Third Adrian Fernando Memorial Lecture: 'Giving the Future a Chance'
Professor Elke U. Weber, Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, Princeton University
Monday 14th May 2018 | Third Adrian Fernando Memorial
Humans tend to focus their attention on themselves and on the here and now. But solving many social problems requires making decisions that entail immediate costs to us in return for uncertain benefits that occur much later and to distant others. Climate change is perhaps the quintessential example of such an urgent global challenge: individuals and societies must weigh up the immediate costs of reducing our business-as-usual GHG emission levels against the delayed, risky, and often disputed future benefits of climate mitigation efforts. Unfortunately, psychological theories generally predict that decision-makers will privilege the status quo in such decisions, despite its future costs, and give short shrift to the long-term benefits of GHG mitigation efforts. Professor Weber will present data for three interventions that focus people's attention on the future consequences of their actions and thus can help to enable choices that better balance short-term and long-term goals and objectives.
Sustainable Finance Foundation Course - reception
16 May 2018 | British Academy, London
The Sustainable Finance Foundation Course is running again in September 2018. The course, from the University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, is now in its third year and is intended as an introduction to sustainable finance for current and future leaders.
Those interested in joining the course, alumni, contributors, and supporters are all invited to attend a reception from 6:30pm on Wednesday 16th May 2018 at the British Academy, Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH. At the reception you'll find out more about the course, hear from recent participants, and have the opportunity to hear our plans for the future.
The course is designed for those working in a range of sectors, for example: staff at environmental NGOs who would like to help the global financial system create better environmental outcomes; policymakers and regulators working to foster the development of sustainable finance or improve the resilience of financial institutions to environmental factors; executives working in financial institutions that need an introduction to sustainability, the environment, and climate change as they relate to finance and investment; philanthropic funders looking to navigate sustainable finance topics so as to support the most impactful activities; and trustees or company directors that want to understand how sustainable finance relates to their fiduciary duties.
Climate Litigation and Liability in Commonwealth Common Law Juristiction - Report Launch and Reception
17 April 2018, 1700 - 1830 | London
To coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April 2018, the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI) is launching and publishing a series of research reports, including an actionable framework for directors to integrate climate change issues into governance practice and policy recommendations for directors' associations and financial regulators.
CCLI has been examining the legal basis for directors in Commonwealth common law countries to take account of physical climate change risk and societal responses to climate change, under prevailing statutory and common (judge-made) laws. This topic is relevant to a wide range of organisations working on or interested in climate change issues.
CCLI is a research, education, and outreach project that was launched at the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta in 2015. CCLI is led by the University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, HRH The Prince of Wales's Accounting for Sustainability Project, and ClientEarth.
Confirmed speakers at the event include: Hon. Lord Carnwath, Justice, The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UK)
- Cynthia Williams, Osler Chair in Business Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (Canada)
- Sarah Barker, Special Counsel, MinterEllison (Australia)
- Nigel Brook, Partner, Clyde & Co LLP (UK)
- Alice Garton, Company and Financial Project Leader, ClientEarth (UK/Australia)
- Ben Caldecott, Founding Director, Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme (UK)
Inaugural Conference: Northern European Partnership for Sustainable Finance (NEPSF)
6 March 2018, 0900 - 2100 | Guildhall, City of London
On Tuesday 6th March, the Northern European Partnership for Sustainable Finance (NEPSF) Inaugural Conference was held at the City of London’s Guildhall. The partnership has been established as an international collaboration designed to ensure that Northern Europe continues to be the centre of innovation in sustainable finance and investment and drives progress internationally.
The Partnership will initially involve organisations and representatives from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK, as well as representatives from relevant European institutions. It will be open to financial institutions, regulators, policymakers, civil society, researchers, and investor coalitions.
The inaugural NEPSF conference was an opportunity to see and mobilise around the latest innovations in Northern Europe as they relate to sustainable finance and investment. The conference also created opportunities to collaborate with and learn from peers working on sustainable finance and investment.
The next years 2019’s NEPSF conference will be held in Sweden by the Stockholm Finance Centre
Symposia on Directors' Liability for Climate Change Damages
Johannesburg, 16 January 2018 | Cape Town, 18 January 2018
The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI) organised two high-level symposia in South Africa on the legal basis for directors and trustees to consider, manage, and report on climate change-related risk, and the circumstances in which they may be liable for failing to do so. These events are increasingly relevant to a wide range of organisations working on or interested in climate change issues.
The first symposium was held at The Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg on Tuesday 16 January 2018. The second symposium was held at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town on Thursday 18 January 2018.
Both events saw attendance from a broad range of industry representatives, legal practitioners, auditors, consultants and members of the non-profit sector. The panelist presentations and subsequent discussions amongst attendees covered a wide range of topics and contributed to the growing awareness of the potential legal consequences of company directors’ approaches to climate change risk management and disclosure.
The symposia were fora for open dialogue providing a platform for the exchange of innovative ideas and multifaceted points of view. They revealed that South Africa is confronted with some unique challenges in how to address climate-related transition risks affecting most of its carbon intensive industry sectors and the portfolios of investors holding stakes in the latter. At the same time, the symposia also revealed numerous opportunities for more advanced collaboration and transparency between the various stakeholder groups.
The discussions and presentations reinforced the need for rapid action, as the country is particularly exposed to physical climate change risks and its legal frameworks already mandate companies to appropriately assess, manage, and disclose these risks to regulators and shareholders. Therefore inactivity on behalf of companies and investors will likely engage the liability of directors for violation of their fiduciary and competence duties.
Micro Grids for Rural Communities - case studies, optimisations and interuniversity field study proposals in Africa
28 November 2017 | Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
On Tuesday 28th November, Professor Andrea Micangeli, Sapienza University of Rome, presented his research on Microgrids for Rural Electrification to members of the SSEE. He focused on initiatives developing electrification strategies for rural communities through Mini-Grids, starting from social needs in order to optimise the technical sizing and energy related activities on site. The aim is to improve significantly the present methodologies for rural electrification.
Valuing Water for Sustainable Development
7th November 2017, | Corpus Christi College, Oxford
The high-level Oxford Forum on Valuing Water for Sustainable Development was held, along with two side events, to help establish priorities and strengthen partnerships for valuing, allocating and financing water to address global development challenges. The events hosted by Dustin Garrick, Rob Hope, Alex Money, and Jim Hall highlighted the leading issues and significant profile which the SSEE Water programme has achieved, with valuable contribution from Prof. David Grey. The Forum managed to attract key global leaders and partnerships with WWF, TNC, OECD, Governments (Bangladesh & The Netherlands), UN, The World Bank, Forum of Federations, UNICEF and leading stakeholders, helping to launch work that will accelerate in 2018. A series of video interviews were gathered from the key particpants.
International launch of the Clean Growth Strategy
16th November 2017, 1645 - 1745 | UK Pavilion, Bonn
Dr Ben Caldecott, Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme, spoke alongside Claire Perry MP, Minister of State for Climate and Industry, at the International launch of the Clean Growth Strategy, the articulation of the UK's next steps in reducing emissions from across the economy while driving growth, at COP23 in Bonn.
Enterprise and the Environment Summer School
9-21 July 2017
Aimed mainly at current university students and recent graduates, the Summer School combines our strengths in environmental economics and policy, enterprise management, and financial markets and investment to study critical global environmental challenges in the 21st century. We'll be exploring the value of the environment is to enterprise, and asking: can enterprise save the environment?
15th International Conference on Pensions, Insurance and Savings
23-24 May 2017 | University Paris Dauphine, Paris, France
We are pleased to announce the 15th International Conference on Pensions, Insurance and Savings, organized jointly with Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University, the 23rd-24th, May 2017, at the University Paris Dauphine (Paris, France). The deadline for submission is 27th March, 2017.
For further information, please visit the website of the conference.
NGOs, research and smart waterpumps
9 May 2017 | The Oxford Launchpad, Saïd Business School, Oxford
Alex Fischer & Heloise Greeff, Part of the Skoll Centre's Research for Action Seminar Series
Since 2010, the Smith School has collaborated with Engineering Sciences in a programme of impact research and implementation designing and testing mobile technologies to improve water resource management and water service delivery. The work has included the design and successful launch of Smart Handpumps and Wireless Water to model water payment behaviours to improve urban utility financial performance. Partners from leading mobile technology companies and urban water utilities are joined by UNICEF and the UN International Telecommunications Union, which leads an inter-governmental 'smart water management' group on which Dr Hope is vice Chair. Registration required
6th Stranded Assets Forum: From disclosure to data - towards a new consensus for the future of measuring environmental risk and opportunity
6 & 7 April 2017 | Waddesdon Manor | Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH
This high-level forum will explore developments in the way that investors measure company and asset-level exposure to environmental risk and opportunity. New datasets, new analysis of existing data, and new approaches and methodologies (including advanced analytics, 'big data', and remote sensing) could all give financial institutions important information on the environmental performance of their investments.
For further information, please see the Sustainable Finance Programme events webpage.
