Open data and analytics initiative aims to enable better risk management and boost financing for climate solutions
San Francisco, Calif., September 1, 2020 —The Linux Foundation (LF), the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the intent to form the LF Climate Finance Foundation (LFCF), a new initiative with the goal of empowering investors, banks, insurers, companies, governments, NGOs and academia with AI-enhanced open source analytics and open data to address climate risk and opportunity. Allianz, Amazon, Microsoft and S&P Global have already committed to be founding members. The Climate Finance Foundation’s planning team includes representatives from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Ceres and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).
The signing of the Paris Climate Accord in 2015 brings both unprecedented opportunity and challenges to the global investment community. Avoiding catastrophic levels of global warming and ensuring resilience will require at least $1.2 trillion more financing of climate solutions each year. Achieving this dramatic increase in investment requires better data and analytic tools to fully account for climate-related risk and opportunity. To help with this effort, the LFCF is building the OS-Climate platform, with the goal of enabling asset owners, asset managers and banks to manage climate risk and identify the climate-aligned companies, infrastructure, capital projects and technologies that will thrive in a low-carbon economy.
The LF Climate Finance Foundation is hosting the OS-Climate platform, which is expected to consist of multiple physical and economic scenarios, a global and open Data Commons and economic and financial models that accelerate predictive analytic tools and investment products that manage climate-related risk and finance climate solutions across every geography, sector and asset class.
“There is a clear call from major pension funds, banks, governments and civil society for public access to corporate climate data and other data needed for finance to support Paris Climate Accord goals, as well as for better tools to inform financial decisions,” said Truman Semans, who has led community building to support the OS-Climate platform and to form the LF Climate Finance Foundation.
Development on technology to be incorporated into the OS-Climate platform is already underway. For example, the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) just released a beta version of its open source Finance Tool, which is being developed by OS-Climate and Ortec Finance. The LFCF community anticipates integrating the Finance Tool into the OS-Climate platform and undertaking community-based development to further build out this tool. SBTi is a joint initiative of WWF, the World Resources Institute (WRI), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and CDP.
“The cost and complexity of analytics for climate-related investments require highly organized collaboration and resource sharing across hundreds of users and contributors,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. “The LF Climate Finance Foundation will enable neutral governance, shared development costs and technical leadership from many of the world’s leading financial institutions, multilateral organizations, academia, governments and NGOs.
“The collaboration among the LF Climate Finance Foundation’s stakeholders will deliver on these data and analytics needs with more speed and innovation than any one company could achieve on its own,” said Michael Tiemann, OS-Climate Senior Technical Advisor and former President of OSI, the leading international body for open source licensing and standards..
“Since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the world has been striving to bring together the innovation and capital of the private sector with the information and influence of governments and international institutions,” said Monique Barbut, former CEO of the global environment facility and former UN undersecretary. “The LF Climate Finance Foundation can make the OS-Climate Platform a vital tool to realize this goal, and boost investment not only for addressing climate change but also for protecting biodiversity.”
Investors and banks could use the platform to analyze portfolios and individual financings and investments. Governments are expected to use it to invest in resilient infrastructure, develop effective policy and enable regulators to manage market-related climate risk. Researchers could rely on the LF Climate Finance Foundation and its open data to surface even greater insights for advancing scalable climate opportunities. Investors and NGOs could to use the platform to advocate more effectively for corporations to align with Paris Accord goals.
“Leading asset owners and asset managers around the world understand climate change not only as an environmental challenge but also as an economic and risk management issue that is central to prudent investment,” said Lionel Johnson, president of the Pacific Pension & Investment Institute. “LF Climate Finance’s OS-Climate platform can help provide the data and analytics that are essential to fulfilling fiduciary responsibilities.”
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“Allianz is committed to steering our investment portfolios to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. High quality and reliable information about all the companies in which we are invested is the raw material for all decisions. Open source analytics and open climate data is a very promising way to support the financial industry in working with the investee companies to transition to carbon neutrality,” says Claus Stickler, Managing Director and Co-lead Allianz Investment Management SE.
“To fight climate change, Amazon last year co-founded and signed The Climate Pledge – a commitment to be net zero carbon 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. We believe that more climate risk data and information will support signatories of this pledge and others in achieving the goal of becoming carbon neutral, and, at the same time, climate resilient,” said Kara Hurst, Vice President, Worldwide Sustainability, Amazon. “We are proud to be a technical lead working with the LF Climate Finance Foundation to leverage the AWS Cloud and the many Petabytes of climate-relevant data we are making available through the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative to push this project forward.”
“Climate risk is mispriced all across financial markets, and that’s blocking transition to a low carbon economy,” said Mindy Lubber, CEO of Ceres. “As Ceres found in our recent report, regulators, bank and investors urgently need open access to corporate climate-related data and better tools for scenario analysis.”
“Addressing climate issues in a meaningful way requires people and organizations to have access to data to better understand the impact of their actions. Opening up and sharing our contribution of significant and relevant sustainability data through the LF Climate Finance Foundation will help advance the financial modeling and understanding of climate change impact – an important step in affecting positive change. We’re excited to collaborate with the other founding members and hope additional organizations will join,” said Jennifer Yokoyama, Microsoft Chief IP Counsel.
“LF Climate Finance Foundation’s OS-Climate platform enables analysis of how companies would perform on standardized, financially material metrics under various climate conditions and scenarios,” said Matthew Welch, President & COO of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Foundation. “We see investor demand for this kind of standardized comparison of companies manifest in the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and in the more than 3,000 corporate signatories to the UN Principles for Responsible Investing.”
Martina Cheung, President of S&P Global Market Intelligence, said: “Businesses and investors are acknowledging the global climatic changes and its impact on the future performance of companies. There is an increasing demand from pension funds, asset managers and governments for climate related data to incorporate into their decision-making. Now more than ever, there’s a need for greater company disclosure of climate and environmental data as well as continued advancement in data and analytical tools to better assess climate risks and opportunities.”
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