There is no longer any dispute that the unfolding climate emergency poses a significant risk to every type of global asset. In the last year alone volatility on physical impacts from climate risk has increased globally, with the Australian government reporting that severe flooding has cost $3.3 billion in damages so far in 2022; while the White House, USA, has estimated that it will cost the federal budget almost $2 trillion annually to combat physical climate risk towards the end of the century. No wonder business leaders and investors are demanding better climate risk analysis.

Within the real estate industry, conducting forward looking portfolio analyses in order to assess potential climate risk for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) has become a top priority. The key areas analyses need to address include:

–  Risk exposure today and how it will change in the future

–  Risk management around key areas of exposure

–  Portfolio trends

–  Screening investments during due diligence processes

The seriousness of the efforts within real estate to manage climate risk is reflected in the fact that the world’s largest REITs represent 8% of supporters adhering to the TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) framework. While some institutions use the GRESB real estate assessment framework to manage their climate-related risks and opportunities, TCFD has broader buy-in from regulators, policymakers, governments, asset owners and investors. It is widely considered the most effective framework to enable stakeholder assessment of businesses’ readiness for climate change and is quickly becoming best practice globally, with countries such as New Zealand, Switzerland, UK and China having announced mandated TCFD reporting, with the US and Canada expected to follow suit.

For REITS to effectively identify, assess and manage climate change without TCFD becoming another tick box exercise, firms first need to conduct best in class physical risk analysis. At Sust Global we provide the tools to enable this – by supplying dependable, satellite validated, climate science data in an easy-to-use platform called Climate Explorer. Built on top of the latest CMIP6 climate models, created by top scientists, climatologists and economists, by simply uploading your geolocation assets into Climate Explorer our clients are able to quickly identify key areas within the portfolio that are at risk to climate hazards, such as wildfire, heatwaves, sea level rise, floods, cyclones and water stress up to 2100, and under different climate scenarios. Due to the change in emission levels, it’s imperative to conduct analyses under different climate scenarios to understand what the hazard impact could look like in a 1.5 degree rise average in temperature, to a 4.5 average degree rise. Our clients are effectively managing their climate risks and operations using insights provided by the Sust platform. 

Our REIT customers are therefore able to use the TCFD framework to conduct best practice reporting, in turn strengthening their awareness, readiness and actions towards climate change within their portfolio or due diligence processes, thus satisfying the needs of investors.

If you’d like to learn more on how Sust Global can best support your climate risk analysis, find more information on our website, or get in touch at info@sustglobal.com.

A leading US bank with large agency and non-agency residential mortgage backed securities (RBMS) portfolios noticed that defaults by mortgagors within RMBS were rising due to their properties being impacted by climate events, such as wildfire, floods and cyclones. More alarming than the absolute level was the trend, which was rising rapidly. The portfolio managers were aware that this was becoming an increasing performance and fiduciary risk.

Their principal challenge was that they had no robust method to identify the probability and severity of these events over the lifetime of the mortgages across the whole of the United States – at a granular property level, and across multiple climate hazards. They also needed a solution that was scalable and dynamic across thousands of underlying properties and their mortgages, which integrated directly with their workflow.

Sust Global’s climate data analytics were able to provide transparency on climate risk across the portfolio, at the RMBS and individual mortgage level, starting with only the RMBS identifiers (such as CUSIP or ISIN). The location and value of each mortgage was extracted from the identifier via a platform integrated with Sust’s API, which returned real-time RMBS climate risk intelligence, enabling portfolio managers to conduct prospective analyses of investment opportunities as well as for portfolio risk assessments. Climate risks were quantified in terms of probability and severity across six climate hazards: wildfire, floods, hurricanes, heatwaves, water stress and sea level rise. 

To ensure that this data could be fully integrated with the existing investment process, these risks were then converted into financial loss projections, using algorithms developed using massive datasets of historic climate events and the resulting financial losses. These algorithms provide annual financial loss projections, hazard by hazard, over the life of each RMBS and the underlying mortgages.