'Environmental Policy in the Trump Era' - Second Adrian Fernando Memorial Lecture
27 April 2017 | Halford Mackinder Lecture Theatre, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford
In honouring Adrian Fernando, the goal of this Lecture Series, made possible through the generosity of friends and supporters, is to foster discussion of the role of business and economics in solving the world's environmental challenges. This annual lecture commemorates the contribution of Adrian Fernando. He was the COO of EcoSecurities Group plc, a company conceived to tackle climate change based on the idea of using market mechanisms to properly price the environment. EcoSecurities developed more than 400 greenhouse gas emission reduction projects in 36 countries, representing approximately 10% of all projects approved by the United Nations under the Kyoto Protocol's market based mechanisms. EcoSecurities' largest office was in Oxford, from where Adrian led a team addressing climate change through the use of economic tools and business solutions, demonstrating that the environment is a valuable asset deserving of a market price that reflects its scarcity and its long term value.
The lecture will be presented by William K Reilly, a leading Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George H. W. Bush. Throughout his illustrious career, he served as president of World Wildlife Fund, as a founder or advisor to several business ventures, and on many boards of directors. In 2010, he was appointed by President Barack Obama co-chair of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling to investigate the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This annual lecture, made possible by generosity of friends and supporters, commemorates the contribution of Adrian Fernando, COO of EcoSecurities Group plc, a company conceived to tackle climate change based on the idea of using market mechanisms to properly price the environment. Halford Mackinder Lecture Theatre, SoGE, Oxford. Booking required.
Stranded Coal-fired Power Assets in China: Risks for Investors and Implications for Policymakers Closed Door Workshop
Tuesday 28 February 2017 | Fairmont Hotel, Beijing
The University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, together with the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and North China Electric Power University (NCEPU), are organising a workshop on stranded coal-fired power assets in China and what this means for investors, policymakers, and regulators. This closed door workshop will take place on Tuesday 28 February from 0930 to 1645 at the Fairmont Hotel in Beijing. View the draft agenda.
At the workshop new research from a University of Oxford-led project on stranded coal-fired power assets in China will be launched and discussed. The research examines three important topics. The first is the environment-related risks that could strand coal-fired assets in China. New research and analysis designed to help financial institutions manage these risks will be made available. The second is the political economy and 'just transition' challenges that may need to managed as a result of the premature closure of coal assets in China. New analysis of where and when this might be most pressing will be presented, together with possible recommendations based on international experience. The third topic is how power market reforms could improve the efficiency and efficacy of the low carbon transition.
If you would like to apply for attendance, please contact email@example.com
Philanthropy and Climate Change
Smith Celebration | 7th February 2017 | Weston Theatre, University of Oxford
Since its founding by Sir Martin and Lady Smith in 2008, the SSEE has gone from strength to strength in its goal to address global challenges at the nexus between enterprise and the environment. On 7th February, a celebration of the Smith benefaction featured a keynote lecture 'Philanthropy and Climate Change', by Professor Larry Kramer, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Professor Kramer's lecture, a visionary leader in the world of philanthropy, is one way that the SSEE continues to promote the role of enterprise in environmental stewardship. Professor Kramer's reflections on how philanthropic organisations such as the Hewlett Foundation are able to work together with institutions like the University of Oxford in tackling our most pressing environmental issues, including climate change, were inspirational and left a great deal for contemplation. Please click here to view Prof Kramer's talk and click here to access the photographs of the celebration.
Further information on Prof Kramer's contribution to this topic can be accessed through the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation website.
Stranded Assets Forum Tokyo
31 January 2017 | Tokyo, Japan
The University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, with Bloomberg LP acting as host, is organising a private high-level forum on stranded assets and the future of sustainable finance. This will take place on 31st January 2017 in Tokyo and follows on from six equivalent forums organised by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The forum will bring together a small number of senior practitioners from key groups throughout the investment chain, as well as leading researchers and policymakers. Invitations are personal and non-transferable, there is no fee for attendance, and there will be no more than 70 high-level attendees.
The Paris Agreement coming into force, major developments in clean technology, changing interpretations of fiduciary duty, and parallel developments in company and investor disclosure mean that factors related to the environment are becoming ever more material and could reshape the risk and return profile of investments in key sectors around the world.
Our inaugural forum in Japan will examine the major developments in stranded assets and sustainable finance-related topics and look at their possible implications for Japanese financial institutions and financial regulators. There will also be a session discussing the work of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
By Invitation only
Enterprise and the Environment DTP Course
16-27 January 2017 | University of Oxford
The Smith School's Enterprise and the Environment Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) course is funded through the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Environmental Research. This two-week intensive programme draws on from the SSEE's strengths in environmental economics and policy, enterprise management, and financial markets and investment. We will explore how we study critical global environmental challenges in the 21st century through the combination of rigorous science and diverse stakeholder engagement.
For further information, please see the course flyer.
Water, the economy and sustainable development: a high-level panel with the World Bank
17 January 2017 | Main Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School, Oxford
An opening presentation by Dr Richard Damania of the World Bank will be followed by a set of two moderated panels. The event convenes leading experts from the World Bank, Oxford, Australian National University and UK Department for International Development. Main Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School, Oxford.
Addressing climate related risks of energy investments | Energy Policy after the Paris Climate Agreement: G20 Workshop
13th December 2016 | Old Town Hall, Munich, Germany
Ben Caldecott, Director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the Oxford Smith School, is speaking on the topic of the 'Risk exposure of current and future energy assets in a transition to a well-below-2°C-world' at a G20 Workshop in the margins of the meetings of the G20 Sustainability Working Group, the Energy Sustainability Working Group and the Climate Sustainability Working Group. The workshop is organised by the German Federal Government.
Assessing and Managing Climate-related Financial Risks: the Frontier of Knowledge
16th December 2016 | Université Paris-Dauphine, Amphithéâtre Raymond Aron, Paris, France
Ben Caldecott, Director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the Oxford Smith School, is speaking on transition risk at an event organised by Banque de France, Institut Louis Bachelier, and Trésor Direction Générale. The workshop brings together climate specialists, climate and financial economists, financiers and policymakers to examine key questions regarding climate related financial risk assessment and management.
Moving To Impact: Responsible Investing in Canada
19-20 October 2016 | Carleton University, Ontario, Canada
Key leaders on responsible and impact investing in Canada and around the world gather in Ottawa for an important policy conference to be held during the Canadian Responsible Investment Week. Prof Gordon L Clark, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, is a keynote speaker.
Allianz - Oxford Pensions Conference 2016: Reshaping Pension Solutions in an Uncertain World
Invited Conference, 29-30 September 2016, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford
The Allianz-Oxford Pensions Conference is co-sponsored by Allianz Global Investors and the University of Oxford, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, a member of the School of Geography and the Environment. The conference will be led by Professor Gordon L. Clark, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.
Risks to global financial stability have increased. With the sustainability of the economic recovery in the United States in question, uncertainty about China's prospects, disputes over the consequences of the global wealth redistribution triggered by the collapse of oil prices, and geopolitics in turmoil - the list of risk factors is long.
At this year's Allianz-Oxford Pensions Conference we will hear expert commentary on, and critically discuss, the consequences of these risks for pension funds and identify opportunities. We will explore investment prospects in an uncertain global economy and present best-practice strategies for pension fund sponsors.
Oxford Smith School - John Ellerman Foundation Sustainable Finance Course 2016/17
September 2016 - May 2017, Residential Workshop: 19th - 22nd September 2016
The course is designed for mid- to senior-level leaders in UK-based environmental NGOs who would like to develop their understanding of and investment, so as to aid the transition towards global economic and financial systems that deliver better environmental outcomes.
2016 Oxford Adaptation Academy
14-26 August 2016
Climate change threatens to reverse decades of development efforts and investment. Collective action must support countries, organisations and communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Professionals are facing increasing demands to raise their knowledge and skills needed to address the profound and new challenges they face and to grasp opportunities to build more resilient economies.
Enterprise and the Environment Summer School
11-22 July 2016
Aimed mainly at current university students and recent graduates, the Summer School combines our strengths in environmental economics and policy, enterprise management, and financial markets and investment to study critical global environmental challenges in the 21st century. We'll be exploring the value of the environment is to enterprise, and asking: can enterprise save the environment?
Sustainable Finance Programme Garden Party
7 July 2016 | Oriel College, Oxford
The Sustainable Finance Programme (formerly the Stranded Assets Programme) will be holding a summer garden party on the 7th of July at Oriel College, Oxford. Members of the Oxford community and practitioners with an interest of getting more involved in our work are very welcome to attend. To register please RSVP with firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridging the Infrastructure Gap: Global Integration and the "One Belt One Road" Initiative - Oxford Global Infrastructure Conference 2016
1 July 2016 | The Examination School, Oxford
The OXIIC Global Infrastructure Conference 2016 featured a series of insightful keynotes and interactive discussions from leading thinkers across academia, international organisations, government, business and the investment industry to explore the following thematic areas: How can policy coordination for global integration and cross-border infrastructure finance and development be enhanced? How can cooperative mechanisms for the development of cross-border infrastructure and multinational business be built? How can cross-border infrastructure investment for long-term sustainable growth best be fostered and safeguarded? For more information please see: the conference website
King coal in decline: long live the king!
1pm-2.30pm, Friday 1 July 2016 | E W Gilbert Room, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
Speaker: Dr Adam Lucas, Science and Technology Studies, University of Wollongong
Despite a global collapse in the international prices for thermal and metallurgical coal, declining coal exports to Australia's traditional export destinations, and strong signs from India and China that export growth to these markets will not continue, Australian governments at the state and federal level continue to act and behave as though the Australian coal industry has a bright future. Government optimism regarding the future of Australian coal has recently translated into state and federal approval for the Adani megamine project in Queensland's Galilee Basin, even though the project is not considered financially viable by commercial banks, more than a dozen of which have refused to underwrite it to date.
