Newsletter: Bank of England Publishes First Stress Test for Climate Risks

Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments on climate risk and resilience. This month we feature developments in scenario analysis for physical risks, highlight the European Union's guidance on climate risk disclosure and share the latest on financial climate risk and the need for resilience.

In Focus: Scenario Analysis for Physical Risk

Bank of England Publishes First Climate Risk Stress Test

Yesterday the Bank of England released specifications for integrating climate risk scenarios into its insurance industry's biennial stress tests. This "exploratory" exercise is an enormous step towards catalyzing a growing understanding of possible impacts of transition and physical climate risks on financial assets.

The guidance lays out potential impacts by providing sector-specific percentages of potential loss under three scenarios by sector and by region. These quantitative financial impact assumptions are not a projection but a starting point for the insurance industry to explore potential impacts of climate change on their portfolios.

The Bank of England leveraged Four Twenty Seven's analytics on climate risk exposure in equity and real estate markets to inform its assumptions about which sectors will experience the largest impacts. We explain how data on risk exposure in equities can be leveraged for this type of analysis in our new blog series on scenario analysis.

The Bank of England also recently released a practitioner's guide for assessing the financial impacts of physical climate change, to help the insurance sector address climate risks.

Blog Series: Scenario Analysis for Physical Climate Risk

Our new blog series provides our reflections on how corporations and financial institutions can integrate physical climate risk into scenario analysis. Scenario analysis for physical risk is fundamentally different from transition risk. Corporations and investors increasingly recognize the need to integrate physical risk into scenario analysis but are looking for guidance and best practices on how to proceed.

Our first blog focuses on the foundations, demonstrating how characteristics of climate science affect how climate data can be used to inform scenario analysis. We argue that because physical risks over the next 10-20 years are largely independent from policy decisions and emission pathways, investors would be better served by scenario analysis that focuses on the inherent uncertainty of projected impacts, independent from assumptions on GHG emission scenarios. 

The next blog focuses on Equity Markets, with concrete examples of how available data can inform financial stakeholders ready to start putting scenario analysis into action. We look at data on climate risk exposure by sector to explore how climate risk analytics can inform early developments of stress test assumptions, as done by the Bank of England.  
Read the Blogs
EU Technical Expert Group
Releases Guidance
Yesterday the European Commission released its final guidance on integrating climate change into corporate disclosuresThis guidance applies to 6,000 companies, banks and insurers in Europe and maps to the TCFD recommendations. The guidance includes key recommendations from Advancing TCFD Guidance for Physical Risks and Opportunities, published by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and GCECA last year, for which Four Twenty Seven was a lead author. 
The EU also released the Technical Expert Group (TEG) report on a taxonomy for activities that contribute to climate adaptation and mitigation. The taxonomy aims to help investors and policymakers understand which economic activities contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy, through both mitigation and resilience. It outlines qualitative screening criteria to identify adaptation of economic activities and adaptation by economic activities, providing activity-specific examples for a range of sectors. The proposed taxonomy is still under legislative review.
Second TCFD Status Report
While more firms are releasing TCFD disclosures, investors call for an increase in informative disclosure of the financial impact of climate risks. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) released its second progress report earlier this month, emphasizing that the quality of risk disclosures must continue to improve as firms build their understanding and capacity to address climate risks. 91% of surveyed firms said they plan to at least partially implement the TCFD recommendations, but only 67% plan to complete implementation within the next three years. This progress must be accompanied by continued knowledge sharing and research on financial risk pathways for climate impacts, meaningful exposure data and best practices for reporting.

Even as TCFD reporting increases, quantitative assessment of physical risk exposure lags behind. Explore physical climate risk reporting by French firms in our analysis of physical risk in Article 173 reports and stay tuned for Four Twenty Seven's forthcoming analysis on physical risk disclosure in TCFD reports.
Investors Factor Climate Risk into Decisions
The past month has seen a flurry of news around the business risks of climate change and the financial sector response. CDP's annual climate change report estimates that 215 companies could incur around $1 trillion in climate-related costs if they don't prepare for these impacts. Companies expect these costs to begin accumulating in around five years. While some are not yet acting, others are, such as Japanese Hitachi Ltd preparing for increased rainfall in Southeast Asia and Brazilian Bank, Banco Santander, considering how increased water stress may damage borrowers' ability to repay loans. 

