assumptions companies use to assess risk, according to the recent European Financial Reporting Advisory Group report on How to Improve Climate-related Reporting. The report highlights that when firms approach disclosures solely from a compliance perspective, they miss an opportunity to genuinely identify their risk and improve their resilience. It also identifies best practices and current maturity of disclosures in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the EU Non-financial Reporting Directive's non-binding guidelines on climate risk. The Climate Disclosure Standards Board also released an EU Environmental Reporting Handbook sharing examples of environmental and climate disclosures under the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive.
Regulatory Action & Oversight on Climate Risk Disclosure

Australia and UK Each Announce Plans for New Disclosure Regulation

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority joins regulators calling for climate stress tests, announcing that its banks will be required to conduct stress tests for climate risks under several scenarios. After a devastating bushfire season followed by damaging floods, regulators are increasing the urgency around implementing stress tests and plan to release more details within the next few weeks. Earlier this month the UK's Department for Work and Pensions announced its consideration of an amendment to the Pension Schemes Bill that would mandate that pensions disclose their approaches to climate change in line with the TCFD.

European Union Opens Public Consultation on Non-Financial Reporting Directive

Meanwhile the European Commission opened a public consultation on updates to its Non-Financial Reporting Directive. This is part of the EU's commitment to increasing sustainable investment in Europe under the European Green New Deal and the review will explore how adjusting disclosure guidelines can support these goals. Feedback is due by April 28.

UK's Financial Reporting Council to Review Climate Disclosures & Audits

Amid concerns that firms are not complying with increased regulations around climate risk disclosure, the UK's financial watch dog, the Financial Reporting Council, will review corporate disclosures and audits to ensure that they address reporting requirements. “Auditors have a responsibility to properly challenge management to assess and report the impact of climate change on their business,” FRC Chief Executive Jon Thompson said in a statement.
Financial Risks of Climate Change are Underpriced
Australia's bushfires are expected to reduce national GDP by 0.1-0.4 percentage points through this March. Meanwhile the UK confronts damaging floods, Europe had its warmest January on record and sea level rise threatens to inundate airports around the world. These are just a few of the many multifaceted impacts that climate change has on global economies. Recent commentaries published in Nature Energy discuss the global implications of climate change's potential impact on the energy sector, which drives much of the interconnected global economy. One commentary by UC Davis Professor Paul Griffin, highlights the particular exposure of this sector to physical climate risks, with fossil fuel infrastructure in the Gulf Coast and the exposure of California's utilities to wildfires, as noteworthy examples. Authors assert that if these risks continue to be underpriced, we risk a recession on par with the 2008 housing crisis.
Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven

Meet Director, Financial Data Systems - Oren Israeli

Four Twenty Seven welcomes Oren as Director, Financial Data Systems. Oren leverages his 20 years of experience in the fintech industry to guide Four Twenty Seven’s product development agenda for financial and business data.

Oren is a strategic data and content expert, adept at launching and overseeing products and solutions to serve the top investment firms globally.

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