Unperturbed by market signals, the Australian and Indian finance ministers held discussions in March with the current director of Australia's sovereign wealth fund to provide a key source of finance for the project. This is in the context of more than one-third of Australian coal mines and half of thermal coal mines running at a loss, and well over 15,000 job losses at coal mines across Australia over the last three years. Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank are describing thermal coal as in structural decline, implying that any move by the Australian Government to underwrite the Adani project would be criminally incompetent. In the same month that these negotiations took place, the Indian energy minister announced that he intends to stop all coal imports within two to three years, and that solar energy in India is now cheaper than new-build coal.
Australia's political elites appear to remain convinced that there is a bright future for coal, and that the future is Adani. This paper provides an update on the state of the coal industry in Australia subsequent to the publication of the author's recent article in Energy Research and Social Science, 'Stranded assets, externalities and carbon risk in the Australian coal industry: the case for contraction in a carbon-constrained world' (2016). It details recent developments in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia, and how several other controversies have recently emerged in relation to the industry which have placed further pressure on governments to rethink their ongoing commitment to coal.
Organiser: Daniel Tulloch, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
Business & Climate Summit 2016
28-29 June 2016 | Guildhall, London
Ben Caldecott, Director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the Oxford Smith School, will be giving a keynote speech on environmental risk and disclosure at the Business & Climate Summit taking place at the Guildhall on 28th and 29th June 2016. For more details see here
Behind the climate curve: Why are leading finance journals so quiet on climate change?
1pm-2.30pm, Wednesday 29 June 2016 | E W Gilbert Room, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
Speaker: Dr Ivan Diaz-Rainey, Department of Accountancy & Finance, University of Otago (New Zealand)
The nexus between finance and climate change has over the last few years become a major policy issue. Further, a growing number of finance practitioners are engaging with the financial opportunities (financing renewables, green bonds etc.) and risks ('stranded assets', carbon bubble etc.) of climate change. However, the contents page of leading academic finance journals are suggestive that climate change does not have financial implications. In this short note we formally explore whether leading finance journals are engaging with the issues of climate finance and if not whether this is an issue specific to the discipline or an issue in business research more generally. Using established rankings of finance and business journals we undertake a content analysis of journal article coverage of climate and climate finance topics over the period Jan 1998 to April 2015. We find that the three 'elite' (first tier) finance journal have not engaged with climate issues at all. However, elite journals from management and marketing have also not engaged with climate issues. By ways of contrast elite journals from the accounting, economics, international business, and operations research have engaged with climate topics, though in some cases this is down to a single journal (in the case of economics it was the American Economic Review). We next explore the second tier finance journals and find that seven out of eighteen have published climate finance research but in only one case was this more than one paper (Journal of Banking and Finance). Further, the preponderance of the research has focused on carbon markets and not the broader issues of climate finance. We conclude by exploring the possible reasons why finance research is 'behind the climate curve' and what might be done to alleviate the situation.
Organiser: Daniel Tulloch, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
International Symposium on Directors' Liability for Climate Change Damages
10am-6pm, Wednesday 8 June 2016 | Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford
The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI) has the pleasure of inviting to you to the first of three high-level international symposia on the legal exposures of company directors for climate change damages. The first symposium will be help at Lady Margaret Hall, a college within the University of Oxford, on the 8th June 2016. Each symposium will facilitate a cross-institutional and cross-jurisdictional exchange of legal thought leadership on director liability risks relevant to plaintiff and defence lawyers, regulators, investors, accountants, and insurers.
It is now clear that climate change presents material - if not unparalleled - economic risks and opportunities. The Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority and others have recently warned of the potential liability exposure of company directors for i) their company's contribution to anthropogenic climate change, ii) a failure to adequately manage the risks associated with climate change, and iii) inaccurate disclosure or reporting of these factors. These emerging exposures have implications for corporate governance in climate-risk exposed industries (from financial services to mining, infrastructure, agriculture, and beyond), and for the insurance sector (in terms of professional indemnity and directors' and officers' insurance). Despite these risks, there remains little in-depth analysis of how prevailing corporate governance laws and fiduciary duties facilitate - or constrain - the actions of company directors confronted with complex climate change challenges.
In light of this and related developments, CCLI has been established as a research, education, and outreach project by the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, HRH The Prince of Wales's Accounting for Sustainability Project, and ClientEarth. CCLI is focused on four Commonwealth countries (Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom) and is examining the legal basis for directors in common law countries to take account of physical climate change risk and societal responses to climate change, under prevailing statutory and common (judge-made) laws.
In partnership with ClientEarth and The Prince of Wales' Accounting for Sustainability Project.
Download agenda here.
In pictures: University of Oxford hosts inaugural CCLI conference
Senior Investor Climate Roundtable
0800 - 0930 | 24th May 2016 | Schroders, 31 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7QA
Andrew Bailey (Deputy Governor of the Bank of England) and Ben Caldecott (Director, Sustainable Finance Programme, Oxford Smith School) both spoke at a roundtable co-organised by the Oxford Smith School, Meteos, and the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System held at Schroders. Attendees included: Chris Cheetham , Chief Investment Officer, HSBC; Charles French, Head of Investment, Newton Investment Management Ltd; Peter Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, Schroders Asset Management; Dominic Rossi, Chief Investment Officer, Fidelity; Michael Sheren, Senior Advisor, Bank of England; Hendrik du Toit, Chief Executive Officer, Investec; and Mark Zinkula, Chief Executive Officer, LGIM.
Adrian Fernando Memorial Lecture 2016
Wednesday 11 May 2016 | 4:00 - 6:00 pm, School of Geography and the Environment
Please join us for the inaugural lecture at the University of Oxford in memory of Adrian Fernando. In honouring Adrian Fernando, the goal of this Lecture Series, made possible through the generosity of friends and supporters, is to foster discussion of the role of business and economics in solving the world's environmental challenges. This annual lecture commemorates the contribution of Adrian Fernando. He was the COO of EcoSecurities Group plc, a company conceived to tackle climate change based on the idea of using market mechanisms to properly price the environment. EcoSecurities developed more than 400 greenhouse gas emission reduction projects in 36 countries, representing approximately 10% of all projects approved by the United Nations under the Kyoto Protocol's market based mechanisms. EcoSecurities' largest office was in Oxford, from where Adrian led a team addressing climate change through the use of economic tools and business solutions, demonstrating that the environment is a valuable asset deserving of a market price that reflects its scarcity and its long term value.
This first lecture will be presented by Robert Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, Director of Graduate Studies for the Doctoral Program in Public Policy and the Doctoral Program in Political Economy and Government, Co-Chair of the Harvard Business School-Kennedy School Joint Degree Programs, and Director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements.
UBS-Smith School Essay Competition 2016
9 May 2015 | Beckit Room | OUCE | South Parks Road | Oxford | OX1 3QY
In partnership with UBS, the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment invites you to participate in the third annual essay competition. Apply your knowledge and creativity. Be rewarded with a chance to win £1,000.
We welcome your participation if you are a graduate student enrolled at the University of Oxford who is keen to explore some of the major environmental issues and challenges facing the world's economies and people.
Climate Change and the Insurance Industry
5-6.30pm, Wednesday 4 May 2016 | E W Gilbert Room, School of Geography and the Environment, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY
Speaker: John Scott, Chief Risk Officer, Zurich Global Corporate
Chair: Ben Caldecott, Director, Sustainable Finance Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.
The Chief Risk Officer of Zurich, John Scott, is coming to Oxford to give a talk on how physical climate change impacts and societal responses to climate change might impact the global insurance industry. This issue has gained significant prominence since the Bank of England published its report on the impact of climate change on the UK insurance sector in September 2015. Since then, the Paris Agreement and the new Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, chaired by Michael Bloomberg, have helped to spur a growing recognition of how climate change might affect different parts of the global financial system, particularly insurance groups in their twin capacity as institutional investor and agent of risk transfer.
John Scott is Chief Risk Officer for Zurich Global Corporate. He joined Zurich in 2001 becoming Head of Risk Insight in 2007 and took on his current role in 2009. John leads the global, regional and local implementation of the Group's enterprise risk management strategy across Zurich's Global Corporate business. A graduate of Oxford University, with a PhD in geology from Aberystwyth University, John's early career was in the upstream oil & gas industry, where he gained wide-ranging international experience with BP. In 1995 he gained his MBA at Cranfield and joined BOC, working in Group Strategy & Planning team and then helping to develop BOC's fast-growing Edwards business division.
SEMINAR SERIES: Paris and Beyond - Pragmatic Climate Policy
Hilary Term weeks 1-8 | Wednesdays 5-6:15pm | Beckit Room | OUCE | South Parks Rd | Oxford | Ox1 3QY
Following the agreement between Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping on carbon caps, the focus of climate change negotiations is focussed on the Paris Conference of the Parties in December 2015. This seminar series looks at the big issues at Paris, the chances of success, the possible shape of an agreement, whether it will have much impact, what the alternative approaches are, and what lies beyond in technology and climate change policy.
Convenors: Prof Dieter Helm | Prof Cameron Hepburn | Prof Robert Hahn
The Future of Coal: Implications for Public Policy and Investors
12.30, Wednesday 30 March 2016 | Shriram 108, Global Projects Center
Speaker: Ben Caldecott, Director, Stranded Assets Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford
In November 2015, the United Kingdom announced its intention to phase out unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025. In December, negotiators at COP 21 in Paris reached an international deal to limit climate change which will require a global transition away from fossil fuels. In this seminar, Ben Caldecott will discuss why a post-Paris, international framework for phasing out coal is necessary and will suggest a number of national and international policy mechanisms that could achieve this. He will additionally outline the implications of climate and environment policy for investors in coal assets based on recent research at the Oxford Smith School.