Alison Martin of Zurich Insurance Group told a meeting of CFOs that physical risks such as drought, extreme heat and flooding will be "incredibly meaningful." She emphasizes that the first step in integrating climate change into planning is for a company to understand its risk exposure. Meanwhile investors say they are increasingly factoring physical climate risk into their decision-making to minimize their risk and increase returns. Four Twenty Seven's on-demand scoring of real assets and analysis of asset-level risk in equity portfolios enables both corporations and investors to understand their exposure and strategically address physical climate risks.
Devastating Impacts Call for Preparation

Catastrophic Midwest Flooding Has Rippling Impacts

At the end of May only 58% and 29% of the U.S. corn and soy crops had been planted respectively. After persistent flooding beginning in Mid-March, inundated fields delayed planting. This means that some farmers will miss the planting window, which closes in June due to the heat and dryness of later summer months.
Those crops that do get planted will have to overcome soggy soil conditions and will remain at the peril of the summer's weather. It's already clear that this will be a below average crop yield, which translates into  more expensive corn in cattle feed and higher prices in grocery stores.

The Climate Connection

While the Mississippi River continues to swell, extreme precipitation has recently hit Houston and the Southeast with damaging floods. The past 12 months have been the wettest on record for the U.S. The national average of 37.7 inches since last June is 7.7 inches above average. 
A weak El Niño likely contributed to increased rainfall, but climate change also plays a role as warmer air holds more water. This month also saw record high temperatures in the western U.S., caused by a bulging jet stream making warm air flow south to north. While this does happen naturally, it may be happening more often due to warming ocean waters. This jet stream activity also contributes to other extreme events like the Midwest flooding.

The Need to Rethink Preparedness

From floods and heat waves to fires and hurricanes, federal recovery efforts for extreme events have cost almost half a trillion dollars since 2005. As disasters become more common and costs increase, there is an urgent need to invest in resilience proactively rather than spending billions on recovery. Last fall's Disaster Recovery Reform Act made an
important step by allowing FEMA to use a small portion of its disaster relief funding for risk mitigation ahead of disasters. However, this is the start of what must be a systemic shift in addressing extreme events. “If we don’t want to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on recovering for disaster, we need to spend tens of billions [on resilience],” Four Twenty Seven Strategic Advisor, Josh Sawislak, told Bloomberg.

"There is a silver lining to our climate challenges — economic growth. Americans are very good at innovating and building and we can leverage our need to be more resilient by growing the economy with good resilient and sustainable jobs," Sawislak wrote.
Upcoming Events

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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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Newsletter: Towards Adaptation Standards

Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, we release a new report to help corporations and investors understand local adaptive capacity, share initiatives to standardize adaptation and highlight resources on adaptation finance.

In Focus: Assessing Local Adaptive Capacity 

427 Report: Helping Corporations and Investors Understand
Local Adaptive Capacity 

Building resilient communities and financial systems requires an understanding of climate risk exposure, but also of how prepared communities are to manage that risk. From flooded or damaged public infrastructure hindering employee and customer commutes to competition for water resources threatening business operations and urban heat reducing public health, the impacts of climate change on a community will impact the businesses and real estate investors based in that community.

Our newest report describes Four Twenty Seven's framework for assessing adaptive capacity in a way that’s actionable for corporations seeking to understand the risk and resilience of their own facilities and for investors assessing risk in their portfolios or screening potential investments. We create location-specific analysis by focusing on three pillars: 1) awareness, 2) economic and financial characteristics, and 3) the quality of adaptation planning and implementation. This helps the private sector understand their assets' risks and provides an entry-point for collaboration on local resilience-building. 
Read the Report
Towards Adaptation Standards
While climate mitigation has traditionally been the focus of efforts to address climate change, the past few years have seen an increased recognition of adaptation as a critical element of confronting climate change. As efforts grow to understand, quantify and catalyze adaptation investment there is a growing need for standardization and metrics around resilience investments.

EU Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance  

The European Commission's Action Plan on financing sustainable growth lays out a two year timeline for implementation, with a goal to create a taxonomy for climate adaptation finance by the end of 2019. To accomplish this goal, the EU has launched a Technical Expert Group (TEG) on Sustainable Finance and is calling for expert feedback on what actions qualify as adaptation and mitigation.
This will contribute to the ongoing effort to identify investments that build resilience in specific industries. The TEG recently released its preliminary report outlining its current thinking and explaining where it is soliciting feedback. The report shows the current lack of consensus around adaptation metrics and the need to standardize resilience definitions.

