Equinox is an open source platform that supports the holistic risk management and reporting of major sustainable finance projects (the financing of projects with material physical footprint) such as project finance. Equinox aims to integrate in the database a number reference databases that facilitate tasks of sustainable portfolio management. In the current focus such reference material concerns the emissions factors for various processes and activities. In the latest (Solstice Day!) update of the Equinox Project we discuss the integration of reference data an in particular greenhouse gas emissions factors as catalogued in the IPCC Emissions Factors database (EFDB).
The frontpage graphic is adapted from Steffen et al. “Planetary Boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet". Science (2015). The Planetary Boundaries concept was proposed in 2009 by this group of Earth system and environmental scientists. The group suggested that finding a “safe operating space for humanity” is a precondition for sustainable development. The framework is based on scientific evidence that human actions since the Industrial Revolution have become the main driver of global environmental change.
Bending the Curve - Sustainability as a One Dimensional Exercise The opening of the Global Scenario Group report “Bending the Curve: Toward Global Sustainability” by Paul Raskin, Gilberto Gallopin, Pablo Gutman, Al Hammond and Rob Swart, published in 1998 goes as follows: Over the last few centuries, a mere heartbeat of historic time, humanity has moved to the brink of a new evolutionary milestone - the planetary phase of civilization. The world economy is expanding and becoming more integrated, profoundly reshaping the cultural and political landscape everywhere.
9 things they do not tell you about risk management Risks don’t fall from the sky, they are generated by other people Informal Risk Management was practiced by individuals since time immemorial. This is the domain of intuitive decision-making, assessing a situation on the spot and taking immediate action to avoid obvious risks. Over aeons empirical risk management has collected a treasure of heuristics, rules of thumb and colorful Risk Management One-Liners such as: There is never only one cockroach.
Equinox is an open source platform that supports holistic risk management and reporting of Sustainable Finance (Sustainable Portfolio Management). The platform integrates geospatial information with applicable regulatory and industry standards from EBA, PCAF and Equator Principles to provide a holistic view of the footprint of both individual projects and portfolios, in particular of project finance investments. Motivation Sustainability (understood in environmental, economic and social terms) is emerging as an undisputed constraint that will shape future human activity and more specifically how the financial system facilitates and empowers economic life.
What is the future of stress testing? To speculate on the future of Stress Testing we need first a basic definition what stress testing is. Broadly speaking, the goal of Stress Testing is to assess how a system would behave under adverse conditions that - while not the most likely outcome with the knowledge of today - are within the realm of the plausible. There are, broadly speaking, two types of stress testing: The Real stress testing version and Hypothetical stress testing version.
Is the size of global debt truly “astronomical”? The notion of astronomical numbers and figures is quite frequently seeping in everyday language when large quantities of something are encountered in “normal” life. The strict definition of astronomical is obviously something of, or relating to, astronomy and astronomical observations but in common usage it also denotes something enormously or inconceivably large. This is, of course, because astronomical figures are inconceivably large!
NACE Classification and the EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy: The integration of climate risk and broader sustainability constraints into risk management is a monumental task and many tools are still lacking. Yet there is strong support and bold initiatives from policy bodies and an increasing focus from the private sector side. The EU (Sustainable Finance) Taxonomy is one such initiative of fundamental significance as it attempts to map at a granular level economic activities with respect to their climate risk mitigation or adaptation potential and create tangible metrics and thresholds to measure progress (the ultimate anti-greenwashing treatment)
Representing economic activity using pictograms: Visualization can produce significant new insights when applied to quantitative data. It is currently undergoing a renaissance that mirrors other developments in computing and data science. Sophisticated open source libraries such as d3.js or matplotlib, to name but a couple, are enabling an ever wider range of users to distill valuable information from the avalanche of data being produced. Yet when it comes to visualizing data that relate to abstract concepts it can be quite difficult to find an appropriate grammar to express the quantitative context.
Fintech, embrace your inner regulator! 2017 is shaping to be the year of #regtech, aka new technology startups setting up digital shop to help the financial services sector cope with its heavy regulatory burden. But what is regulation? Why is it a burden and how does it relate to real risks and risk management? The narratives around financial regulation have been, for some time, completely dominated by the so-called compliance perspective.
Business Model Risk - The Forgotten Risk Type: Sustainable business models that demonstrate adequate profitability over long horizons are key to a healthy market economy. This applies to firms and organizations of any size and in any sector. But how do we determine what is sustainable and how can we tell a risky business structure from a stable one? On the small-scale end of the size spectrum we have the domain of startups and SME’s.
Risk Management Skills for the Fintech Era Risk Management Skills for the Fintech Era: Financial services jobs continue being decimated. A recent (as of the initial post date) FT article was a sobering summary of the continuing transformation of the financial sector: 2015 alone has seen more than 10% reduction of the total workforce across large EU/US banks: As main drivers for this true jobs hecatomb are cited higher minimum capital requirements (that depress Return on Equity and hence require lower costs to restore it to investor acceptable levels), low interest rates that erode Profitability Margins, and a generally subdued economic landscape which reduces Volumes.
The mystery of the collapsed cathedral: You walk to the center of an old city and you see its glorious cathedral lying in ruins. What in the world has happened here? Your investigative instinct goes into overdrive. This is not supposed to happen. Not in peacetime anyway. How can it be that this magnificent edifice, after gracing the town’s central square for who knows how many centuries, is now little more than a rubble pile in the center of town?
In our personal lives, it is the balance between work and life, or the dreadful weight balance. In the professional sphere it might be the balance between debt and equity in the financial industry, or the balance between convenience and citizen privacy in the new tech industry, or the welfare of the many balanced against the property of the few, or finally the geopolitical balance of power of different peoples… Balance ensures sustainability as it helps steer away from the risks that lurk at the extremes.