Ben Caldecott is Director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. The Sustainable Finance Programme incorporates and builds on the Stranded Assets Programme that he founded in 2012. He is concurrently an Adviser to The Prince of Wales's Accounting for Sustainability Project and an Academic Visitor at the Bank of England. Ben specializes in environment, energy, and sustainability issues and works at the intersection between finance, government, civil society, and academe, having held senior roles in each domain.
University of Oxford, Risky Business, and Ceres event in San Francisco
9.30-12.30, Tuesday 29 March 2016 | The University Club of San Francisco, 800 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
Speakers: Dave Jones, California's Insurance Commissioner, and Ben Caldecott, Director, Stranded Assets Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford
The University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, in partnership with Risky Business and Ceres, has the pleasure of inviting you to an event in San Francisco on Tuesday 29th March 2016 on the future of measuring exposure to environmental risk and opportunity in investment portfolios.
In February 2016 the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) - which is responsible for macro-prudential oversight across the European Union - joined the Bank of England and the G20 Financial Stability Board (FSB) in highlighting how a late and abrupt transition to a low carbon economy could have implications for financial stability. While the ESRB emphasised the need to pre-emptively manage 'stranded asset' risk in financial institutions and throughout the financial system as a whole, without better data availability this will be extremely challenging. Correcting this major gap is now an urgent priority.
In parallel, the new Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), established in December 2015 by Mark Carney as Chair of the FSB and chaired by Michael Bloomberg, has been created to make recommendations on these issues by the end of 2016. These will have a very significant role in ensuring that different users of data have what they need to manage the risks recently identified by the ESRB, Bank of England, FSB, and others.
The event will explore the opportunities to transform the way investors measure company exposure to environmental risk and opportunity. Advanced analytics, 'big data', and remote sensing could give asset managers and asset owners, as well as regulators and civil society, critically important information on environmental performance currently missing from existing corporate-level voluntary reporting. The aim of the event is to develop a view on how these new approaches could support the objectives of the TCFD and what new research could be done in these areas.
View agenda | View Ben Caldecott's presentation: The Future of Measuring Environmental Risk and Opportunity in Investment Portfolios
By Invitation only
Safer Cities for the Future
5pm, Thursday 17 March 2016 | H O Beckit Room, School of Geography and the Environment
Dr Allan Bonner will be discussing his new book Safer Cities of The Future, a ten-year study of emergency planning and policy. Dr Bonner's book shows that emergency plans may be responsible for more deaths than the crisis they mean to address. Many are so old they violate the law. Most rely on private cars for evacuation when up to 50% of urbanites don't own a car. Some reference help, appendices and documents that don't actually exist. The lack of common terms and approaches is as dangerous as the emergency radios on which responders can't communicate with each other. Most plans are dense and difficult to interpret.
But there's some good news. This book commends the cities which have tackled the issues of climate change, evacuation, special needs citizens, pets, and other challenges with no nonsense. This is a wake-up call for other cities. This book also contains ideas about how to make cities safer through urban design, new building materials, and through the lens of Utopian planning.
Sino-UK sustainable low carbon transition seminar
17th March 2016 | Xi Kang Hotel | Nanjing, China
Ben Caldecott, Director of Sustainable Finance Programme, gave a keynote talk at a conference organised by the Jiangsu Information Centre, Jiangsu Development and Reform Commission, and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office for policymakers in Jiangsu Province on climate change, energy, and sustainability topics. This is the second capacity building event in Jiangsu and follows a high-level visit from Jiangsu to Oxford in October 2015.
Public Private Partnerships and the low carbon transition - exchange between UK and Chinese experts
16th March 2016 | JunHe Offices | Beijing, China
Ben Caldecott, Director of Sustainable Finance Programme, gave a talk and participated in an exchange between UK and Chinese experts on the opportunities and challenges of public private partnerships, particularly in the context of the low carbon transition.
Stranded Assets and Thermal Coal: An Analysis of Environment-Related Risk Exposure
8pm, Tuesday 15 March 2016 | Media Cafe, New Street Courtyard Bldg 8A, West Side, 2nd Floor, Chaoyang Road, Beijing, China
Ben Caldecott, Director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, will be speaking on his recently published research on Stranded Assets and Thermal Coal at an event organised by the Beijing Energy Network.
Diesel Deception - the Volkswagen emission scandal and its aftermath
4-6pm, Friday 11 March 2016 | Halford Mackinder Lecture Theatre, School of Geography and the Environment
A panel discussion including Ben Caldecott, Director, Stranded Assets Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford
The Future of Coal: Implications for Public Policy and Investors
12.45pm, Friday 4 March 2016 | The Institute of International and European Affairs
Speaker: Ben Caldecott, Director, Stranded Assets Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford
In November 2015, the UK announced their intention to phase out unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025. In December, negotiators at COP 21 in Paris reached an international deal to limit climate change which will require a global transition away from fossil fuels. In this address, Ben Caldecott will argue that in a post-Paris world an international framework for phasing out coal is necessary and will suggest a number of national and international policy mechanisms that could achieve this. He will then outline the implications of climate and environment policy for investors in coal assets.
Ben Caldecott is Director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. The Sustainable Finance Programme incorporates and builds on the Stranded Assets Programme that he founded in 2012. He is concurrently an Adviser to The Prince of Wales's Accounting for Sustainability Project and an Academic Visitor at the Bank of England. Prior to joining the Oxford Smith School he was Head of Policy at investment bank Climate Change Capital. Mr. Caldecott has previously worked as Research Director for Environment and Energy at the think tank Policy Exchange, as Head of Government Advisory at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, as a Deputy Director in the Strategy Directorate of the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change, and as Sherpa to the UK Green Investment Bank Commission.
By Invitation only
The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the post-Paris landscape
5-6.30pm, Monday 29 February 2016 | Beckit Room, SoGE, South Parks Road, OX1 3QY
Speaker: Philippe Benoit, Head, Energy Environment Division, International Energy Agency
Chair: Ben Caldecott, Director, Stranded Assets Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford
Going into and coming out of Paris, energy sector emissions remain at the center of the climate change challenge. From greater ambition, to longer timeframes, to increasing innovation, to an expanding membership, various new factors are simultaneously driving greater prospects for success and expanding the potential for disappointment. Philippe Benoit, Head of the IEA's Energy Environment Division, will present on various IEA strategies and analyses to support decarbonisation, and insights into how the IEA is adapting to changes in the landscape coming out of Paris.
Philippe Benoit is the Head of the IEA's Energy Environment Division that is responsible for analysing an array of climate change related issues, including policies to incentivize decarbonisation, analysing the impact of the COP negotiations on the energy sector and vice versa, the use of market mechanisms and other non-pricing drivers, exploiting synergies between mitigation and air quality and other non-climate objectives, and energy sector resilience issues. Mr Benoit previously was the Head of the Energy Efficiency Division at the IEA that analysed the role of energy productivity in supporting growth and decarbonization. Mr. Benoit has represented the IEA at the last five COPs. Mr. Benoit previously served as the Energy Sector Manager for the Latin America and Caribbean Region of the World Bank. Mr. Benoit has also worked in the private sector, both as an investment banker and a corporate lawyer specializing in energy project financings. He has a BA in Economics and Political Science, magna cum laude, from Yale University and a JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School.
COP21 Paris- Next Steps
Friday 19 February 2016 | 1:00 - 3:00 pm, School of Geography and the Environment
This panel discussion led by Professors Cameron Hepburn, Myles Allen and Gordon Clark will focus on the implications of Paris for investors and the financial community, drawing on research from the Oxford Martin Net Zero Carbon Investment Initiative, the Smith School Stranded Assets programme, and INET Economics of Sustainability research on carbon-related infrastructure investment.
Smith School Business Fellows Event
Thursday, 4 February 2016 | 4.45 - 6.30pm, Saïd Business School
Interested in a career in sustainability? Meet leaders from Accenture, Diageo, M&S, Mars, Newton, PwC, SABMiller, Shell, UBS, Xynteo and others at a Careers Workshop, hosted by the Business Fellows Programme. Talk to leading practitioners about your career prospects in the field of sustainability. The workshop will be preceded by discussions on the circular economy with bestselling author Peter Lacy of Accenture; and on responsible business with Andy Wales, Corporate Affairs Director of SABMiller.
For more information about the Business Fellows, visit the Business Fellows Programme webpage.
Water Security Conference 2015
9-11 December 2015 | Oxford Martin School and St Catherine's College | Oxford
Water security has rapidly emerged as a defining global and local challenge to promote economic growth, human development and resource sustainability. Achieving and maintaining water security requires balancing often competing goals in an increasingly complex landscape of demographic, climatic, environmental, political, economic and social change.
This three-day conference convenes leading global thinkers and practitioners from government, enterprise, civil society and academia to advance and debate risk-based analysis of water security.
The conference will: discuss how a risk-based framework charts pathways to sustainable growth and reduce poverty; review the state of water security knowledge in Africa and South Asia; help build a global science-practitioner partnership to design new approaches to sustainably deliver water security for millions of poor people.