Expert Group on Resilient Bond Standards

A parallel initiative by the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) is focused on strategically incorporating adaptation into green bond standards. While green bonds have tended to focus on mitigation to date CBI launched an Adaptation and Resilience Expert Group (AREG) in November, which will develop Adaptation and Resilience Principles for bonds.
These principles will be released for public consultation in June 2019 and will lay the foundation for the development of sector-specific adaptation and resilience criteria. Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, and Strategic Advisor, Josh Sawislak, are members of AREG.
Science Suffers in Government Shutdown
Four Twenty Seven analysts Josh Turner and Colin Gannon attended the American Meteorological Society's annual meeting last week, where the absence of hundreds of federal scientists was sorely felt. Numerous sessions were cancelled or poorly attended, and information sharing was lost in both directions. 
 

 
Most Americans may not feel the shutdown's impacts on a daily basis, but there are long-lasting implications far beyond the lack of conference attendance. While only those employees responsible for "essential services" continue to work with limited pay, data collection for long-term climate studies will be hindered, research on wildfire impacts will be delayed and hurricane model improvements and emergency training aren't progressing as they should. Some federal data sites are not currently accessible and the dearth of economic monitoring means that key data used by investors and policy-makers, like agricultural production numbers, are no longer being reported. 

Despite these obstacles, the private sector is persevering in its efforts to understand and address climate impacts. IBM announced that it will release the world's first hourly-updating, highest-resolution global weather forecasting model later this year and McKinsey just added 121 weather-data variables to its agriculture analytics tool, refining crop yield predictions. This year also promises to see continued growth in publicly hosted data sets, satellite data, and machine learning techniques for climate projections.
Resources for Adaptation Finance

Plugging the Climate Adaptation Gap with High Resilience Benefit Investments

In this report S&P Global Ratings  highlights both the funding gap and the multifaceted benefits of resilience projects. It outlines both challenges and benefits of quantifying benefits of adaptation projects and the barriers to adaptation, providing a small case study on the economic benefits of adapting to sea level rise.  Lastly, the brief report emphasizes the need for private investment to support limited public funding.

Financing Climate Futures: Rethinking Infrastructure

This report outlines a vision for a realigned financial system, prepared for long-term climate risks and opportunities.  The OECD, World Bank and UN Environment explain the dire need to disclose climate-related financial information in infrastructure projects and to invest in low-emission, resilient infrastructure that is both prepared for a changing climate and able to catalyze economic growth. 

Money for Resilient Infrastructure

The ebook Money for Resilient Infrastructure: How to Finance America's Climate Changed Future, explains recent developments in the financial sector's understanding of climate-related risks and highlights the growing demand for resilient infrastructure. Joyce Coffee outlines infrastructure finance options, investment instruments and strategies for obtaining resilience financing. 
Emilie Mazzacurati Named Top 100 in Finance
The Top 100 Magazine includes Founder and CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, in the 2018 Top 100 People in Finance. 

“I’m honored to be recognized by The Top 100 Magazine,” says Emilie.  “We’re pushing the boundaries of how the financial world thinks about climate change, and appreciate the recognition on how our work helps drive the conversation on climate risk.” The Top 100 Magazine writes that while climate data "may seem like a fairly novel niche within the financial sector, the demand for this data has grown exponentially over the past two years... [Four Twenty Seven's] analysis leverages best-in-class climate data at the most granular level, and scores assets based on their precise geographic location. This provides the financial industry with the most comprehensive overview of investment outcomes related to present and future climate changes."

Upcoming Events

Join the Four Twenty Seven team at these upcoming events:

  • January 23 – From Sciences Po to the Economic Risk of Climate Change, San Francisco, CA: Hear Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, speak at this Sciences Po American Foundation event at 6:30pm. Use discount code 427 for a $10 ticket.
  • February 12 – Investing for Impact, New York, NY: Emilie Mazzacurati will present on adaptation as an impact investment opportunity at this annual convening hosted by The Economist.
  • March 20-22 – Climate Leadership Conference, Baltimore, MD: Emilie Mazzacurati will speak about the evolving landscape of climate risk disclosure.
  • April 10-12 – RI Asia Japan, Tokyo, Japan: Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas, will present on climate analytics for investors and Emilie Mazzacurati will also join this convening.
  • April 13-16  – APA National Planning Conference, San Francisco, CA: Director of Advisory Services, Yoon Kim, and Director of Analytics, Nik Steinberg, will speak on a panel called, "Beyond Vulnerability: Innovative Adaptation Planning."
  • April 23-25 – National Adaptation Forum, Madison, WI: Editor, Natalie Ambrosio, will present on local adaptive capacity from a private sector perspective. 
  • April 29 - May 1  – Ceres Conference 2019, San Francisco, CA: The Four Twenty Seven team will join investors and corporations at this annual gathering.
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Copyright © 2019 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:
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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.

