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Institutional ESG Research

Browse a selection of world-class ESG research, articles and whitepapers, published by leading global institutions. All items are duly credited and, where possible, fully linked back to their source institution for easy traceability and referencing.

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28 Oct 2021
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‘Resourcing our Future’ outlines a framework to revitalise, fortify, and accelerate profitable investment in nature-based solutions. The models proposed are designed to be replicable and scalable, so as to facilitate a growing pipeline of natural capital investment opportunities, rather than isolated one-off projects.

‘Resourcing our Future’ is the product of ongoing cross-sectoral collaboration under the NEECCo umbrella (North East England Climate Coalition). The ambition is to generate a £1.5 billion portfolio of investable natural capital projects, capable of unifying economic, environmental, and social impact objectives within a coherent structure.

At the core of the proposal is a central taxonomy of template investment models which practitioners can use to align project development efforts with clearly stated investors requirements. Twinned with a project development ‘toolkit’, the taxonomy seeks to maximise the supply of investable assets to match rapidly growing demand for sustainable investment opportunities.

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2 Aug 2021

Examines key challenges faced by Chief Sustainability Officers (CSOs) in the insurance sector. Highlights the need to develop more tangible metrics that relate ESG factors to return on investment in order for CSOs to win support/buy-in from business lines. The report also highlights the need to proactively empower ESG leaders in order to remain competitive and attractive to socially conscious customers, investors and employees.

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21 Apr 2021

Swiss Re's stress test analysis finds that the world economy stands to lose around 11-14% of its total economic value by 2050 if Paris Agreement targets on climate change are not met. Economies in south and south-east Asia are most vulnerable to physical climate change risks (in particular the onset of dry conditions). These physical risks are expected to impact regional GDP. Economic transition risks are also expected to adversely impact earnings in the utilities, materials and energy sectors (potentially losing between 40-80% earnings per share).

Finally the report highlights a sharp need for more policy action on carbon pricing alongside progress in nature-based and carbon offsetting solutions.

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12 Oct 2020

Updates the GS 2019 decarbonisation cost-curve to reflect innovation across c.100 different technologies to decarbonise power, mobility, buildings. agriculture and industry. Advances 3 main conclusions: (1) low-cost de-carbonization technologies (mostly renewable power) continue to improve consistently through scale, reducing the lower half of the cost curve by 20% on average vs. our 2019 cost curve, (2) clean hydrogen emerges as the breakthrough technology in the upper half of the cost curve, lowering the cost of de-carbonizing emissions in more difficult sectors (industry, heating, heavy transport) by 30% and increasing the proportion of abatable emissions from 75% to 85% of total emissions, (3) financial innovation and a lower cost of capital for low-carbon activities have driven around one-third of renewables cost deflation since 2010, highlighting the importance of shareholder engagement in climate change, monetary stimulus and stable regulatory frameworks.

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30 Sept 2019

Reviews real-world examples of insurance-based financing models used to support natural capital, ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), and nature-based solutions (NbS) in general. While there is growing alignment between the interests of the insurance sector and natural capital investment, most projects do not yet measure the risk-reduction benefits of ecosystem adaptation and conservation. 5 central recommendations are proffered:
■ The risk industry (including underwriters & surveyors) should develop toolkits that capture, quantify and compare the cost-benefits of ecosystem adaptation/resilience.
■ Baselining & measurement of risk-reduction benefits can be facilitated on the back of existing land-use and bathymetry datasets (often already recognised in risk models).
■ Greater scale can be achieved by integrating insurance-based models with green and social-impact bonds as part of a blended approach.
■ Success is also enhanced by partnering with social-impact and public infrastructure concerns including: development banks (e.g. Germany’s KfW); special outfits such as the InsuResilience Solutions Fund (ISF), and national disaster management agencies (e.g. FEMA & NFIP in the US).
■ Grant-funding of demonstration projects is essential for continued concept development.

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26 Aug 2021

A working paper which aims to provide the first exploration of BRFR for the French financial system. The paper quantifies the dependency of financed economic activities on a list of 21 ecosystem services - finding that 42% of the market value of securities held by French financial institutions comes from issuers that are highly dependent on at least one ecosystem service. When indirect (upstream) dependencies are factored in, the paper finds that 100% of issuers are at least slightly dependent on ecosystem services throughout their value chains.

The paper also explores the impact of financed economic activities on terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity metrics to approximate a "biodiversity footprint". The analysis finds that current accumulated impacts correspond to land use changes that equate to the 'artificialisation' of 24% of the area of metropolitan France.

The paper suggests further research to (a) explore biodiversity related scenario modelling, (b) improve methodologies to capture the substitutability of ecosystem services and the non-linear patterns that their disruption could generate, and (c) development of new tools through which the alignment of financial institutions with biodiversity related targets could be assessed.

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4 Mar 2021

Presents insights from CIOs & CFOs across the Insurance sector regarding macroeconomic trends, asset allocation decisions and portfolio construction. Key ESG takeaways are: (1) ESG consideration in portfolio construction is up 4% vs previous year (driven by increased adoption in the Americas). (2) Primary motivations for ESG inclusion are current & future regulation, closely followed by internal concerns for risk mitigation. (3) Main hurdles for implementation of ESG strategy are (a) access to reliable standardised data (70%), and (b) availability of investments which are aligned with objectives (42%). (4) Third party data remains the primary source for ESG risk profiling of investment portfolios.

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