Natural capital - sustaining economic growth
25 November 2015 | 5:00pm | Gottmann Room | OUCE | Oxford | OX1 3QY
Speaker: Professor Dieter Helm, CBE
Alongside global warming, the destruction of the world's biodiversity and natural capital threatens to undermine economic growth. Another 3 billion people and a world economy some 16 times bigger by 2100 threatens environmental destruction on a scale which would make the twentieth century look positively benign. On current policies, natural capital - those assets nature gives us for free - will be massively depleted and undermine economies. To put growth on a sustainable basis requires that natural assets are taken seriously - in national and corporate accounts, on balance sheets, and by providing compensation for damage, pollution taxes and a nature fund. This lecture sets out how to do this, how to start restoring natural capital, and why it is necessary for sustainable economic growth.
About the Speaker: Prof Dieter Helm is a Professorial Research Fellow at the Smith School, Fellow in Economics, New College and Professor of Energy Policy, University of Oxford. Dieter holds a number of advisory board appointments in Britain and Europe. Current appointments include: Independent Chair of the Natural Capital Committee, and member of the Economics Advisory Group to the UK Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change. During 2011, Dieter assisted the European Commission in preparing the Energy Roadmap 2050, serving both as a special advisor to the European Commissioner for Energy and as Chairman of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on the Roadmap. He also assisted the Polish government in their presidency of the European Union Council.
Open to all - No registration required.
Debate: This House Believes Time and Space are the Enemies of Business Sustainability
23 November 2015 | 4:30-6:00pm | Halford Mackinder Lecture Theatre | OUCE | Oxford | OX1 3QY
Post-Debate Drinks | 6pm | J Gottmann Room
This session will host an excellent group of speakers from business, sustainable finance, and policy, for a fun and engaging debate of the motion "This House Believes Time and Space are the Enemies of Business Sustainability".
The speakers are:
- Peter Lacy, Global MD, Accenture
- J. B. Bentham, Scenarios Leader, Shell
- Jamie Butterworth, Partner, Circularity Capital
- Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of Trustees, ShareAction
- Leo Johnson, Author
This event is open to all students and staff and we encourage audience participation - join us to practice your debate skills and put your questions to the speakers!
Roundtable on coal-to-liquids, coal-to-gas, and underground coal gasification
10 November 2015 | 12:00-2:30pm | Smith Centre - Science Museum | South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD
The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment would like to invite interested parties to a roundtable discussion involving researchers, practitioners, and policymakers on the state of coal-to-liquids (CTL), coal-to-gas (CTG), and underground coal gasification (UCG) globally.
There is renewed interest in some of these technologies in certain jurisdictions and as part of a research project we are undertaking we are keen to better understand the potential environment-related risks facing these technology families, exposure to companies, and the information financial institutions may need to understand these risks.
Open to all. To confirm your place, please RSVP to Angela Sidaway by 2 November 2015.
Can Resource Prosperity be Shared?
27 October 2015 | 5pm | Weston Library | Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BG
Consistently delivering shared prosperity and sustainable growth from resource extraction remains elusive. Central governments, multi - national corporations, NGOs and local communities all over the world have considerable hopes, expectations, and fears about the immediate and long-term consequences of mining, gas, and oil in their regions. Discussed as the resource curse, social investment, national development, and more - the extractives industries hold a particularly large share of the hopes for facilitating economic transformation and the responsibilities of protecting environmental sustainability. Sharing resource prosperity is not only about managing the revenues of major extractive projects, but also managing the impacts and opportunities in the larger social and environmental systems from which they draw resources such as water and labour.
This project asks key questions such as the following which will be discussed with the panel:
- How can social investments achieve and sustain impacts at scale?
- Can we reduce groundwater risks for growth and development?
4th Stranded Assets Forum: Environment-Related Risks and the Future of Prudential Regulation and Financial Conduct
23 October 2015 | Waddesdon Manor | Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH
There is a large and growing literature on how environment-related risk factors resulting in stranded assets are material to companies, financial institutions, and policy makers. There are recent examples of how these factors have impacted macroeconomic stability, such as the Arab Spring and the 2011 floods in Thailand. Looking ahead there are numerous plausible scenarios where environment-related risks, including physical climate change impacts and societal responses to climate change, materialise in a way that could impact financial stability.
Recognising this, in Q1 2015 the Bank of England added these issues to its new 'One Bank Research Agenda'. In H2 2015 the Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority will finalise and publish a report on physical climate change impacts and the UK insurance sector. In Q3 2015 the United Nations Environment Programme Inquiry into the Design of Sustainable Financial System ('UNEP Inquiry') will make its final report after an 18 month research and consultation process involving central banks (and a host other financial actors).
In light of these developments and given that environment-related risk factors appear to be increasing in their frequency and scale, we are organising the 4th Stranded Assets Forum on Friday 23rd October 2015. This is hosted jointly with The Rothschild Foundation at Waddesdon Manor. This one day forum will bring together leaders and experts from central banks and research institutions internationally working on macro and micro prudential regulation, as well as financial conduct. The scope of the forum is intentionally broad and the objective is to help crystallise a research agenda and pathway to operationalisation.
Launch event of new report from the University of Oxford's Project for Protected Area Resilience
8 October 2015 | 5:30pm | J.P. Morgan | 60 Victoria Embankment | London | EC4Y 0JP
We would like to invite interested guests to attend the launch of a new report from Oxford's Project for Protected Area Resilience (PPAR). The launch will take place on Thursday 8th October 2015 at 5:30pm and will be held at J.P. Morgan, 60 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0JP, UK. There will be a presentation, high-level panel discussion, and then a reception with drinks and canapés.
The project was established last year by Ben Caldecott and Paul Jepson at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. PPAR aims to help reinvigorate the Protected Area (PA) conservation discourse. It examines the monetizable and non-monetizable values PA assets generate, who creates orcaptures this value, and how more value can be generated through new public, private, and philanthropic investments into PA assets. The project is also concerned with how to safeguard PAs in light of current and emerging risks threatening their ability to generate value sustainably - in other words we want to avoid PA assets becoming 'stranded assets'. In addition, the project is looking at how to prioritize different types of PA funding and how PAs can achieve the most impact given limited public funds.
The first phase of the project began in Spring 2014 and will be completed in Q4 2015, with subsequent phases beginning thereafter. The report published on the 8th October will be a distillation of the project's work so far and indicate plans for future work.
First Global Conference on Stranded Assets 2015
24-25 September 2015 | The Queen's College | Oxford
The University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment invites researchers and interested practitioners to a major academic conference on stranded assets and the environment on 24th-25th September 2015. As the first international and interdisciplinary conference on the topic, we expect the event to lead to a special issue in a leading journal and result in new research projects, networks, and partnerships.
Despite its growing prominence as a topic, there remains a great deal of confusion about: what stranded assets are; what assets might be affected; what drives stranding; how financial institutions and companies can manage the risk of stranded assets; what it means for policy makers and regulators; and how it links to climate change policy. To critically review and help formulate a better understanding of stranded assets the conference will bring together leading scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines, including geography, economics, finance, management, political economy, and public policy. The conference will help provide much needed clarity as research on stranded assets gathers further momentum.
Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography 2015
19-23 August 2015 | Examination Schools | Oxford
The School of Geography and the Environment and The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford invites geographers, regional scientists, policy makers and researchers of related disciplines to participate in the Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography to be held in Oxford on 19-23 August, 2015.
The objective of the Conference is to foster interdisciplinary worldwide dialogue on the state of the art and the future agenda of economic geography. Its title 'Mapping Economies in Transformation' is based on the premise that while the world economy has been recently experiencing major shocks and shifts, it needs transformative change to address the challenges of unstable, unequal, and unsustainable development.
Infrastructure Investment in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies - Systems-Thinking for New Institutions and Global Challenges - WORKSHOP
2 July 2015 | 9:00 - 19:15 | Bernard Sunley Lecture Theatre | St Catherine's College | Oxford | OX1 3UJ
The world's Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs) currently face a considerable and daunting infrastructure deficit. While challenging, the deficit presents a unique opportunity for investors to diversify their current OECD portfolio and to seek new sources of investment return by investing in dynamic markets with faster growing economies.
The OXIIEMDE workshop brings together more than 30 of the world's leading experts from international organisations, academia and financial institutions to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing infrastructure investment in EMDEs. Across the spectrum of issues to be addressed, the OXIIEMDE workshop will tackle the critical dynamics of:
- How multilateral financial institutions can function as platforms to mobilise private sector and institutional investors alike to facilitate infrastructure investment in EMDEs.
- How investors can transition from isolated 'projects-thinking' approaches to cohesive 'systems-thinking' and by doing so, fully appraise the macro-economic, societal and environmental dynamics of these emerging infrastructure investment pathways.
For more information and to register please visit the workshop's microsite.
Water Management & Markets Event
1st June 2015 | Saïd Business School| Park End Street | OX1 1HP
This first event for the Saïd Business School's Water Management & Markets GOTO topic place takes place from 13.30 - 17.00, Monday 1st June 2015 and focuses on Corporate Water Risk and Return.
There is no substitute to water as a factor of production. But the risks associated with delay, disruption or denial of supply are often poorly understood. This session engages with corporate water risk, an increasingly dominant aspect of corporate stewardship.
A panel - drawn from globally recognised experts - will present their perspectives. But this session is principally about audience engagement. Questions are not merely welcomed: they are mandatory. This is a unique opportunity to connect with specialist practitioners.