Webinar: Building City-level Climate Resilience

This Four Twenty Seven webinar familiarizes participants with an approach for assessing city-level physical climate risks and provides insight into concrete actions that cities can take to more effectively attract investor financing for climate adaptation and resilience.

Speakers

  1.  Nik Steinberg (Director of Analytics, Four Twenty Seven) provides an overview of Four Twenty Seven’s approach to assessing city-level physical climate risks.
  2. Lisa Schroeer (Senior Director and Sector Leader, S&P Global) speaks about how the ratings agency is incorporating physical climate risks into its view of city and county  credit risk.
  3. Ksenia Koban (Vice President and Municipal Strategist, Payden & Rygel) offers insight into the factors that investors are looking at when determining whether to make city-level climate resilience investments and what cities can do more successfully to attract investor financing for climate adaptation and resilience.

Read Four Twenty Seven’s report on Assessing Exposure to Climate Change in U.S. Munies and learn more about our advisory services for risk assessments, adaptation finance and policy consulting.

Every City Has its Hazards: 427 Interview

Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas, discusses Four Twenty Seven’s report on Assessing Exposure to Climate Risk in U.S. Municipalities on the Midday Briefing. During this brief interview Frank describes Four Twenty Seven’s work as a data provider for investors, highlights the ubiquity of climate hazards across United States munies and explains the impact of both acute events like hurricanes and more subtlety destructive chronic stresses such as drought.

Newsletter: US Munis Increasingly Vulnerable to Floods, Storms and Drought

 

 

Four Twenty Seven’s monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, don’t miss our new report on muni climate risk exposure, details on upcoming Four Twenty Seven webinars and an update on risk disclosure resources!

In Focus: U.S Munis Increasingly Vulnerable to Floods, Storms, and Drought

New report from Four Twenty Seven analyzes exposure to climate hazards in U.S. muni market


Our latest report Assessing Exposure to Climate Change in U.S. Munis identifies U.S. cities and counties most exposed to the impacts of climate change. As credit rating agencies start integrating physical climate risk into their municipal ratings, our new climate risk scores help inform investors with forward-looking, comparable data on the climate risks that impact these municipalities. Learn more about Four Twenty Seven climate risk scores for cities and counties and options to finance city resilience in our Webinar: Building City-level Climate Resilience, May 23.

Read the Report

Advancing TCFD Guidance on Physical Climate Risk and Opportunities

EBRD and GCECA Conference on May 31

Advancing TCFD Guidance on Physical Climate Risks and Opportunities is a targeted initiative to lay the foundations for a common conceptual framework and a standard set of metrics for physical climate risks and opportunities disclosures. Working with thought-leaders in the financial and corporate sectors, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Global Climate Center for Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA), with the support from technical experts Four Twenty Seven and Acclimatise, developed a set of technical recommendations on metrics for risks and opportunities disclosures.

The final report will be released during a conference held at the EBRD’s headquarters in London on May 31st, 2018. Four Twenty Seven founder and CEO Emilie Mazzacurati will facilitate the panel discussion on the project’s key findings with Murray Birt from DWS, Simon Connell from Standard & Chartered, Craig Davies from EBRD, and Greg Lowe from AON.

TCFD Knowledge Hub

The recently launched TCFD Knowledge Hub is a curated platform of insights and resources on climate risk reporting. Users can search by keyword or sort for resources by the four TCFD themes. There is a broad set of research, tools and frameworks for implementing the TCFD recommendations, including our Lender’s Guide for Considering Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments, our Technical Brief on Using Climate Data and a Climate Scenario Guide for Investors.

Helping Banks Build Climate Resilience

Acknowledging that financial impacts, regulatory pressures and industry action all point toward the need for climate-related risk disclosure and more comprehensive data, IDB Invest asserts that what may have formerly been ancillary ESG factors must now be central to business decisions. They report on four key messages from their annual Sustainability Week, in their article “Four insights for banks willing to seize sustainable finance opportunities.” 

The key takeaways are that risk analysis must include more than solely financial data, technology is a crucial ally in translating data into actionable insights, new ways to understand risk bring new market opportunities, and prioritization of ESG and climate analysis demand shifting human capital needs. Four Twenty Seven provided one of the featured new technologies, combining climate data with data on bank’s credit portfolios to assess climate-related risks and new market opportunities for banks in Ecuador. Read more.

Tomorrow! Four Twenty Seven Webinar:
Building City-level Climate Resilience

Wed, May 23, 2018 11:00AM – 12PM PT 

Four Twenty Seven is hosting a webinar to provide insight into concrete actions that cities can take to more effectively attract investor financing for climate adaptation and resilience, and share findings from our comprehensive analysis of city-level physical climate risks in the U.S. The webinar will be recorded and made available in the Insights section of our website. Register here.

Save the date – Four Twenty Seven Webinar:
Metrics for Physical Climate Risks Disclosure

Four Twenty Seven will host a webinar on TCFD reporting, emerging metrics and best practice for physical climate risks and opportunities disclosures. We will provide insights and lessons from the front line on:

  • How to use climate data to assess risks
  • Do’s and don’ts of scenario analysis
  • How to structure your TCFD/Art. 173 disclosures
  • Strategies for corporate engagement

Tues. June 12 at 8am PT; 11am ET; 4pm CET:

Register Here

Tues. Wed. 13 June at 9am HKT/SGT; 10am JST; 11am AEST (June 12 at 6pm PT):

Register Here

The Third California Adaptation Forum

The biennial California Adaptation Forum will take place in Sacramento from August 28-29. This multidisciplinary gathering of adaptation professionals and local stakeholders will include plenaries, workshops and sessions discussing trends in climate resilience, forward-looking adaptation policy, strategies for adaptation finance and new tools.

Upcoming Events

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

  • May 23: Four Twenty Seven Webinar Building City-level Climate Resilience, 11am-12pm PT: This webinar will discuss city level physical climate risks and opportunities to access climate adaptation and resilience financing. Register here.
  • May 23: Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative Quarterly Meeting, Sacramento, CA: Advisory Services Manager, Kendall Starkman, will join this quarterly meeting focused on the drivers of poor air quality in the Capital Region.
  • 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 Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas, and Senior Risk Analyst, Léonie Chatain, to discuss ratings and engagement on physical climate risk in equities.
  • June 7-9: 7th Sustainable Finance Forum, Waddesdon, UK: COO Colin Shaw will speak on a panel called “Supply chain transparency and network analysis” at this forum hosted by the Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford.
  • June 12: Four Twenty Seven Webinar: Metrics for Physical Climate Risks Disclosure, 8am PT and 6pm PT: This webinar will cover TCFD reporting, emerging metrics and best practice for physical climate risks and opportunities disclosures.
  • June 12-14: VERGE Hawaii, Honolulu, HI: Kendall Starkman, will speak about Four Twenty Seven’s heat assessment work at 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 12-14: PRI 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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EU Moves Towards Regulation for Climate Risk Disclosure

From Recommendations to Action 

March 15, 2018 – 427 ANALYSIS. The EU laid out a clear plan to move towards mandatory climate risk disclosure as part of a new set of regulations to finance sustainable growth and support the transition to a low-carbon economy. The European Commission’s Action Plan lays out a two year timeline for implementation, with a goal to create a taxonomy for climate adaptation finance by the end of 2019. These regulations from the EU will drive change into financial markets globally and set standards on reporting, disclosures and infrastructure resilience that will likely set the bar for the rest of the world.

The European Commission recently released its Action Plan: Financing Sustainable Growth to establish a regulatory framework that supports the goals of the Paris agreement. The Action Plan calls for transformation of the whole financial system to enable the financing of a sustainable, resource-efficient economy.

The Action Plan builds on the recommendation from a high profile expert group, the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG), which was created by the European Commission in December 2016.   The group included experts from banking, insurance, asset management and stock exchanges. Its final recommendations to the Commission, released in January  acknowledged the responsibility of the financial system to drive change towards “enduring and inclusive economic prosperity”. HLEG recommendations aimed to both promote sustainable investments, so that capital reaches sustainable projects and also to ensure that the financial system itself addresses risk and builds resilience.

Incorporating many of the  recommendations of the HLEG, the Commission’s Action Plan lays out ten specific actions, setting deadlines within the next two years, with a number of thematic sub-actions that will be pursued simultaneously.  Action 1  lays the groundwork for many of the following actions as it will establish a Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, with the responsibility of drafting a standardized EU sustainability taxonomy , including climate mitigation by Q1 2019 and adaptation by Q3. This effort will be supported by legislation this year that mandates the creation of the taxonomy.

The 10 actions are summarized in this infographic from the European Commission:

Mandating Disclosure

Of most immediate importance to investors is Action 7, which calls for the proposal by Q2 2018 of legislation mandating investors to explicitly consider sustainability factors in their investment decisions and disclose their methodology of doing so. This effort is particularly focused on improving the consistency and transparency of climate risk considerations by investors.

Likewise, Action 9 is focused on improving the methodologies and practice of corporate risk disclosure. The Commission will publish a report on current reporting legislation by Q2 this year, which will inform a revision of corporate reporting guidelines to help them align with the TCFD recommendations, by Q2 2019. Later this year the Commission will develop a European Corporate Reporting Lab, under the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group, to help develop best practices for corporate reporting. The goals of Action 10 will support these actions by supporting a shift in corporate governance. It aims to improve transparency and combat long-termism, by engaging with stakeholders around corporate governance starting by Q2 next year.

Revamping Credit Ratings

The Commission also commits to revamping the ways in which credit ratings incorporate sustainability metrics into their scoring. Through Action 6, the European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA) will examine the credit ratings’ current practices around this topic by Q2 2019 and the Commission will pursue comprehensive research on reporting standards, exploring the potential of mandating agencies to integrate specific sustainability metrics into their standards.

Client Clarity

To improve consumers ability to identify sustainable investments, Action 2 calls for the technical expert group to publish a report exploring green bond standards by Q2 2019 and the Commission will consider expanding the EU Ecolabel to include financial products, initially focusing on retail investments. Likewise, Action 4 says that by Q2 2018, the MiFID II and IDD rules will be updated to ensure that sustainability preferences are considered when banks, investment firms and insurers offer accounts to clients and by the end of the year the ESMA will include these provisions in their guidelines. Through Action 5 the Commission will adopt acts that improve the transparency of sustainability benchmarks by Q2 2018.

 Comprehensive Sustainability Support

The Commission identifies a lack of technical expertise as a challenge to pursuing sustainable infrastructure projects and aims to confront this by to increasing the technical support available to investors.  It will run a pilot project offering tools for sustainable infrastructure projects, from 2019-2023 through Action 3.

Action 8 states that the Commission will consider including sustainability frameworks in prudential requirements, looping in the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA).

“A Blueprint” for Change

While the HLEG emphasized that its report is only the beginning of an enduring effort to create a resilient financial system that supports a sustainable society, the Commission’s resulting Action Plan clearly defines the next steps. And as HLEG also emphasized its report’s relevance for financial sectors worldwide, the Commission’s Action Plan states that a “coordinated, global effort is crucial.”  As “the HLEG hopes to stimulate a wide public debate that helps shift Europe’s financial system from post-crisis stabilization to supporting long-term growth,” that same widespread conversation is essential to driving global change. These regulations from the EU, as is often the case, will drive change into financial markets globally by setting new standards global financial institutions must meet.

Download the HLEG Recommendations.

Download the EC Action Plan

For more resources on building a sustainable financial sector, read about Four Twenty Seven’s work providing the technical secretariat for an EBRD and GCECA initiative to build a resilient financial sector and download the GARI Investor Guide to Physical Climate Risk and Resilience.

EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance

Reaching the goals of the Paris agreement, and financing a sustainable, resource-efficient economy, requires a transformation of the whole financial system. Understanding that private-sector investments must be joined by a transformation of the regulatory landscape, the European Commission created the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG) in December 2016. As the need for reform spans across all facets of the sector, HLEG members include experts from banking, insurance, asset management, stock exchanges and others. The group acknowledges that a sustainable society depends upon enduring and inclusive economic prosperity and that the financial system has a responsibility to drive change towards this sustainability. Thus, the HLEG aims to both promote sustainable investments, so that capital reaches sustainable projects and also to ensure that the financial system itself addresses risk and builds resilience.

After releasing an interim report and soliciting public feedback in July, the HLEG released its final recommendations for actions  to facilitate this financial system reform. The report describes a set of priority recommendations and a set of “cross-cutting recommendations.” The former include developing an EU sustainability taxonomy, pushing investors to focus on ESG factors and consider broader time horizons,  creating European sustainability standards for green bonds and other financing options, identifying investment needs by focusing first on climate mitigation, providing sustainable finance options for retail investors, and integrating sustainability into both the governance and financial oversight of financial institutions. The “cross-cutting” recommendations include embracing long-term vision, empowering citizens to shape a sustainable financial sector, monitoring sustainable investment and delivery, integrating a “Think Sustainability First” outlook throughout EU policy, and promoting global sustainable finance.

HLEG acknowledges that there are other social and environmental issues that must be addressed alongside climate change.  Emphasizing that this report is only the beginning of an enduring effort to create a resilient financial system that supports a sustainable society, HLEG also states the report’s relevance for financial sectors worldwide. As “the HLEG hopes to stimulate a wide public debate that helps shift Europe’s financial system from post-crisis stabilization to supporting long-term growth,” that same widespread conversation is essential to driving global change.

Download the Recommendations.

For more resources on building a sustainable financial sector, read about Four Twenty Seven’s work providing the technical secretariat for an EBRD and GCECA initiative to build a resilient financial sector and download the GARI Investor Guide to Physical Climate Risk and Resilience.

Newsletter: New Report on Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments

 

 

Four Twenty Seven’s monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, don’t miss funding opportunities for local adaptation and a closer look at resilient infrastructure! 

In Focus: Infrastructure Resilience

Lenders’ Guide: Considering Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments


Climate change poses multifaceted physical risks for infrastructure investors, including decreasing revenue due to operational capacity limits, increasing maintenance costs from physical damage, decreasing asset value, and increasing liability and debt. Four Twenty Seven, with our partners Acclimatise and Climate Finance Advisers, published today the Lenders’ Guide for Considering Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments.” This new report provides banking institutions and infrastructure investors with a brief introduction to the ways that physical climate risks can affect infrastructure investment. The guide includes ten illustrative “snapshots” describing climate change considerations in example sub-industries such as commercial real estate, power plants, and hospitals.

Read Lender’s Guide

Built to Last

The Union of Concerned Scientists’ white paper, Built to Last: Challenges and Opportunities for Climate-Smart Infrastructure in California, responds to Executive Order B-30-15, which mandates that state agencies plan for climate change. The paper makes suggestions for policies that support resilient infrastructure with co-benefits for human and ecosystem health and mitigation. Recommendations cover tools and standards, financial assessments and institutional capacity building.

Read the White Paper

How to Incorporate Climate in Local Planning

Local Adaptation Planning: Four Twenty Seven’s Process Guide

United States cities face increasing challenges from climate change impacts and increasing legislation requiring that they prepare for these impacts. Through our work assisting eight cities in Alameda County in responding to California’s Senate Bill No. 379 Land Use: General Plan: Safety Element (Jackson) (SB 379), Four Twenty Seven developed a streamlined process to support local governments’ efforts to integrate climate risks into key planning efforts, such as local hazard mitigation plans, general plans and climate action plans. SB 379 requires cities and counties in California to incorporate adaptation and resilience strategies into General Plan Safety Elements and Local Hazard Mitigation Plans starting in 2017.

Four Twenty Seven’s Process Guide for Local Adaptation Planning outlines two steps for effective climate adaptation planning: 1) a hazard assessment to determine vulnerability and 2) identification of appropriate adaptation options.

Read the Process Guide

“Planning and Investing for a Resilient California” – Guidance Document

As fires and floods rage up and down the coast and lives and livelihoods are lost and damaged, the call for resilience feels increasingly urgent each day. A resilient California is a state with strong infrastructure, communities and natural systems that can withstand increasingly volatile conditions.
To support the implementation of  Executive Order B-30-15, mandating that state agencies plan for climate change, the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research released “Planning and Investing for a Resilient California,” a guidance document outlining strategies to include climate adaptation in decision-making. Four Twenty Seven CEO Emilie Mazzacurati served on the Technical Advisory Group that wrote the report.

The guide outlines four steps for integrating climate into decisions: characterizing climate risk, analyzing climate risk, making climate-informed decisions and monitoring progress. Ending with a closer look at investing in resilient infrastructure, the document provides actionable guidelines for building a resilient California.

Read the Guidance Document

Climate Change Threatens City Credit Ratings

“What we want people to realize is: If you’re exposed, we know that. We’re going to ask questions about what you’re doing to mitigate that exposure,” Lenny Jones, a managing director at Moody’s was quoted by Bloomberg. “That’s taken into your credit ratings.” Jones is explaining the thinking behind a recent Moody’s report that urged cities and states to act upon their climate risk or face potential credit downgrades. Moody’s is not the only credit agency in this conversation, as others including Standard & Poor’s are increasingly publicizing their inclusion of climate risk in credit ratings.These steps by rating agencies may provide the extra impetus that municipalities need to examine their climate risks and take action.

Four Twenty Seven conducts research on urban resilience to climate risks and offers real asset screening and portfolio analytics to help investors identify and respond to risks in their portfolios.

Funding Opportunities and Finance Guide

Resilient by Design Finance Guide

The recently published Finance Guide for Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge Design Teams, for challenge participants, outlines traditional funding resources for infrastructure in California and describes other potential funding opportunities that have not traditionally been used for this purpose. It also highlights requirements particular to this state.

Funding Opportunities

The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is accepting grant proposals for funding from Proposition 1. Priorities for this funding include projects that address sea level rise, benefit marine managed areas, support fishery infrastructure that protects ecosystems, and reduce the risk of communities to hazardous sites threatened by flooding. Find all relevant information on OPC’s Prop 1 website.

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) has initiated a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for federally recognized tribes, local governments, nonprofits and state agencies to implement FEMA approved Local Hazard Mitigation Plans.Deadline: January 30, 2018.

Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven

Meet Andrew Tom, Business Data Analyst

Four Twenty Seven is proud to announce the addition of Andrew Tom to our team. Andrew supports the business data extraction process used in analyzing climate risk for companies and financial markets.

Previously, Andrew led development of various data science projects and prototypes involving machine learning techniques, natural language processing and graph networks. He has also worked in the California State Legislature and in nonprofit leadership capacities.

Upcoming Events

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

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Lenders’ Guide for Considering Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments

Climate change poses multifaceted physical risks for infrastructure investors, affecting revenue, maintenance costs, asset value and liability. According to the New Climate Economy report, global demand for new infrastructure investment could be  over US$90 trillion between 2015 and 2017. It is becoming increasingly clear that climate change must be considered in all infrastructure investment and construction.

Four Twenty Seven, in collaboration with our partners Acclimatise and Climate Finance Advisers, published a “Lenders’ Guide for Considering Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments” to explain the ways in which physical climate risks might affect key financial aspects of prospective infrastructure investments.

Climate Change and Infrastructure

The guide begins with a discussion of climate risk, acknowledging that climate change can also open opportunities such as improving resource efficiency, building resilience and developing new products. It provides a framework for questioning how revenues, costs, and assets can be linked to potential project vulnerability arising from climate hazards.

Revenues: Climate change can cause operational disruptions that lead to a decrease in business activities and thus decreased revenue. For example, higher temperatures alter airplanes’ aerodynamic performance and lead to a need for longer runways. In the face of consistently higher temperatures, airlines may seek airports with longer runways, shifting revenue from those that cannot provide the necessary facilities.

Costs/Expenditures: Extreme weather events can cause service disruptions, but can also damage infrastructure, requiring additional unplanned repair costs. For example, storms often lead to downed power lines which disrupts services but also necessitates that companies spend time and money to return the power lines to operating conditions.

Assets: Physical climate impacts can decrease value of tangible assets by damaging infrastructure and potentially shortening its lifetime. Intangible assets can be negatively impacted by damages to brand image and reputation through repeated service disruptions.

Liabilities: Climate change is likely to pose increasing liability risk as disclosure and preparation requirements become more widespread. As infrastructure is damaged and regulations evolve, companies may face increased insurance premiums and costs associated with retrofitting infrastructure and ensuring compliance.

Capital and Financing: As expenditures increase in the face of extreme weather events, debt is also likely to increase. Likewise, as operations and revenues are impacted and asset values decrease, capital raising may become more difficult.

The guide also draws attention to the potential opportunities emerging from resilience-oriented investments in infrastructure. There are both physical and financial strategies that can be leveraged to manage climate-related risks, such as replacing copper cables with more resilient fiber-optic ones and creating larger debt service and maintenance reserves.

Climate Risks and Opportunities: Sub-Sector Snapshots

The guide includes ten illustrative “snapshots” describing climate change considerations in the example sub-industries of Gas and Oil Transport and Storage; Power Transmission and Distribution; Wind-Based Power Distribution; Telecommunications; Data Centers; Commercial Real Estate; Healthcare; and Sport and Entertainment. Each snapshot includes a description of the sub-sector, an estimation of its global potential market, examples of observed impacts on specific assets, and potential financial impacts from six climate-related hazards: temperature, sea-level rise, precipitation & flood, storms, drought and water stress.

Commercial real-estate, for example, refers to properties used only for business purposes and includes office spaces, restaurants, hotels, stores, gas stations and others. By 2030 this market is expected to exceed US $1 trillion per annum compared to $450 billion per annum in 2012. Climate impacts for this sub-sector include hazard-specific risks and also include the general risk factor of climate-driven migration which drives shifts in supply and demand in the real estate market.

As heat waves increase in frequency, people will likely seek refuge in cool public buildings, leading to increasing property values for those places such as shopping malls that provide air-conditioned spaces for community members. Increasing frequency and intensity of storms may damage commercial infrastructure, leading to recovery costs and increased insurance costs. Real estate managers may have to make additional investments in water treatment facilities to ensure the viability of their assets in regions faced with decreased water availability. An example of the financial impacts of climate change on this sub-sector can be seen in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. After the hurricane hit Texas in August 2017, approximately 27% of Houston commercial real estate was impacted by flooding and these 12,000 properties were worth about US$55 billion.

Download the Lenders’ Guide. 

For more guidance on investing for resilience, read the Planning and Investing for a Resilient California guidance document and the GARI Investor Guide to Physical Climate Risk and Resilience.