As a result the Head of MBS Portfolios, and the portfolio managers are able to proceed with confidence and clarity in their decision making with respect to increasing climate risks – across both. In doing so they are improving their risk-adjusted returns and fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities. It also means that they are now fully compliant, if and when climate reporting legislation is introduced by the SEC.

Here’s your regular Friday edition the Sust Global Climate Coffee 🌱☕️ newsletter! This week we cover some strong opinions on the SEC climate disclosures, the environmental risks created by the Russia-Ukraine war and much more.

Let’s dive in!

CLIMATE REGULATION AND INVESTORS

Why Do Critics Claim That The SEC Has Over-Reached With Climate Risk Disclosures?
Great piece about some widespread objections to the SEC guidance and their respective counterpoints, including (1) this level of disclosure is Congress’ job, (2) the EPA is the appropriate agency for this and (3) the SEC is overreaching in the name of institutional investors and ignoring individual investors. All of the counterpoints ultimately boil down to the fact that there is huge variety in current climate disclosure reports, so the SEC guidance is warranted.

Building Global Climate-Resilience: How Governments Can Adapt And Mitigate Long-Term Climate Risks
Deloitte recently released a 2022 government trends reports revealing that governments are prioritising climate resilience. Learning lessons from COVID-19 and how that impacted the planet, operations, supply chain and every day human life, has led governments to do so. Some of the steps they are taking include: bringing climate action to their missions and understanding the impact of climate change on all levels of government; futureproofing an equity lens to infrastructure investments to protect all citizens; embedding environmental justice into agency programs; increasing data capabilities; understanding the threats and opportunities and collaborating with private sector.

CLIMATE RISK, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

War in Ukraine poses environmental risk now and in the future, advocates say
Russian forces are decimating the Ukrainian landscape, setting back vibrant ecosystems by decades. Many areas have been occupied, meaning environmental analysis and regulation has all but stopped, which is particularly worrying in the east of the country. This is home to many oil depots and nuclear power plants, and without human intervention, could easily leak toxic pollutants into the land, air and water.

This Guardian article contains 5 global charts that show how our food is not ready for climate change, mainly due to heatwaves and drought. Here’s a few highlights:

Climate change is affecting food directly: cyclones have wiped out vanilla crops in Madagascar; high temperatures in Central America ripen coffee too quickly; drought in Sub-Saharan Africa has caused withering chickpea crops and finally, rising ocean acidity is killing oysters and scallops in American waters.

At Sust Global, we can help you manage your physical climate risk exposure, so please get in contact with us if you have any questions.

Here’s a special Earth Day edition of the Sust Global Climate Coffee 🌱☕️ newsletter! This week we cover the impact of even faster fashion on the planet, the unfairness of USA FEMA policies upon homeowners facing flood risk, and new hopes to limit global warming to 2°C.

Let’s dive in! 🌍

INDUSTRY

👗 Rise of Shein Tests an Industry’s Go-Green Commitments

High street fashion companies, such as H&M and Zara, have been pressured in recent years to become more sustainable, however the rise of Shein, a Chinese fast fashion e-commerce startup which was recently valued at $100 billion, tests these green commitments. Shein’s strengths lie in the fact that they can design, produce and sell clothing within a matter of days, and this fact has not been lost on the so-called ‘TikTok generation’. Massive Shein clothing hauls are a huge trend on social media, and it’s not hard to see why – Shein often copies designer releases at a mere fraction of the price point.

The problem is the waste:

“It’s hard to define Shein’s environmental footprint at this point. But scientists have calculated that, over its lifetime, a single polyester dress releases about 17kg of CO2 into the atmosphere. Shein is selling hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of polyester dresses at a disposable price point every year. That’s going to blindside any efforts to clean up the fashion industry.”

CLIMATE RISK, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

This is a great opinion piece on how flood risk affects US homeowners and residents: it covers the tragedies that people face and the ways that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) policies have failed them. This includes the fact that development upon flood-prone areas is permissible with special permits, and when a damage does occur, flooded homes can be rebuilt in the exact same place as long as they are raised/protected in some way. This response does not work in a world where climate change is accelerating at unprecedented speeds, and storms and floods are getting worse than many predictions state. Additionally, FEMA requires that new structures in flood-prone areas must be built just above the anticipated water line (of what was once known as a 100-year flood) – the problem is that home built on floodplains today have, at the bare minimum, a 1/4 chance of being exposed to a ‘100-year flood’ over a 30-year mortgage. What was once considered an extreme, once in a century flood event, is far more common now.

Groundwater level threatens to fall in Germany due to climate change
In Germany, climate change affects groundwater resources which are expected to fall over the next few decades. The study, made by experts from Karlsruhe Institute of technology and the Federal Institue for Geosciences and Natural Resources, uses AI-based forecast models to to see how German groundwater resources would be affected during the 21st century. They also used deep learning from different groundwater datasets, and the IPCC climate scenarios. According to the experts, projections under all 3 scenarios lead to more or less strong developments with drought, falling groundwater levels and changes with water availability. The most affected parts are North and East Germany, indicating a real need for further research and analysis.

CLIMATE REGULATION AND INVESTORS

Climate Promises Put Paris Goal Within Reach If Policies Quickly Follow
According to new analysis, if the world sticks to the Paris Agreement now and makes real change, we could stick to global warming of around 2 degrees or lower. Climate stability is still riding on an if rather than a when, and this uncertainty is an extremely dangerous situation. The new studies track the impacts of 154 new and updated national commitments made in mid-November 2021, the end of COP26. The findings hinge on immediate and substantial pollution reductions to implement each country’s ambitions, including 76 long-term national goals that cover 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. New estimates also show that if everything goes right and policies are executed, we could halt warming at around 1.9°C. 

At Sust Global, we can help you manage your physical climate risk exposure, so please get in contact with us if you have any questions.

Happy Earth Day everyone! 🌍

✌️, Josh

Here’s a special Thursday edition of the Sust Global Climate Coffee 🌱☕️ newsletter! This week we cover the unprecedented rise in shareholder proposals for climate resolutions, intriguing new satellite developments by NASA which track climate change, and a massive dual heatwave at the Earth’s poles which is alarming climate scientists.

Let’s dive in!

CLIMATE REGULATION AND INVESTORS

Shareholder meeting season is upon us, and climate change is topping the list with a record number of shareholder proposals filed so far, making up 20% of resolutions. What are investors asking for? More specificity in how companies are setting climate goals: emissions from their entire value chains, detailed net-zero transition plans & alignment of carbon reduction targets with the most ambitious goal under the Paris Agreement (see graph below).

This combined with the recent SEC climate guidance shows a clear trend of greater pressure on companies. It will take a few years for the regulation dust to settle and for companies to become legally liable for their climate plans, but for now, stakeholder pressure will hopefully have the same effect.

CLIMATE RISK, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA finds two new space-based ways to track climate change
Satellite developments addressing climate change are constantly evolving, and NASA has recently launched two new space-based studies to observe climate change across the planet.

The first is a dataset from the Global Ecosystem Dyanmics Investigation mission, a high resolution lidar instrument aboard the International space station, that has estimated the total amount of above-ground forest biomass and its carbon storage capacity. The second is a satellite dataset that will develop a method of monitoring underground water loss, a serious matter for the agriculture industry.

Heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles alarm climate scientists

The Earth’s poles are facing a massive dual heatwave, with Antarctic areas reaching 40 degrees Celsius above normal temperatures and the North pole regions hitting 30 degrees Celsiis above usual levels!

This is causing alarm among climate scientists who have warned the unprecedented events could signal a faster and more abrupt climate breakdown. The Antarctic should be cooling after its summer, and the Arctic only coming out from winter as the days lengthen. However, the rapid rise in temperature is indicating that this impact could be irreversible. The danger is triggering climate change at an accelerated level, and will inevitably contribute to warming sea temperatures and sea level rise across the planet.

At Sust Global, we can help you manage your physical climate risk exposure, so please get in contact with us if you have any questions. Happy Easter everyone! 🐣

✌️, Josh