- Laurent Bellet, Water and Energy Advisor, EDF Group
- Piet Klop, Senior Advisor - Responsible Investment, PGGM
- Cate Lamb, Head of the Water Programme, Carbon Disclosure Project
- Alexandre Le Vernoy, Analyst: Water & Food Resources, SABMiller plc
- Conor Linstead, Freshwater Specialist, WWF-UK
- Felix Ockborn, CSR Manager, Bergans of Norway
Moderated by Dr Alex Money, Research Fellow, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.
Water risk is of course not new. But the dynamics that drive the supply and demand of water resources in corporate supply chains are evolving rapidly. Corporate water risk derives from a mosaic of interdependent variables including demographics, urbanisation, globalisation, climate change and pollution. The World Economic Forum now classifies water crises as the world's biggest risk in terms of impact over the next ten years.
In this session, experts from industry, finance, and policy advisory will place corporate water risk into the context of stakeholder engagement. They will present the challenges faced, and invite you to debate the potential solutions. If you have an interest in investment management, corporate activity, policy making, or sustainability issues, make sure that you're part of the discussion!
This event is being curated by Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment in collaboration with Saïd Business School for the GOTO Project.
UBS-Smith School Essay Competition 2015
8 May 2015 | Gilbert Room | OUCE | South Parks Road | Oxford | OX1 3QY
In partnership with UBS, the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment invites you to participate in the second annual essay competition. Apply your knowledge and creativity. Be rewarded with a chance to win £1,000.
We welcome your participation if you are a graduate student enrolled at the University of Oxford who is keen to explore some of the major environmental issues and challenges facing the world's economies and people.
Water Management & Markets Event - Open to All
27 April 2015 | Saïd Business School| Park End Street | OX1 1HP
This first event for the Saïd Business School's Water Management & Markets GOTO topic place takes place in Trinity week 1, 13.30 - 16.30, Monday 27th April 2015 and focuses on Water Challenges: Science, Services, and Society.
Water security is a defining global challenge to society in the 21st century. Absent or unreliable water and sanitation services, unpredictable floods and droughts, and degraded ecosystems threaten the lives of many of the world's population, and pose increasing risk to businesses and governments.
Although water is scarce, there is enough to provide water security for all - but only if we manage it adequately. Good water governance requires the involvement and integration of all sectors: public, private and non-profit. In order to make smart and effective decisions, governments, businesses, international agencies, and investors must thus understand the current state of our water resources, and how these will change over the short and longer term.
This event will gather leading academics and practitioners from the water sector to discuss the science, management and governance of water; technological innovations; and how individuals can connect to the issue and create change. It is being curated by Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment in collaboration with Saïd Business School for the GOTO Project.
Environmental law talk and interactive session with David B. Farer and James Thornton
19 March 2015 | 4-6pm | Gottmann Room | OUCE | South Parks Road | Oxford | OX1 3QY
About the Speakers: David B. Farer is a U.S. environmental lawyer who chairs the Environmental Department at Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis LLP (Woodbridge, N.J.) He concentrates his practice on the impact of environmental laws on transactions and real property in New Jersey and around the nation. Nationally renowned, he has been on the cutting edge of developments in the environmental sector since the 1980s. He is President-Elect of the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL), a national professional association of distinguished environmental lawyers who are recognized as preeminent in their field. For thirty years, Mr. Farer has written and lectured extensively on state and federal environmental issues. He lives in New York City with his wife Elisa King, a dancer and dance educator.
James Thornton is an environmental lawyer and social entrepreneur. A member of the bars of New York, California and the Supreme Court of the United States, and a solicitor of England and Wales, he moved from Wall Street law practice to found the Citizens' Enforcement Project at NRDC in New York, where he brought some 80 federal lawsuits against corporations to enforce the Clean Water Act after the Reagan Administration had stopped enforcing the law. He won these cases and embarrassed the government to start enforcing the law again.
James founded ClientEarth - Europe's first public interest environmental law organisation - in 2007. Now operating globally, it uses advocacy, litigation and research to address the greatest challenges of our time - including biodiversity loss, climate change, and toxic chemicals. Its work is always built on solid law and science.
Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet
12 March 2015 | 5-6:15pm | Herbertson Room | OUCE | South Parks Road | Oxford | OX1 3QY
Most everything we know about climate change is bad. Most everything we don't know makes it worse. Deep-seated uncertainty -- often seen as an excuse for inaction -- is, in fact, the best justification yet for strong, reasoned action.
In this seminar Gernot Wagner will present his new book "Climate Shock" and explore tail risks, Black Swans and 'unknown unknowns' to argue why to act, and explores what would happen if we don't. In particular, as much as the 'free rider' effects prevents us to take reasoned action today, the 'free driver' effect seems to lead us down the road to a geo-engineered planet.
About the Speaker: Gernot Wagner serves as lead senior economist at the Environmental Defense Fund. He teaches energy economics as adjunct associate professor at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, and served on the editorial board of the Financial Times as a Peter Martin Fellow, where he covered economics, energy, and the environment.
Webinar: Carbon Disclosure and the Cost of Debt - in partnership with the European Centre for Corporate Engagement
11 March 2015 | 3-4pm | Online
In this Webinar SSEE Research Fellow Michael Viehs and ECCE Researcher Stefanie Kleimeier presented their latest research on the effect of CO2 emission disclosure on corporations' costs of debt. Using a unique and comprehensive database on carbon emissions from CDP (formerly 'The Carbon Disclosure Project'), they studied whether companies which voluntarily participate in the CDP disclosure framework enjoy more favorable lending conditions - in the form of lower spreads on their bank loans - than their non-participating counterparts. In this webinar, the authors will also discuss the important implications for corporate borrowers, lenders, and financial markets that arise out of their research.
Stranded Assets Forum at Waddesdon Manor | Rothschild Foundation
6 March 2015 | Waddesdon Manor | Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH
The Rothschild Foundation and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment announced the Third Forum on Stranded Assets taking place at Waddesdon Manor.
Investment consultants play a key role as advisers to asset owners, particularly pension funds. They have a key role in helping to match fund demand from asset owners with fund supply from asset managers.
Interviews with pension fund trustees and experts suggests that there appears to be an under-provisioning of advice on green investments, environment-related risks, and stranded assets by investment consultants. This could be due to a lack of client-demand, as well as the existence of barriers within the sector itself hindering service provision, such as misaligned incentives, conflicts of interest, and insufficient training. Or it could be that the industry does not consider these issues to be material for strategic asset allocation.
At the 3rd Stranded Assets Forum, held together with The Rothschild Foundation at Waddesdon Manor, we will investigate whether the investment consultant industry is up to the job on environmental, climate, and sustainability topics and explore ways to address potential barriers. The Smith School will present preliminary research being done on this topic.
Oxford Environment and Enterprise Forum
6 March 2015 | 2-6pm | Lecture Theatre | OUCE | South Parks Road | Oxford | OX1 3QY
The School of Geography and the Environment and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment invites all MSc and MBA students to the 8th Annual Oxford Environment and Enterprise Forum. The aim of the Forum is to strengthen links between the international graduate student body and Oxford-based enterprises at the cutting edge of environmental policy and practice. The afternoon will profile the innovative work going on in Oxford and will provide an opportunity for students and presenters to meet and discuss current policy initiatives, ideas for dissertation research and in association with Oxford-based groups.
Guest speaker: Leo Johnson (Partner at PwC UK) will give a talk on "The massive small"
Confirmed organisations: Earthwatch, Earth Trust, 3Keel, Synergy, Cultivate, Isis innovation, Acclimatise, ERM, Oxford Hub, Historic Futures, Global Canopy programme, Global Water intelligence, Rezatec, Ethex, Pilio, Geoger Ltd.
Delivering our Green Energy future: Impacts, Risks & Investment opportunities
12 February 2015 | Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation | Edinburgh
The twin challenges of climate change and changing demographics have led many energy industry leaders and government decision-makers to identify infrastructure investment as perhaps the single, largest wealth creation opportunity of the 21st century.
The World Bank estimates the global infrastructure gap to be in the area of $35 trillion over the next twenty years. Unlocking this scale of investment responsibly will require new ways of thinking about impacts and new models for delivering sustained, green economic growth that protects and preserves our most valuable assets for future generations.
This half-day event brings together some of the cutting-edge investors, academics and entrepreneurs operating at the frontlines of this challenge. We invite you to enjoy a riveting discussion, which will explore the key concepts, risks and opportunities we must seek to better understand in order to deliver a fundamental shift in the way we do business.
Valuing Nature meeting & workshop: Retailer and Foodservice
30 January 2015 | London
This is a seminar-workshop organised by Coca Cola, WWF and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
- Establish a baseline understanding of natural capital for the retail and food service sectors
- Create a common understanding of the business case for natural capital (in business terms)
- Understand Natural capital implications across the value chain for retail/food service sectors
- Clear understanding of how natural capital is different and why that difference is important
- Determine consensus & advance the thinking in retail & foodservice approach to the subject
- Influence the public agenda over time.
This event is by invitation only.
Sustainable Groundwater Development for the Poor
30 January 2015 | 12:30 - 2pm | Beckit Room | OUCE | South Parks Road | Oxford | OX1 3QY
Speaker: Kerstin Danert and Sean Furey, Rural Water Supply Network
Chair: Rob Hope, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
Negotiations for the Sustainable Development Goals continue. UN member states are likely to agree on a target for universal and equitable access for (or use of) safe water by 2030. Achieving this will require the development of millions of new water systems coupled with effective management and maintenance of existing services.
