Newsletter: TCFD Reporting on the Rise

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 as France'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:
Awards and Best Practices for TCFD Reporting

The Leading Edge of Climate Risk Reporting

The Asset Owners Disclosure Project's (AODP) report Winning Climate Strategies: Practical solutions and building blocks for asset owners from beginner to best practice surveys the landscape of physical climate risk approaches to date, featuring investors such as Four Twenty Seven clients Aviva and First State Super for their innovative efforts to understand and address the portfolio risk posed by physical climate change.
AODP Global Climate Index 2018 for Pension Funds also gives a AAA rating, the highest score, to Four Twenty Seven client FRR, in recognition of its exhaustive effort to provide transparency on climate risk in its portfolios.

Four Twenty Seven Receives UNCTAD ISAR Honours for Climate Risk Scores

Four Twenty Seven was recognized by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) with ISAR Honours for our company climate risk scores that support emerging best practices in corporate reporting. The International Standards of Accounting and Reporting Honour (ISAR) fosters the dissemination of initiatives that improve global corporate reporting and integrate environmental, social and governance factors into reporting cycles.
Resources for Climate Risk Disclosure

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

The Investor Group on Climate Change's report Investing in Resilience: Tools and frameworks for managing physical climate risk is a concise resource guide for investors striving to incorporate physical climate risk into their decision-making. Specifically targeting Australian investors, the report includes a diverse set of risk assessment tools, ranging from Australian-specific geospatial tools to global datasets such as Four Twenty Seven's.
Opportunities to Get Involved

Sign on to Support the TCFD

Individuals, governments and private companies are all invited to join investors in officially supporting the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures. Four Twenty Seven is part of a group of over 500 organizations already acknowledging the TCFD as an important framework for promoting transparency during the urgent transition to a resilient economy.
 

Events Section on the TCFD Knowledge Hub

Sort by theme and location to find events on TCFD implementation that are applicable to your work and browse the new Case Studies section of the TCFD Knowledge Hub to learn from others with similar challenges. 
 

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).
Upcoming Events

Join the Four Twenty Seven team in the field at these upcoming events:

  • November 13-15 – International Summit at Greenbuild Conference and Expo, Chicago, IL: Emilie Mazzacurati will provide the luncheon plenary address, "Climate Intelligence: Decision-making in the Age of Climate Change," on Tues Nov. 13.
  • November 16 – Methodologies and Tools to Evaluate the Financial Impact of Climate-related Risks and Opportunities, Milan, Italy: Nathalie Borgeaud will present Four Twenty Seven's methodology to assess physical climate risk in financial portfolios during this workshop.
  • 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 4 – Investment Without Displacement: Solutions for Equitable, Healthy and Vibrant Communities, Los Angeles, CA: Manager Kendall Starkman will present data on climate risk in real estate during a panel on climate change's impact on housing markets. Invite-only.
  • 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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Four Twenty Seven Received ISAR Honours

OCTOBER 24, 2018 – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Four Twenty Seven received ISAR Honours for asset-level climate risk scores.

ISAR Honours recognized Four Twenty Seven’s contribution to developing best practices on corporate reporting. The Intergovernmental Working Group of Exports on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) supports progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by fostering corporate transparency, good governance and sustainability standards. Its awards aim to foster the dissemination of initiatives that improve global corporate reporting and integrate environmental, social and governance factors into reporting cycles. ISAR is convened through The United Nations Conference on Trade and Developments (UNCTAD).

“Four Twenty serves governments and cities, corporations and financial institutions,” Four Twenty Seven’s Director, Europe, Nathalie Borgeaud said during the awards ceremony. “We inform about the physical climate risks they incur. We inform about floods, cyclones and sea level rise and we inform about extreme heat and droughts, for each of their assets, with forward-looking, science-driven data. In order for all to develop  meaningful resilience strategies, we inform about the future that is knocking on our door. And we all know it is knocking hard.”

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Explore Four Twenty Seven’s award-winning equity risk scores and other climate data analytics that enable investors, corporations and governments to understand climate risk exposure and build resilience.

PRI Webinar: Measuring and Managing Physical Climate Risk

This PRI webinar, hosted in conjunction with DWS, discusses recent research in identifying physical climate risks and integrating this information into investment decisions. DWS shares its process for leveraging Four Twenty Seven’s equity risk scores to create a climate-optimized index.

Speakers

  • Murray Birt, ESG Thematic Research Strategist at DWS, breaks down physical climate risk and its financial impacts.
  • Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder & CEO of Four Twenty Seven, presents a methodology for assessing and visualizing climate risk in portfolios.
  • Edward Baker, Senior Policy Advisor at PRI, shares new investor data on climate risk reporting under the TCFD recommendations.
  • Gerold Koch, Director of Passive Product Development at DWS, discusses DWS’ strategy for creating a climate-optimized index.
  • Jessica Elengical, Head of ESG Strategy, Alternatives at DWS, speaks about the impacts of physical climate risks on real estate investments.

Time and Tides – Flooding in Japan

July 15, 2018 – 427 ANALYSIS: Record-setting rains in Japan led to floods and landslides that disrupted business operations of automobile manufacturers, electronic companies and others. Understanding the ownership and operations of facilities located in the damaged areas provides insight into what companies and industries may exhibit downturns in performance over the near term and be vulnerable to similar storms in the future.

Japan was the inundated by over 70 inches of rain in early July, an event that resulted in significant loss of life and business disruptions. The clouds have since receded, leaving economic damage with long-term implications yet to be understood. However, estimates expect industry losses to be in the billions USD. Destruction was centered in Okayama and Hiroshima, driven by flooding and landslides.

Typhoons Prapiroon and Maria contributed to this rainfall and climate scientists expect a warmer climate to increase the severity of these storms. Japan has fewer preparations in place for floods than it does for other extreme events, and understanding the various manifestations of risk caused by extreme rainfall is essential to mitigating damage in the future.

Much of Okayama sits immediately below mountains, which makes it particularly exposed to devastating landslides following significant rainfall events. Bursting pipes and power outages led over 250,000 homes in the Okayama and Hiroshima Prefectures to go without water for several days after the floods. Landslides destroyed homes and exacerbated infrastructure damage caused by flooding.

Many business operations were severely impacted by these events as well, and some facilities remain closed.  Companies such as Panasonic experienced physical damage due to flooded facilities, and others were impacted by damaged infrastructure and communities, impacting their supply chains and workforce.

Okayama and Hiroshima are centers of economic activity for a number of key sectors in Japan, hosting production facilities for auto manufacturing, consumer electronics, retail trade and others. The figure below highlights the concentration of facilities of companies in the auto manufacturing industry by the sector of their operations. Companies that rely heavily on manufacturing operations are particularly vulnerable to flooding due in part to their utilization of expensive equipment that can easily incur water damage.

The heavy rainfalls showed no favorites in their disruption of manufacturing facilities across industries. For example, Mitsubishi and Mazda halted operations at some factories during the storms, due in part to supply chain disruptions. Many companies were also forced to pause operations because employees couldn’t get to work. While Mazda’s headquarters in Hiroshima Prefecture and a production facility in Yamaguchi Prefecture weren’t damaged themselves, they remained closed after the storms until employees could return to work safely. Likewise IHI Corp. closed its No. 2 Kure factory in Hiroshima  because of water shortages and employees’ commute challenges.

The extent of   long-term economic impacts that these companies will bear in the aftermath of last week’s storms is not yet known, but merits ongoing examination as the region recovers. Understanding the location of a corporation’s facilities and their exposure to extreme weather events is a key starting point for gauging exposure, and therefore can be instrumental in understanding company’s future performance.

Four Twenty Seven’s extensive facility level database can help investors proactively identify their portfolio companies’ exposures both to chronic climate effects and to individual extreme weather events such as the extreme rainfall that beset Okayama and Hiroshima. This deeper understanding can drive better risk-return tradeoffs, and importantly, shareholder engagement strategies that foster investments in resilience.

Responding to Economic Climate Risk in Australia

June 25, 2018 – 427 REPORT. Regulatory pressure and financial damage are necessitating an increase in physical climate risk disclosure in Australia. In exercising their own due diligence and assessing the exposure to physical climate risks in their portfolios, investors arm themselves with valuable information on corporate risk exposure which they can leverage to engage with companies around resilience. This report explores the connection between climate hazards and financial risks and shares examples of corporate adaptation and investor engagement to build resilience.

The global tide of interest in the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has hit the shores of Australian financial markets, steered by regulators concerned about the systemic risk climate change poses to the economy. In 2017 Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s Geoff Summerhayes was the first Australian regulator to formally endorse the TCFD. “Some climate risks are distinctly ‘financial’ in nature. Many of these risks are foreseeable, material and actionable now,” he said. This sentiment was echoed by John Price of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in 2018 and reflects growing regulatory concern over climate risk disclosure internationally, as shown by Article 173 of France’s Law on Energy Transition and Green Growth and the 2018 European Commission Action Plan.

This Four Twenty Seven Report, Responding to Economic Climate Risk in Australia, explores the drivers of financial risk in Australia and discusses approaches to addressing this risk. The nation’s dominant industries are particularly threatened by the prevalent climate hazards. For investors, understanding a company’s risk to climate change is an essential first step to mitigating portfolio risk, but must be followed by corporate engagement to build resilience. Institutional investors are increasingly leveraging shareholder resolutions and direct engagement to prompt companies to disclose their climate risks and adapt.

Key Findings

  • Australia’s “Angry Summer” of extreme weather in 2013 cost the economy $8 billion and was followed by another summer of extremes in 2016-2017.
  • Construction, mining and manufacturing constitute almost 20 percent of Australia’s economy and are highly vulnerable to heat stress and water stress, which threaten large swaths of the nation.
  • Boral Limited and Rio Tinto are both Materials companies exposed to water and heat stress in their operations, but they have different risk scores stemming from differing vulnerabilities in their markets and supply chains.
  • Engagement on climate is relatively new for Australian shareholders, but is gaining momentum, with institutional asset managers voting on several climate risk disclosure resolutions in 2018.
  • Investors can address physical climate risk by reviewing their asset allocations, disclosing their own risks, investing in new opportunities and engaging with corporations.

Download the report.

Webinar: Emerging Metrics for Physical Climate Risks Disclosures

This Four Twenty Seven webinar on emerging metrics and best practices for physical climate risks and opportunities disclosures covers recent developments in TCFD and Article 173 reporting, challenges to assessing climate risk exposure, strategies for investors to incorporate this information into decision-making and approaches to build corporate resilience.

Speakers

  1. Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder and CEO, presents key findings from the EBRD-GCECA report: Advancing TCFD guidance on physical climate risks and opportunities and emerging best practices in physical risk reporting.
  2. Nik Steinberg, Director of Analytics, shares challenges and approaches for using climate data for business decisions.
  3. Frank Freitas, Chief Development Officer, discusses corporate engagement opportunities for investors and approaches to integrating climate change into investment strategies.
  4. Yoon Kim, Director of Advisory Services, shares examples of innovation in corporate resilience-building.

Newsletter: Fintech Meets Climate Data

 

 

Four Twenty Seven’s monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, don’t miss a discussion with our new Chief Development Officer, our report on using climate data and cool new innovations in climate science!

In Focus: Fintech Meets Climate Data

Meet Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas

We chatted with our new Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas, about his motivations to join Four Twenty Seven after almost 30 years in finance and fintech, and his vision for new products and markets in climate analytics. Having spent his career developing award-winning solutions for global institutional investors, Frank is a seasoned veteran of product management and strategic planning.

He founded and sold Pluribus Labs, a research and analytics firm focused on the translation of unstructured data into investable signals. Before that, he served as Chief Operating Officer and Head of Product Strategy at Instinet, a leading technology-levered agency broker. He started his career in Product Management, designing and leading the delivery of quantitative risk solutions at Barra (now MSCI). “The acceleration of climate’s influence on corporate performance is upon us, and investors are rapidly awakening to the risks that climate change brings to financial markets,” Frank says. “Four Twenty Seven’s sophisticated climate data analytics are at the forefront of identifying most exposed corporations and assets globally, and we will continue to build on our expertise to provide best-in-class analytics of climate risk for our clients globally.”

 

Inside Market Data covers Frank’s transition to Four Twenty Seven and highlights the company’s goals for this year, including a focus on incorporating new types of data to add nuance to our risk analyses.

Read the Interview

Using Climate Data for Investment Decisions

Using Climate Data: A Four Twenty Seven Report


In this new Four Twenty Seven report, we demystify climate data with a clear breakdown of what it is, where it comes from and the nuances to consider when choosing which data products to use. Understanding the risks posed by climate change for facilities or infrastructure assets starts with conducting a risk assessment, which requires an understanding of the physical impacts of climate change. However, for unfamiliar users, climate data is hard to integrate into enterprise risk management, financial risk modelling processes and risk analysis.This climate data primer serves as an introduction for financial, corporate and government stakeholders striving to understand their exposure to physical climate change.

Read the Report

Innovations in Climate Science

Solar-Powered “Saildrones”

Two solar-powered sail boats are returning to California this month after debuting their ocean monitoring capacity on a trip through the Pacific. These drones are part of a collaboration between NOAA and Alameda-based startup, Saildrone, and they may be able to replace the costly bouy system that scientists currently use to obtain ocean circulation data. The boats collect temperature, wind and solar radiation data, while also measuring ocean circulation currents and gas exchange. These data are more precise than data collected by satellites or buoys and have the potential to provide powerful insights into studies of climate’s impact on ocean circulation.

Autonomous Ice Robots

A squad of “Seaglider” robots have been programmed with navigational algorithms for their year-long journey under Pine Island Glacier in Western Antarctica. Some may sink or get lost in ice caves, but the rest will collect data on salinity, temperature and oxygen content to inform scientific understanding of the rate of ice loss with climate change and implications for sea-level rise, floating to the surface to transmit their data.

Science Funding in the Federal Budget

The omnibus bill passed by Congress and signed by the President last month, did not include the funding cuts to critical climate research that many feared. NOAA received $5.9 billion, which is $234 million above its FY 2017 amount. NOAA has many resources for adaptation professionals and others striving to better understand how the natural world affects their lives and businesses, ranging from its satellite system and weather data to its integrated science programs and US Climate Resilience toolkit. This alphabetized list highlights over 20 such resources.

CRA Webinar: What You Need to Know About TCFD and 2018 Reporting Cycles

Thu, May 10, 2018 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT 
Climate change has become a growing concern for corporations, investors, and financial regulators alike. Corporations need to understand how the impacts of a changing climate may affect company operations or their broader value chain and assess how such impacts should be included in corporate disclosures and sustainability reports.

Emilie Mazzacurati will present an overview of how corporations can identify material risks, provide an update on rising regulatory requirements and changes to voluntary reporting frameworks to align with TCFD recommendations, and highlight opportunities to build resilience and adapt to new market conditions.

This programming is provided exclusively for Corporate Responsibility Association members and invited guests. To RSVP email Jen Boynton at jboynton@3blmedia.com.

Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven

Four Twenty Seven Website Features New Insights Page

 

Our blog page has been revamped with featured articles at the top and an interactive filter feature that allows users to sort by author, client, media type and theme or to search for keywords.

Our most read publications this month include:

Upcoming Events

Join the Four Twenty Seven team in the field at these upcoming events:

  • April 30 – May 1: 2018 Local Solutions Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference, Manchester, NH: Advisory Services Manager, Katy Maher, will discuss strategies to build local resilience with this convening of government stakeholders.
  • May 1: TCFD US Scenario Analysis Conference, New York, NY: Founder and CEO Emilie Mazzacurati and Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas, will join this discussion about using scenario analysis in climate-related risk disclosure and resources to help corporations do so.
  • May 10: What You Need to Know About Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), CRA Webinar: Emilie Mazzacurati is the presenter on this webinar about corporate climate risk disclosure. CRA members only.
  • May 17: GRESB’s Sustainable Real Assets Conference, Washington, DC: Emilie Mazzacurati will keynote GRESB’s annual conference on infrastructure resilience and Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas will join the convening.
  • May 23: Four Twenty Seven Webinar, 11am-12pm PST: Save the date for a webinar on city level physical climate risks and opportunities to access climate adaptation and resilience financing. Registration details forthcoming.
  • May 31: Advancing TCFD Guidance on Physical Climate Risk and Opportunities, London, UK: Four Twenty Seven is a strategic partner for this event hosted by EBRD and GCECA to discuss emerging guidance on metrics for physical climate risk disclosures and scenario analysis and Emilie Mazzacurati will moderate a panel presenting findings on physical risk metrics.
  • June 5-6: Responsible Investors Europe, London, UK: Hear Emilie Mazzacurati speak on a panel on corporate engagement and also meet with Frank Freitas and Senior Risk Analyst, Léonie Chatain, to discuss ratings and engagement on physical climate risk in equities.
  • June 12-14: VERGE Hawaii, Honolulu, HI: Advisory Services Manager, Kendall Starkman, will join this convening of corporate, government and NGO stakeholders committed to building resilient cities and economies.
  • June 18-21: Adaptation Futures 2018, Cape Town, South Africa: Director of Advisory Services, Yoon Kim, will facilitate a session exploring integrating climate risks into infrastructure investment decisions.
  • June 26: GRESB’s Sustainable Real Assets Conference, Sydney, Australia: Meet with  Frank Freitas at GRESB’s annual conference on resilient infrastructure investments.
  • August 28-29: 3rd California Adaptation Forum, Sacramento, CA: Save the date for this opportunity to join over 600 climate leaders in workshops, sessions and networking around adaptation action in California.
  • September 12-14PRI in Person, San Francisco, CA: Join the Four Twenty Seven team at this annual convening of responsible investment industry leaders.
  • September 12-14: Global Climate Action Summit, San Francisco, CA: Join the Four Twenty Seven team at this convening of global climate adaptation experts meant to propel action around the Paris Agreement.

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Four Twenty Seven sends a newsletter focused on bringing climate intelligence into economic and financial decision-making for Fortune 500 companies, investors, and government institutions.Our mailing address is:
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Using Climate Data – 427 Technical Brief

April 25, 2018 – 427 TECHNICAL BRIEF. Financial institutions, corporations, and governments  increasingly strive to identify and respond to risks driven by physical climate impacts. Understanding the risks posed by climate change for facilities or infrastructure assets starts with conducting a risk assessment, which requires an understanding of the physical impacts of climate change. However, climate data in its raw form is difficult to integrate into enterprise risk management, financial risk modelling processes, and capital planning. This primer provides a brief introduction to climate models and data from a business or government perspective.

The first of several reports explaining the data and climate hazards analyzed in Four Twenty Seven’s equity risk scores and portfolio analytics, Using Climate Data unpacks the process through which raw climate data is transformed into usable metrics, such as future temperature projections, to help financial, corporate and government users productively incorporate climate-based analytics into their workflows. Beginning by explaining what a global climate model is, the report explains climate data’s format, computational choices to hedge uncertainty and resources for aggregated climate projections tailored to specific audiences.

Key  Takeaways

  • Climate models are simulations of the Earth’s future conditions. Climate projections are based on a compilation of many models and are publicly available.
  • Regional climate models and statistical downscaling improve the resolution of data produced by global climate models and are thus valuable options when projections are only needed for one location or several in the same region.
  • Climate models can be used to project future trends in temperature and precipitation, but can not project discrete storms or local flooding from sea level rise, which require additional data and analysis.
  • Different time horizons of climate projections have different strengths and limitations so it is important to select the data product best suited to a specific project’s goal.
  • There are several drivers of uncertainty in climate models and strategies to hedge this uncertainty can help users correctly interpret and use climate projections.

Download the Report.

Fintech Meets Climate Data

We chat with our new Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas, about his motivations to join Four Twenty Seven after almost 30 years in finance and fintech, and his vision for new products and markets in climate analytics.

Why did you decide to join Four Twenty Seven?

First and foremost, the fact that our firm provides data-driven analytics that quantify real issues facing our planet today is very attractive to me. I have spent my entire career in finance and, like others, have increasingly come to see the need for alignment of investment decisions with those that preserve the future of our planet. To me, Four Twenty Seven’s mission and vision exist at the center of this nexus.

When I encountered the Four Twenty Seven white paper on climate risk in equity markets, I was impressed by the level of thought-leadership embedded in the research, and by the high level of quantitative rigor applied to the development of its risk scores. The acceleration of climate’s influence on corporate performance are upon us, and investors are rapidly awakening to the risks that climate change brings to financial markets. Four Twenty Seven’s sophisticated climate data analytics are at the forefront of identifying the most exposed corporations and assets globally.

My career to date has been focused on the development of analytical solutions for institutional investors, ranging from multi-factor risk models at Barra (now MSCI) to the solutions we built in my previous company, Pluribus Labs, where we combined data science and natural language processing with quantitative modeling to distill a variety of unstructured data sources into investible signals.

In my subsequent conversations with Emilie and the Four Twenty Seven team, I quickly came to realize that Four Twenty Seven’s research methodology really resonated with me, and that the culture here is fabulous. It’s rare that you have an opportunity to do what you love and also provide solutions that impact the planet’s future — my role at Four Twenty Seven enables me to do just that!

How is technology spurring innovation in research around financial risk?

There are a number of drivers at play in this respect.  First and perhaps most obviously, the availability of computing power at our fingertips makes data analysis on large data sets more available and more affordable than ever before.  If you had told me when I started my career that I would be able to create an account on a cloud computing platform like Google’s GCP or Microsoft’s Azure and have massive amounts of compute power available within minutes, I wouldn’t have believed you!  Four Twenty Seven’s ability to distill terabytes of climate data from an ensemble of models into actionable insights at the asset level is a great way to leverage this computing power.

Relatedly, the ubiquity of meaningful data, both unstructured and structured, also provides a much broader set of lenses through which to view the world.  Financial research has always focused on the development of insights from any and all available data sources on companies, industries and economies.  Today, an ever-increasing volume of data sources are accessible for analysis.  For example, features extracted from satellite images of our planet can be used to arrive at estimates on a wide variety of metrics, ranging from crop yields to consumer brand sales changes.  Similarly, observations gleaned from the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) can provide us with insights into weather trends and CO2 emissions at the sub-city level.  Moving forward, opportunities afforded by organizations’ self-reporting of their climate risks and mitigation plans specifically related to climate change will provide additional data points for firms like ours to incorporate into our ground truth analysis of companies, industries and economies.

Couple these two trends with increasingly sophisticated machine learning and feature extraction techniques and you wind up with tremendous opportunities to develop insights into both the physical risks of climate change and the steps that companies are taking to mitigate these risks.

What are the priorities during your first year at Four Twenty Seven?

Emilie and the team have translated their broad and deep base of intellectual property into purpose-built solutions for a number of key market segments in the financial sector. These solutions enable asset owners and investors alike to understand their holdings’ exposure to the physical reality of climate change.

Our goals for this year are to continue tuning our existing offerings through engagement with our clients and to position the firm for its next phase of growth.  Thanks to entities like the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), market participants are increasingly aware of the need to incorporate climate risk analytics into their investment process, and we will continue to evangelize this message in our own interactions with the investment community.  We are currently in fundraising mode and will use proceeds from our capital raise to support plans to leverage our proprietary facility database to quantify the relationship between weather and company performance.  In addition, we intend to on-board additional data sources to inform our analytics and add desktop visualization tools to our client offerings. This promises to be a busy year!

Can Investors Anticipate the Impacts of Climate Change on Equities?

427 ANALYSIS – The physical impacts of climate change drive millions of dollars of losses for corporations every year, as experienced by Honda and Toyota during the 2011 floods in Thailand. Investors equipped with data on corporate production facilities and climate projections can manage their risk exposure more effectively and reduce downside risk.

Risk is one of the most widely understood and discussed components of the investment management process today. Informed tradeoffs of risk and return are fundamental to modern investment practices across asset classes and investment styles.  And yet, an important dimension of risk – physical risk from companies’ exposure to climate volatility – has yet to find its way into the mainstream investment process.

Monsoons Damage Automobile Manufacturers

Climate change’s influence on economies, sectors and companies is an increasingly important factor in identifying and balancing the tradeoffs between risk and return.  For example, the heavy monsoon season that led to severe flooding across Thailand in late June 2011 through December, inundated 30,000 square kilometersand caused widespread economic damage. Automobile manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda were particularly affected by suspended operations and supply chain disruptions, which led to reduced production internationally and affected global sales and profitability long after the rains stopped.

Figure 1. Honda and Toyota facilities’ exposure to extreme rainfall. Orange dots represent facilities with higher risk.

As shown in Figure 1, both companies possess a diversified set of production facilities in the area affected by the flooding, including stamping facilities and sub-component manufacturers, which do not only service downstream processes in Thailand but in other production centers as well. These same facilities all score high for extreme rainfall in our global corporate facility database, signaling high vulnerability to flood risk for Honda and Toyota – a risk that will only worsen in the future.

Figure 2. Japanese Automobile & Components Manufacturers’ exposure to sea level rise by facility. Red indicates high sea level risk, while green represents lower risk.

Sea Level Rise in Japan

Investors must also anticipate forward-looking risks – what will climate change bring, and which companies are most affected? Understanding and preparing for volatility in returns requires an in-depth awareness of a company’s facilities and the climate risks which those facilities face.  Given their global footprint, many businesses are exposed to diverse hazards such as extreme heat, water stress, cyclones and sea level rise, in addition to extreme precipitation. Thus, the factors we include to model a company’s physical risk to climate change include the sector characteristics, operational needs and the regional conditions where facilities are located. While flood damage and manufacturing delays in Thailand damaged Honda and Toyota, Figure 2. shows these companies are also exposed to sea level rise at hundreds of facilities in their home market of Japan.

Assessing Companies’ Exposure to Climate Risk

Our data interweaves climate analytics with financial markets data to provide a robust view of companies’ risks and identify those that are less likely to experience financial losses due to increasingly frequent extreme weather events. Facility-level assessment of these risks is an intensely data-driven exercise that requires the combination of terabytes of data from climate models with information on complex company structures. We translate this analysis into a clear result to inform financial strategy. Armed with this understanding, investors and corporations alike can achieve a new and more valuable balance of risk and return.

Figure 3. Global exposure to water stress of all facilities in Four Twenty Seven’s database.

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Four Twenty Seven’s ever-growing database now includes close to one million corporate sites and covers over 1800 publicly-traded companies. We offer equity risk scoring and real asset screening services to help investors and corporations leverage this data.

 

  1. Emma L. Gale and Mark A. Saunders, “The 2011 Thailand Flood: Climate Causes and Return Periods,” Weather 68, no. 9 (2013): 233–37.