Groundwater provides potable water to millions of people worldwide and has proven to be the most reliable resource to meet water demands of rural people, particularly the poor in Africa. Borehole drilling takes place in the formal and informal economy, under limited regulation. Despite the tremendous progress in developing groundwater (via mechanized and manual drilling), obstacles remain: high drilling costs limit access; poor construction quality undermines service reliability and long-term viability. Inadequate understanding of groundwater resources is a time-bomb of uncertainty.
The session will draw on case studies from Rural Water Supply Network's work on professionalizing water well drilling and handpump sustainability in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Chad and South Sudan.
The Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) is a global network of rural water supply practitioners and organisations committed to sustainable rural water services for all. RWSN currently has nearly 6,000 members in 132 countries. Its Executive Board includes African Development Bank, SDC, UNICEF, World Bank, WaterAid, IRC and SKAT Foundation, which hosts the network. Web: http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/
This event is open to all.
Developing finance and investment capabilities within environmental NGOs - how, where, and when?
29 January 2015 | The Athenaeum Club | London
High-level dinner to discuss how universities and others can help support the development of finance and investment capabilities within environmental NGOs.
This meeting, which will primarily consist of NGO leaders and philanthropic funders, will be centred on the following questions: What's the best way to develop finance and investment capabilities within environmental NGOs? What model of courses, masters programmes, joint research projects, internships would be most effective? How do NGOs currently approach this need and what is the potential role of universities like Oxford in supporting these objectives? What can funders do to support this ongoing process of capacity development? Are there analogous examples of where capacity in a specific area has been developed quickly in the past? What has worked well before and can be scaled up quickly?
The dinner is part of a project the Smith School is undertaking on these issues and will inform the development of courses and related initiatives at the University of Oxford. It will also be the beginning of a process that could help ratchet up ambition, capacity, and peer learning on finance and investment issues within environmental NGOs.
This event is by invitation only.
Guest Lecture with Michael Liebreich - Founder and Chairman of Bloomberg New Energy Finance
28 November 2014 | 4:30pm | Milner Hall | Rhodes House | South Parks Road | OX1 3RG
The entire global energy system is undergoing profound and rapid change. But while energy policy research often focuses on the economics of energy production, it can often ignore or assume away the importance of both finance and management. Finance questions extend beyond the cost of capital and to topics such as scaleable financing structures (e.g. 'green' bonds, yieldcos), capital recycling and refinancing, yield expectations/asset characteristics, portfolio construction, investor engagement, divestment, and capacity bottlenecks (e.g expertise, balance sheet capacity). While management questions might encompass issues such as how incumbent utilities can adapt to energy market transformations, the challenges of scaling renewable energy companies, operational efficiency, and how companies interact with and shape public policy.
Michael covered some of these issues, linking together developments in energy economics with parallel and inter-related changes in energy finance and management.
Africa, Dams and Development
24 November 2014 | Lecture Theatre | Oxford Martin School
Africa faces formidable development challenges in the 21st Century, with expanding populations and accelerating urbanisation; rising demand for water, energy and food; greater hydrological variability predicted with climate change; and persistent poverty and inequalities. Dams seem to promise an appealing package of benefits to meet Africa's development needs - they can reduce floods, store water for irrigation, provide energy for burgeoning populations and facilitate regional integration. Yet, the benefits and costs of dams are not distributed evenly and new large dams are planned that could alter the political, social and water landscape of the region. What is the role for dams in Africa's development? Can they give African countries the boost they need for growth and poverty alleviation, or will they only serve to exacerbate environmental problems, conflict and existing inequalities?
Moderated by Dr Rob Hope, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Eco-Justice
20 November 2014 | 1pm | Beckitt Room | OUCE | South Parks Road | OX1 3QY
Western multinational corporations consider CSR as a "win-win strategy" in order to foster sustainable development. The presentation will build on field work carried out in Nigeria for the past 10 years to assess the impact of oil production and of CSR projects on development. We show the deadlocks of the conception of CSR inspired by some utilitarian as well as contractualist thoughts and favor a perspective rooted in a relational eco-justice.
Speaker: Cecile Renouard is Director of the CODEV - Companies and Development - Research Programme at the Institute for Research and Education on Negotiation (IRENE) at ESSEC Business School in Paris. She is also a Professor of political philosophy and social ethics at the Jesuit University of Paris (Centre Sevres) and teaches at the engineering school Ecole des Mines de Paris.
The Case for Forceful Engagement
18 November 2014 | 5pm | Gilbert Room | OUCE | South Parks Road | OX1 3QY
Climate change is happening fast and may have a large impact on investment values. The growing debate about fossil fuel divestment is a signal that investors are slowly waking up to this threat, but the traditional model of engagement between investors and the companies in which they invest is ill-suited to deal with this risk. We propose a more active model that we call 'Forceful Engagement'.
In this lecture was presented by Howard Covington and Raj Thamotheram about their latest paper "How Should Investors Manage Climate-Change Risk".
SSEE Business Fellows Event: Rethinking Finance - How GDP and other Financial Constructs and Mindsets Effect Business Sustainability
30 October 2014 | 5pm | Seminar Room A | Saïd Business School | Park End Street | OX1 1HP
GDP and similar constructs are an essential part of discussions about what we can and cannot do to tackle social and environmental sustainability. But they can also be very destructive. In this public seminar, leading sustainability practitioners from companies such as UBS, Shell and PWC will present and lead a discussion on how the very way we think about finance and economics more generally affects business' responses to sustainability challenges. The seminar was led by Julie Hudson CFA and Hubert Jeaneau of UBS, with special guest speaker Mr Paul Donovan, UBS's Deputy Chief Economist.
Choosing not to Choose: Autonomy, Paternalism, and Public Policy
17 October 2014 | 1:00pm | Gottmann Room | OUCE | South Parks Road | OX1 3QY
Spaker: Professor Cass Sunstein, Robert Walmsley Professor at Harvard University.
Our ability to make choices is fundamental to our sense of ourselves as human beings, and essential to the political values of freedom-protecting nations. Whom we love; where we work; how we spend our time; what we buy; such choices define us in the eyes of ourselves and others, and much blood and ink has been spilt to establish and protect our rights to make them freely. Choice can also be a burden. Our cognitive capacity to research and make the best decisions is limited, so every active choice comes at a cost. In modern life the requirement to make active choices can often be overwhelming. So, across broad areas of our lives, from health plans to energy suppliers, many of us choose not to choose.
Allianz-Oxford Pensions Conference - Pension Options - Risk & Behaviour
1-2 October 2014 | Jesus College
2013 was the first year of substantial relief for many pension funds - five years after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) roared inter-national markets and precipitated yet another pension crisis. Soaring equity markets plus somewhat higher rising yields provided support for assets and liabilities and improved funding ratios. And many forecasts remain on the optimistic side for 2014 with global growth reluctantly accelerating. Are we approaching a new 'Old Normal'? Or are we already facing bubble territory - again - and should pension funds brace against extreme risks?
2nd Stranded Assets Forum at Waddesdon Manor | Rothschild Foundation
4 September 2014 | Waddesdon Manor | Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH
Regardless of whether there is an investment or ethical rationale for fossil fuel divestment, the divestment campaign has quickly put a series of tough questions on the agenda for many institutional investors. First, should asset owners consider managing exposure to fossil fuel assets and what's the rationale for doing so? Second, if exposure should be managed, what are the options? And third, what can be done quickly and easily today, and how might management of exposure evolve over time?
These questions are particularly acute for endowments (especially university endowments), where public pressure and attention is most sharply focused. Endowments also have characteristics that could allow them to deal with these issues more effectively than other asset owners - e.g. permanent capital and no beneficiaries (with the associated fiduciary responsibilities that entails).
So what should endowments do? This half day forum brought together endowment fund managers and investment experts, including those from the University of Oxford, to discuss these pressing issues.
UBS Smith in the City | Seminar 16 | Wireless Water - Enterprise, Technology and Drinking Water Security
18 June 2014
The World Economic Forum has advanced awareness of global corporate concerns over water supply risks. Over two out of five of the 747 million people worldwide without access to improved drinking water live in Africa with a rural African four times more likely to lack improved access than her urban neighbour. As one of the world's most buoyant emerging markets this 'crisis' poses significant but uncertain enterprise threats and opportunities. We explore how Africa's lead in mobile technologies is shaping institutional and financial innovations to address one of its most enduring challenges. Mobile water payment behaviours illustrate new pathways to improve financial sustainability in urban Tanzania and groundwater risk management balances competing trade-offs for mining, irrigated agriculture and communities in a shared but stressed groundwater system in rural Kenya. Addressing Africa's water infrastructure and service delivery deficit is a mutually-reinforcing strategy for enterprise to build and share prosperity for growth and development.
Speaker: Dr Rob Hope - Director of the Water Programme at the Smith School and Departmental Research Lecturer and Associate Professor at the School of Geography and the Environment.
Impact Investing Conference
5-6 June 2014 | St Hugh's College
Impact investing is on the rise. High-net-worth individuals and wealthy families are increasingly becoming active in impact investing to solve some of the major global challenges such as poverty and climate change. Yet, today there is hardly any academic research investigating the real effects of impact investing, mostly due to the lack of reliable data. Further, it is still not clear how and whether impact investors could collaborate more closely with the financial industry to promote their impact ideas to address real societal needs.
This conference brought together leading academics, impact investors, and institutional investors to discuss and address exactly these issues. The aim was to (1) provide different perspectives on social and environmental impact investing, (2) discuss potential collaborations between impact investors and (mainstream) institutional investors, and (3) illustrate the resulting implications for big institutional investors, family offices, and pension funds who would like to become active impact investors.
UBS Smith in the City | Seminar 15 | "GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History"
13 May 2014
How should we measure economic progress? Normally the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the focus for policy makers and economists, but its use has increasingly been questioned. Environmental concerns and the growing interest in well-eing suggest there are shortcomings in GDP, as does the growth of free activities online, which are not included in this standard measure of economic activity at market prices because their price is zero.
The shortcomings have led to other suggestions for measuring progress, but these all have their own shortcomings. Looking at the history of GDP and of earlier ways of thinking about the economy help to clarify what it is that we should be trying to measure to assess the state of the economy. While GDP is an adequate measure of market activity, it is not - and was never meant to be - a measure of social welfare or well-being. Nor does it measure sustainability, or whether current consumption is only being sustained by drawing down the economy's assets, including natural assets. We need different indicators to measure these three different things, economic activity, welfare and sustainability.
Speaker: Dr Diane Coyle, OBE, Economist and Vice-Chair of the BBC Trust.
Complexity and the Art of Public Policy: Solving Society's Problems from the Bottom Up
8 May 2014 | 17:00 | Beckit Room | OUCE | South Park Road | OX1 3QY
Complexity science - made possible by modern analytical and computational advances - is changing the way we think about social systems and social theory. Unfortunately, economists' policy models have not kept up and are stuck in either a market fundamentalist or government control narrative. While these standard narratives are useful in some cases, they are damaging in others, directing thinking away from creative, innovative policy solutions. Roland Kupers presented the findings of his new book 'Complexity and the Art of Public Policy', co-authored with David Colander and published by Princeton University Press, aimed at outlining a new, more flexible policy narrative, picturing society as a complex evolving system that is uncontrollable but that can be influenced.
Speakers: Roland Kupers, independent consultant on Complexity, Resilience and Energy Transition, and a Visiting Fellow at the Smith School.
Eric Beinhocker, Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking's INET@Oxford research program at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford.
Sustainable Finance Seminar
13 March 2014 | 16:00 | A J Herbertson Room | OUCE | South Park Road | OX1 3QY
What does sustainable finance mean? Does it stand for treating people and the environment exactly the way you would like to be treated? Or does sustainability in the financial sector go beyond this? Do banks finance sustainable business and if so, why? How do banks engage with their clients on the topic of sustainable finance?
The objective of this seminar was to give some insights into those and other related questions. It aimed to foster the discussion about what sustainability in the financial industry actually means. To do so, Alexander Hoare (C. Hoare & Co.) and Anders Bouvin (Handelsbanken UK) gave a practical insight into sustainable banking. Professor Colin Mayer (Saïd Business School) gave the academic perspective on financing sustainable business. Moderated by Julie Hudson (UBS).
Environmental Protection and Rare Disasters
15 March 2014 | 17:00 | Founder's Room | Saïd Busines School | Park End Street, Oxford, OX1 1HP
Prof Barro's Biography: Robert J. Barro is Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics at Harvard University, a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Research Papers in Economics project ranked him as the 3rd most influential economist in the world as of June 2013 based on his academic contributions. Barro is co-editor of Harvard's Quarterly Journal of Economics. Noteworthy research includes empirical determinants of economic growth, economic effects of public debt and budget deficits, and the formation of monetary policy. Recent books include Macroeconomics: A Modern Approach, Economic Growth (2nd edition, written with Xavier Sala-i-Martin), Nothing Is Sacred: Economic Ideas for the New Millennium, Determinants of Economic Growth, and Getting It Right: Markets and Choices in a Free Society.
Natural Capital Seminar Series
Every Wednesday at 5pm from 22 January 2014 to 12 March 2014
Hilary Term 2014 Seminar series convened by Prof Dieter Helm, Prof Cameron Hepburn and Prof Bob Hahn.
The challenges the international climate change negotiations face 20 years in and what this means for current attempts to secure a global deal in 2015.
27 February 2014 | 17:30 | Beckit Room | OUCE | South Park Road | OX1 3QY
Lecture with Mr Simon Upton, Environment Director at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
The Future of Business Roundtable
8 November 2013 | 14:00 - 18:00 | University College, High Street, Oxford OX1 4BH
The assertion that the core responsibility of business is to maximise shareholder value is increasingly being challenged. Businesses are gradually taking on wider responsibilities, which raises the question: what should be the goal of business, if not profit maximisation? This is not simply a normative question; it is also a question of what is necessary for businesses survival. Resource scarcity, rising inequality and declining trust in business threatens the corporate licence to operate.
If businesses were to pursue an alternative goal, it would face many challenges. How would such an organisation measure its performance and incentivise staff? How would it raise finance and what legal barriers would it face?
This high level roundtable gathered thought leaders from both academia and industry to answer such questions, and outline what knowledge gaps need to be filled to offer leading businesses practical tools for pursuing non-financial goals.
Investing for Sustainability
6 November 2013 | 17:30 | Beckit Room, OUCE, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY
There is considerable evidence that sustainability requires long-term planning and long-term policy. The investment required, in low-carbon infrastructure and sustainable production processes, tends to have long pay-back periods. Current corporate processes to allocate capital and resources are influenced by the short-term demands of the equity markets; this is a major barrier to implementing sustainability. The challenge is how to change the climate for corporate investment to favour investing for the long-term. It is proposed that governments can take action with regard to equity markets to reduce short-term speculation and encourage investment over longer time horizons. The seminar critically evaluated whether the time is now right to campaign for the implementation of a share transaction tax, set at a level to drive investor behaviour.
Speaker: Peter McManners
Smith School-TORCH Humanities Symposium
25 & 26 October 2013 | St Hilda's College & Radcliffe Observatory Quarter
MIND THE ENVIRONMENTAL GAP
This Symposium sprang from the Smith School-TORCH Humanities Seminar Series, which began in October 2012. It is based on the belief that environmental thinking - often shaped by a combinations of the physical and social sciences - would be much enriched if there were more emphasis on the diverse perspectives provided by the humanities.
This interdisciplinary Symposium investigated cultural aspects of societal engagement with environmental challenges, and the interactions between culture, the physical and social sciences and policy in achieving change. To this end our panels challenged and contextualised the seeming present-day separation between humanity and nature by exploring four key themes: Footprints, Biodiversity, Animals and The State.
This programme was generously supported by a grant from the John Fell Fund held by Prof Sally Shuttleworth.
'A vote of "No Confidence?": Why US Local Governments Take Action in Response to Shale Gas Development'
27 September 2013 | 13:00 | Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Hayes House, 75 George Street, Oxford, OX1 2BQ
A systematic study of local communities that have passed resolutions or statutes in response to hydraulic fracturing shale gas development in US Marcellus shale play states (New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia) indicates that local governments have taken action in response to complex risks and uncertain accountability. An analysis of our database of 298 communities in all four states in which localities have taken legislative action indicates that these Marcellus communities are not isolated rural areas but connected to urban centers. The majority of communities taking action want to delay drilling operations or restrict specific shale gas related activities, facilities, outputs, or land uses. Very few communities have enacted outright bans. Structured interviews conducted with a sample of local officials in two of the states indicate that a major impetus for action is a lack of trust in the capacity or willingness of the oil and gas industry or the sub-national state to take action to protect local communities from harm or to pay the costs of shale gas development. Although the US experience differs from that of the UK with respect to the location of regulatory authority, there are potential commonalities in community concerns regarding the distribution of costs and benefits of unconventional fossil fuel development.
Speaker: Prof Susan Christopherson - Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University
Deconstructing Offshore Finance: From State of the Art towards a Research Agenda
2-3 September 2013 | St Peter's College, Dorfman Centre, New Inn Hall St, Oxford OX1 2DL
The seminar gathered scholars from a variety of disciplines as well as policy makers and activists to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue on offshore finance. The goal was to review state of the art research on the topic, and envision elements of a new research agenda. The latter is understood in terms of concepts, methods and data, as well as different ways in which researchers could engage in policy-relevant and activist research that promotes the development of financial markets that offer sustainable long-term returns in an environment of integrity, responsibility and transparency.
A Talk by Stanley Johnson
10 June 2013 | SSEE, 75 George Street, Oxford OX1 2BQ
Stanley Johnson was at the Smith School to talk about two of his latest books: Where The Wild Things Were and United Nations Environment Programme: The First 40 Years.
As well as being an environmentalist, Stanley is a former Conservative MEP and has worked for the World Bank and the European Commission. He is also the father of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
Governance for Sustainability Conference 2013
16-17 May 2013 | Worcester College, Oxford
The purpose of the conference was to foster a unique dialogue between practitioners and academic researchers on the governance challenges and opportunities presented by natural resource constraints for the financial sector, including rising demand for agricultural, mineral, and energy commodities; stresses on water resources; extreme volatility in energy and agriculture prices; ecosystem degradation; and climate-driven impacts on natural capital.
Carbon Lock-in, Path Dependencies and Asset Stranding
11 February 2013 | Saïd Business School, Park End Street, Oxford OX1 1HP
Rt Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change
Chaired by Prof Gordon Clark, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment