2017


Timelapse video showing stranded assets and cumulative emissions from China's current and planned coal plants

2 March 2017 - YouTube

A new timelapse video showing stranded assets and cumulative emissions from China's current and planned coal plants from the Sustainable Finance Programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.


Playing the long game on regulation

13 January 2017 - Bloomberg Government

On 13th January Professor Robert Hahn, Director of Economics at Oxford University's Smith School, a member of the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, and a non-resident senior fellow at Brookings contributed his insights about the short and long game perspective on regulations by President-elect Trump and his transition team. This was published in the Bloomberg Government column which regularly publishes insights, opinion and best practices from our community of senior leaders and decision-makers.

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Church of England launches climate change ranking

11 January 2017 - The Financial Times

Article on the a new project by investment arms and asset managers to identify companies that pose the biggest risk to climate change includes comment from Ben Caldecott, director of the sustainable finance programme at Oxford University.

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2016


The Smiths visit the smart handpump

December 2016

Delivering reliable drinking water to millions of rural people in Africa and Asia is an elusive and enduring global challenge. A systematic information deficit on the performance of infrastructure and communities' demand for it limits effective policy design and development outcomes.

Jennifer Sabourin, Alex Fischer, Lady Smith, Rob Hope, Angelika Kaiser, Sir Martin Smith, Patrick Thomson, Johanna Koehler, Achut Manandhar visit the smart handpump

The 'Smart Handpump' project started in 2010 in Kenya to explore new technologies, methods and models in order to understand and respond to this challenge. The design of a mobile-enabled data transmitter provided foundational data on hourly water usage and failure events reliably and at low cost. A pump has now been installed in front of the Oxford Centre for the Environment to progress further research which models accelerometry data from the handpump to estimate aquifer depth and predict pump failures. Pictured above from left to right are: Jennifer Sabourin, Alex Fischer, Lady Smith, Rob Hope, Angelika Kaiser, Sir Martin Smith, Patrick Thomson, Johanna Koehler, Achut Manandhar.


Transforming Transportation with Autonomous Vehicles and the Sharing Economy: Are we Ready?

5 December 2016

At the Brookings Institute on 5th December, Professor Robert Hahn, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, presented and participated in a panel discussion on 'Transforming Transportation with Autonomous Vehicles and the Sharing Economy: Are we Ready?' based on research he has engaged in with co-authors Peter Cohen, Jonathan Hall, Steven Levitt (of "Freakonomics" fame) and Robert Metcalfe. The published paper Using Big Data to Estimate Consumer Surplus: The Case of Uber investigates to what extent UberX, the main Uber service, is improving the lives of its users.


Sustainable Finance Team Participates in Wargame

On 29 November, the Smith School, in partnership with Chatham House and environmental think tank E3G, hosted over 20 students at the Royal Society of Arts in London. The students were participating in a trial of the new Two Degree Pathways decision support tool and wargame, designed to help investors and company executives protect shareholder value of oil and gas companies through the transition to a two-degree-limited warming pathway. Trials will continue in the new year with a launch of the tool expected for mid-2017. For more information please see the Two Degree Pathways.


Johanna Koehler featured on Wide Open Air Exchange

26 November 2016 - Wide Open Air Exchange

Johanna Koehler is a Clarendon Scholar at Oxford University specialising in decentralisation and water security in Kenya. Johanna recently returned from Kenya and she shares what it's like on the ground in local communities as well as at governance and policy levels. We also discuss Johanna's earlier field work in South Korea and the Korean demilitarised zone. Her research of the South and North Korea divide was inspired by her family's experience being separated between East and West Germany.

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The cleverest countries on climate change - and what the rest should be doing

8 November 2016 - Huffington Post

Article about ground-breaking initiatives to combat climate change includes comment from Cameron Hepburn, Professor of Environmental Economics at Oxford University.

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Moving to Impact: Responsible Investing in Canada

On 19 October, Professor Gordon Clark gave a keynote presentation on 'ESG and Long Termism and the Firm' at a conference on 'Responsible Investing in Canada' in Ottawa. This was an important policy conference held during the Canadian Responsible Investment Week. To view to Professor Clark's presentation click here or access his presentation online by visiting the conference website.


Matchmaking for refugees makes sense

21 September 2016 - Gulf News, Alex Teytelboym and Scott Duke Kominers

Article about the importance of matching a resettled refugee or migrant to a suitable country is co-authored by Alex Teytelboym, an economist at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford. He writes: 'In our work with the University of Melbourne's David Delacrétaz and Will Jones from Royal Holloway, we have identified how refugee-community matching systems might achieve improve refugee outcomes by building on the systems many cities worldwide use to assign children to schools.'

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TV: BBC World News, Asia Business Report

19 September 2016

Ben Caldecott, Director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the Smith School at Oxford University, is interviewed following the news that another 20 countries are poised to sign the Paris climate accord.


Engaging institutional investors with Oxford's research

27 June 2016

A new initiative has been launched to engage institutional investors with social sciences research that is taking place across the University of Oxford. The programme, called SSEE View, is designed and delivered by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.

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Japan's coal-fired plants 'to cause thousands of early deaths'

17 May 2016 - The Guardian, Justin McCurry

Greenpeace slams 'insane' plan for dozens of power plants, with huge implications for air quality and climate change.

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La politique énergétique du Japon l'expose à une dépréciation de 80 milliards $ d'actifs

13 May 2016 - Ecofin, Gwladys Johnson

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Coal Spending in Japan Risks Stranding $57 Billion of Assets

11 May 2016 - Bloomberg, Chisaki Watanabe

Utilities and other companies in Japan pushing ahead with new investments in coal-power plants risk creating 6.22 trillion yen ($57 billion) of stranded assets amid shifts in energy policy and the economics of power generation, according to a study by Oxford University's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.

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Study: Japanese coal expansion plans facing $56bn stranded asset risk

11 May 2016 - BusinessGreen, Madeleine Cuff

Planned fleet of new coal-fired power stations would massively exceed current capacity requirements, according to University of Oxford research

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Japan warned of flaw in coal-fired power plant project

11 May 2016 - The Financial Times, Leo Lewis

Japan's plans for a massive expansion of coal-fired electricity generation are based on flawed projections and risk saddling the country with more than $60bn of "stranded" assets, a new report has warned.

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It's simple: We need to try to understand complex systems

10 May 2016 - Huffington Post

Complex systems are increasingly relevant to our world, the Smith School Associate Fellow, Roland Kupers argues. "If the systems that we are interested in are complex" he says "then we need a tool-set and a science that fits the problem."

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Sovereign funds ignore climate risk

1 May 2016 - The Financial Times, Attracta Mooney

World's largest investors warned that environmental change will affect returns.

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Water-Related Risks Strand $Billions in Energy, Mining, Power Projects

28 April 2016 - circle of blue

Droughts, floods, and civic opposition cause huge losses.

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Dodgy units aside, we could make money from ETS credits

20 April 2016 - Carbon News

Accusations that almost all the international units brought into the Emissions Trading Scheme are fraudulent are an exaggeration, says an expert who believes that the scheme could generate a nice international export in carbon credits.

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Warning for investors, not just environmentalists, in fossil fuel spending

8 April 2016 - CBC (Canada), Don Pittis

New research from the Oxford Martin School and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, both at Oxford University, has extended the concept of "stranded assets" beyond fossil fuels still in the ground to include the plant and equipment used to turn those resources into energy used by our economy. "Investors putting money into new carbon-emitting infrastructure need to ask hard questions about how long those assets will operate for, and assess the risk of future shutdowns and write-offs," says Cameron Hepburn, one of the academics involved in new study.

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Why fossil fuel power plants will be left stranded

5 April 2016 - The Financial Times

Far from having years to work out how to curb the risks of climate change, we face a moment of truth. Virtually all new fossil fuel-burning power-generation capacity will end up "stranded". This is the argument of a paper by academics at Oxford university.

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Climate change will wipe $2.5tn off global financial assets

5 April 2016 - The Guardian

Ben Caldecott and Cameron Hepburn of the Smith School of Economics and the Environment comment on a new study showing that climate change could cut the value of the world's financial assets by $2.5tn.

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New study warns on probability that '2°C capital stock' will be reached in 2017

31 March 2016

A new study from the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School and the Smith School for Enterprise and Environment, shows that we are uncomfortably close to the point where the world's energy system commits the planet to exceeding 2°C.

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Gas Strategies Interview: Ben Caldecott, stranded assets programme director, University of Oxford

14 March 2016 - Gas Strategies

Ben Caldecott, Director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the Oxford Smith School gave an interview with Gas Strategies on the future of the energy landscape.

Read more | download here


Climate risks could wreak havoc on financial markets, EU watchdog warns

12 February 2016 - The Guardian

Banking advisory group calls for risk disclosure and stress tests to protect against climate inaction should move to low carbon economy happen too late. Features comment from Ben Caldecott, the director of sustainable finance at Oxford University's Smith School.

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Australian coalmines are one of riskiest investments in the world - report

28 January 2016 - The Guardian

Australian thermal coalmines are some of the riskiest in the world for investors because of their exposure to environmental dangers, according to a report from Oxford University. The researchers assessed the assets of the top 100 coal-fired utilities and top 20 thermal coalmining companies for their exposure to a range of environmental risks, including climate-change policies, water stress, air pollution and competition from renewables and gas. Ben Caldecott, the lead author of the report, said its purpose was to provide information for investors, the broader public and the companies.

Read more | Read report


Carbon capture at risk of running out of steam

17 January 2016 - The Financial Times

For many years, carbon capture and storage (CCS) - trapping carbon emissions as they are emitted by power stations and industrial installations and storing them underground - has been hailed as vital to helping decarbonise the economics of energy.

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2015


Ben Caldecott and Nick Hurd MP: Why coal-fired power stations have to go

16 November, 2015

Ben Caldecott discusses why we must significantly improve the reliability of our power system over the course of this Parliament, aiming to phase out coal plants by the end of 2020. Coal exploitation in the UK is outdated, unreliable, risky, dirty, increasingly leading to plant closure and as a consequence to losses in production. Gas on the other hand is cleaner, eliminates supply chain bottlenecks and importantly its exploitation would ensure security of supply, reduce the costs of tackling climate change and potentially save the NHS billions of pounds each year.

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Breaking the Tragedy of the Horizon - climate change and financial Stability

Speech given by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England on 29 September 2015

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, and the Oxford Martin School's Safe Carbon Investment Initiative, warmly welcomes Governor Carney's speech on climate change at Lloyd's of London and the accompanying Bank of England report on climate change and insurance. The Smith School was one of a number of signatories to an open letter to the Bank of England on this issue back in January 2012 and we are glad to see that this important topic has gained traction and attention. In addition, Ben Caldecott, Director of the Smith School's Stranded Assets Programme has been collaborating closely on these topics with the Bank of England and the Prudential Regulation Authority as an Academic Visitor. We are proud to have been able to contribute to the development of this research agenda via our own research leadership, but also by supporting the work of other institutions in the UK and internationally.

Read Governor Carney's full speech | Read 2012 open letter to the Bank of England | Download Bank of England Report


Professor Cameron Hepburn receives 2015 Advance Global Australian Award

15 September 2015

On 14 September Advance (Australia's largest global network of high-achieving Australians and alumni) held their annual Advance Global Australian Awards Gala Dinner and Ceremony at the Sydney Opera House, to announce the recipients of Advance's Global Australian of the Year, as well as its Global Icon Award and Global Impact Award.

The Advance Global Australian Awards honour Australians who have achieved remarkable feats in their industry whilst living overseas or back home in Australia. These are the only awards to recognise the important contributions of the more than one million Australians living abroad.

Professor Hepburn was awarded in the category 'Clean Technology'.

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Sandor and CBOE team up to create interbank lending exchange

10 September 2015 - The Financial Times

Article on SSEE Visiting Fellow Richard Sandor. One of the founders of the modern-day futures market has teamed up with Chicago's CBOE Holdings to create a new exchange to encourage interbank lending between small regional US banks.

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Growth of top DB plans accelerates in 2014

7 September 2015

Interview with Professor Gordon Clark. Total assets held within the largest defined benefit funds across the globe grew at a faster rate in 2014 than 2013, according to the annual survey conducted by Pensions & Investments and Towers Watson & Co.

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New groundwater monitoring tool wins prize at World Water Week

3 September 2015

Topping off a successful week at Stockholm World Water Week 2015, Patrick Thomson and colleagues from the Department of Engineering Science won the prize for the best poster, which presented an innovative new approach to measuring shallow groundwater level using community handpumps.

Read study | Read full article


Sustainable finance for universal rural water services

27 August 2015

Achieving the global goal of universal water services in rural Africa requires new and sustainable financial models. Oxford University and partners convened a special session at World Water Week 2015 in Stockholm, to present new evidence and debate emerging approaches being tested across rural Africa.

Read full article


Lack of diversity on boards of US oil firms 'increases risk' of bad investments

16 July 2015 - The Guardian

Oxford University study finds boards with fewer women and foreign nationals susceptible to making poor investment choices over risks like climate change.

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Church of England says no to fossil fuels

7 July 2015 - DW

Last month's papal encyclical on climate change told Catholics to go green. Meanwhile, the Church of England has gone a step further. Anglicans are now also part of the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.

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UBS-Smith School Essay Competiton Winner announced

6 July

On Friday 8th of May 2015 the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and UBS hosted the Second Annual UBS-Smith School Essay Competition at the University of Oxford. The Competition aims to encourage and stimulate new ideas, approaches and discussions, to tackle some of the most pressing environmental issues and champion intellectual leadership on sustainable enterprise.

Oxford University students were asked to write a closed-book essay discussing one of three statements revealed only at the time of the challenge.

1st place and the Winner of The Annual UBS-Smith School 2015 Essay Competition 1000 prize is Molly Johnson-Jones.

Molly won the top prize after choosing to answer the question: Sustainable or responsible investing has been criticised as a 'neoliberal', and second-best, response to the perceived failure of governments to address environmental and social problems. To what extent can sustainable or responsible investing substitute effectively for government policy or regulation?

Acknowledgment also goes out to Elizabeth Harnett, MPhil Candidate at the School of Geography and the Environment, who was chosen as the runner up with her essay entitled 'The Corporate Stress-Nexus: Using a Resource Scarcity Lens to Understand Environmental Challenges'.

"UBS are proud to sponsor the Smith School's annual essay competition for University of Oxford students. The number and quality of the entries in this second year of the competition is testament to the importance of engagement between academia and business in addressing major environmental issues and challenges. Congratulations to both winner Molly Johnson-Jones and runner up Elizabeth Hartnett on their outstanding essays." Nick Wright, Global and EMEA Community Affairs, UBS.

Congratulations to the winner and runner up and thank you to all who participated. To read the winning essays please visit the UBS-SSEE Annual Essay Competition page.


REACH website now live!

22 June 2015

REACH has launched today its new website. The seven-year, global programme of research (2015-2022) led by Oxford University and funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) aims to improve water security for over 2.5 million poor people by 2022. The programme is led by Dr Rob Hope based at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and it collaborats with a global network of partners and senior faculty in the Oxford Water Network.

To learn more visit www.reachwater.org and stay in touch on Twitter at @reach_water.


A $23 Billion Stock Drop Shows India's Rising Water Risks

17 June 2015 - Bloomberg

About half of the country's 1.26 billion people face potential surface-water supply disruptions, setting the stage for clashes with thirsty industries just as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to make his nation a manufacturing power. And India isn't alone: From Africa to the Americas, surging demand is exacerbating a global water deficit as groundwater diminishes.

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University of Oxford's Stranded Assets Programme identify coal companies that breach new 30% divestment threshold with the help of MSCI carbon data

8 June 2015

The University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment has combined its data with carbon metrics data from the index and research provider, MSCI, to examine the companies impacted by the Friday 5th June vote by the Norwegian Parliament. The vote will force Norway's $945bn Government Pension Fund Global to divest from coal companies. Mining companies that derive 30% or more of their revenues from coal and power companies that base 30% or more of their activities on coal are affected.

The Smith School and MSCI have identified all the companies globally that exceed these new thresholds. Further analysis will be published later in June, but today the Top 20 listed coal miners and Top 20 listed utilities that breach the 30% threshold are being published. This data will be key for investors taking coal divestment decisions.

The Top 20 mining list includes Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Consol Energy, Sasol, Coal India, and China Shenhua Energy.

The Top 20 power company list includes Duke Energy, Southern, Eskom, RWE, and China Hauneng. This list was prepared using data from the new Stranded Assets Database held at the Smith School.

Ben Caldecott, Director of the Stranded Assets Programme at the Smith School said, "The Norwegian vote is a hugely significant development and moves the divestment debate from upstream mining to power generation. The new 30% threshold for divesting from utilities may become a standard that other large investors decide to follow."

See complete lists here


Oxford University rules out investing in coal and tar sands

18 May 2015 - The Guardian

The University of Oxford has ruled out future investments in coal and tar sands from its multi-billion pound endowment, but said it would not divest from all fossil fuels as demanded by thousands of students, academics and alumni.

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Sunday, Nepal, Church Bells, Fossil Fuels

3 May 2015 - BBC Radio 4

The Methodists and the Church of England have announced their respective plans to cut investment in fossil fuel companies. Stephen Beer from the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church and Ben Caldecott of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment discuss (from 25.30)

Listen here


Developing a new tool to manage groundwater risks in Africa

20 April 2015

Oxford University is embarking on a four-year research project to improve the management of groundwater in rural Africa for economic growth and human development.

Dr Rob Hope at the Smith School of Environment and Enterprise leads the 1.9 million project 'GRo for GooD' (Groundwater Risk Management for Growth and Development) which will provide new evidence on the status of groundwater and help institutions better manage this important resource.

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Oxford and UK Govt to lead research to improve global water supply

20 March 2015

A global research project led by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford and backed by the British Government will help millions of people in Africa and South Asia to have reliable access to water.

Announced by International Development Minister Baroness Northover, the seven year research project will receive a 15 million grant from the Department for International Development. A changing and variable climate, increasing demand for water, crumbling infrastructure, unaffordable bills and water contamination have caused a chronic lack of safe, reliable and clean water in the developing world.

The programme's initial focus will be on fragile states which face great water security risks. Some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people live in fragile states, rural hinterlands, floodplains and rapidly growing urban slums where they have very low resilience to water shortages and the least capacity to cope.

The Programme Director Dr Rob Hope, from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment in the School of Geography and the Environment, said: "Living in poverty has long been synonymous with the struggle for water security. This programme establishes a global science-practitioner partnership to design, test and replicate more effective policy, methods and technologies to improve water security and reduce poverty."

Read more


One-fifth of world's worst coal plants are in US

20 March 2015 - CBS News

Article discussing the latest Stranded Assets Programme report on Subcritical Coal.

Read more


Oxford University considers stopping investment in profitable fossil fuel companies

16 March 2015 - BBC World Business Report

Interview with Ben Caldecott, Director of the Stranded Assets Programme at the Smith School.

Listen to the Podcast - from 14:20 mins.


Oxford Weighs Scrapping Fossil Fuels From Endowment

15 March 2015 - Bloomberg

Oxford University will consider Monday whether to become the most prominent academic institution to join a growing movement in favor of divesting from publicly traded fossil fuel companies.

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2015 UBS - Smith School Essay Competition announced

10 March 2015

In partnership with UBS, the Smith School is proud to announce its 2nd annual Essay Competition.

On Friday, 8th May 2015, students from the Univeristy of Oxford will have a chnace to apply their knowledge and creativity for a chance to win 1,000. Students will be be required to select one of three proposed themes on Enterprise and the Environment revealed on the day of the challenge.

"UBS are proud to sponsor the Smith School's annual essay competition for University of Oxford graduate students. We believe that engagement between academia and enterprise will be key role in addressing the major environmental issues and challenges facing the world's economies and people, and the calibre of entries to this competition powerfully demonstrates the wealth of talent and quality of ideas that can be deployed to help meet those challenges"… Nick Wright, Managing Director, Corporate Responsibility & Community Affairs at UBS.

UBS-SSEE Annual Essay Competition


Economics: Support low-carbon investment (Podcast)

4 March 2015 - Nature

Smith School's Ben Caldecott discusses with Nature whether universities should still be investing in fossil fuels.

Listen to podcast


Bank of England warns of huge financial risk from fossil fuel investments

3 March 2015 - The Guardian

Global action on climate change could cause insurers' investments in fossil fuels to take a huge hit, says bank's prudential regulation authority.

Read more


Fossil fuel lobby goes on the attack against divesment movement

11 February 2015 - The Guardian

The speed at which the fossil fuel divestment campaign is growing seems to have rattled its opponents in the coal and oil lobbies. The speed is appropriate given that the campaign, which argues the fossil fuel industry is a danger to both the climate and investors' capital, is the fastest growing divestment campaign yet seen, moving quicker than those against tobacco and apartheid.

Read more


The Smith School's Stranded Assets Programme publishes two new papers this month

9 February 2015

The first entitled "Evaluating Capex Risk: New Metrics to Assess Extractive Industry Project Portfolios", sets out new metrics to assess whether natural resource company capex is responsibly diversified. There is growing criticism of existing metrics for assessing the prospects of oil majors, such as Reserve-Replacement Ratios, and we have sought to address this directly. We have also developed a downloadable calculator, so that investors and company executives can use these new metrics straightaway.

The second paper, entitled "Stranded Carbon Assets and Negative Emissions Technologies" concerns negative emissions technologies (NETs). We find that keeping large-scale negative emissions as a last-resort option after 2050 is incompatible with mass deployment of coal and gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS) today, due to competition for constrained geological storage capacity. This has implications for CCS deployment pathways and certain assumptions being used by the coal industry.

Read papers here


The biggest conference on economic geography opens for registration

2 February 2015

The School of Geography and the Environment and the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, University of Oxford, host the Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography on 19-23 August 2015.

The conference, entitled 'Mapping Economies in Transformation', will showcase cutting edge research on how the map of the world economy is changing, why it is changing, impacts of these changes on cities and regions, and what we should do about them.

500 people from more than 50 countries are expected to attend, including eminent scholars, opinion- and policy-makers.

Read more


Announcing the 1st Global Conference on Stranded Assets - Call for Papers

20 January 2015

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.

Abstract submissions open on the 30th January 2015. The deadline is 8th May 2015. We are seeking contributions that consider some of the following themes: Economic history and trends, exposure across sectors and commodities, financial markets and institutions, public policy and regulations. A conference website will be launched soon, but more details are available in the link below.

More info

2014


Smith School's Working Paper on financial dynamics of environment referenced in Norway's Pension Fund Global report

3 December 2014

SSEE's working paper Financial dynamics of the environment: risks, impacts, and barriers to resilience was mentioned in the Norwegian's Government Pension Fund Global report looking at enhanced ownership strategies and new climate-related exclusion criterions.

Read report


GOTO Programme on Water Management & Markets to be taught in Trinity Term 2015

10 November 2014

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment is working with the Saïd Business School to design the curriculum for next year's term-long Global Opportunities & Threats Oxford (GOTO) programme on Water Management & Markets. GOTO has been running every year since 2012-13 around themes of global significance and is an integral part of the curriculum for all MBA and EMBA students. GOTO encompasses a dynamic multimedia platform to stimulate thinking and features curated content and contributions from experts and practitioners, Saïd Business School's student and Oxford University faculty research, alomg with a term-long course. Next year's Water Management & Markets course will engage students about the private sector risks, challenges and opportunities int he water sector, including presentations from academics, industry experts, international organisations and growing enterprises. The course will be taught in Trinity Term 2015.


Smith School's Stranded Assets Programme research mentioned on BBC's Newsnight.

4 November 2014

SAP research on divestment mentioned by Bill McKibben on last night's edition of Newsnight.

Watch here


Five things to know about fossi-fuel divestment

20 October 2014

Campaigns to persuade institutions to withdraw investments from the fossil-fuel sector are gaining momentum. So what do you need to know?

Read more


Water Research with Policy Impact in Kenya

9 October 2014

Oxford's smart handpump research has been recognised by in the Government of Kenya's Water Services Regulatory Board's (WASREB) Annual Impact Report.

Eng Robert Gakubia, CEO of WASREB, identifies the continuing challenge of attaining national targets for urban and rural water with the need to explore innovative approaches highlighting the "interesting work done in Kitui County" by Oxford University in a a special section. The Smart Handpump research and implementation has been led by Patrick Thomson and Rob Hope with colleagues in the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, the School of Geography and the Environment, and the Department of Engineering Science with funding from ESRC, NERC, DFID and the Skoll Centre.


Rural water sustainability in Africa

7 October 2014

UNICEF has signed a partnership agreement with Oxford University to test new models for rural water sustainability in Africa. The two year programme of work is led by Dr Rob Hope with Professor David Bradley, Patrick Thomson and Johanna Koehler, and government and private sector collaborators in Kenya. The work builds on an earlier DFID funded project with the second phase expected to deliver:

  • A scalar and replicable model for the sustainable delivery of rural water services.
  • A pre-payment system that underpins a business model for long-term, local sustainability.
  • Measuring health and burden impacts related to handpump functionality and failure events.

The primary study location is Kitui County, Kenya, with a programme of collaborative initiatives with UNICEF's 21 country offices in the East and Southern Africa region.

Read more


Help us develop a new Protected Area asset framework: please take our survey!

25 September 2014

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and the School of Geography at University of Oxford are creating a new framework to understand protected areas as an asset class. We have converted our draft framework into an-online survey and are requesting assistance in its refinement and development.

The framework's underlying logic rests on the observation that because societies have invested in protecting land and sea-based natural attributes for centuries, PAs can be understood as a type of public and private asset. The project is seeking to make an important conceptual contribution by determining the types of asset found within PAs, the forms of value they create, how they create value, who captures this value, and how different risks might damage or strand the underlying assets and values they create.

The development of this new framework is part of the Project for Protected Area Resiliency. In addition to reinvigorating arguments for protected areas in an increasingly risky and volatile context this project seeks to support the goals of enhanced PA risk management, new investment from old and new sources, and greater 'value for money'.


The bottom line is a sustainability one

21 September 2014 - The Financial Times

The debate about whether socially responsible investment is financially rewarding has been raging for years. Individual studies have found positive and negative effects, while many mainstream investment managers simply have included environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their investment process without waiting for academic evidence.Now a paper from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, part of the University of Oxford, hopes to lay the argument to rest. The paper is a series of metastudies, looking at the available research on how ESG issues affect listed companies.

Read article


Smith School and Arabesque Asset Management publishes new paper

17 September 2014 - Reuters

Good corporate governance and a focus on environmental and social issues by companies lead to higher share price performance, according to a new study released on Monday. The study by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford and Arabesque Asset Management found that such practices lower the cost of capital for a company and ultimately translate into cashflows.

"Based on the growing trend that we are seeing of sustainability entering the corporate mainstream, we believe that the most successful future investors will be those with continuous research programmes that analyze a range of ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors," said Andreas Feiner from Arabesque Asset Management.

The study, based on almost 200 academic researches, industry reports and books, said factors such as good workforce relations, environmental management and executive compensation had a high impact on improvement.

Read paper


Don't get left holding the bag (or the oil can)

28 August 2014 - CampdenFB

Piece featuring SSEE's Stranded Assets Programme with comments by Ben Goldsmith and others.

Read more


Global Future of Retirement series

20 August 2014

Prof Gordon Clark in an interview with Pensions & Investments explains the lack of retirement planning in the UK and praises the Australian Superannuation model.

Watch the video


Smith School to launch Sharing Resource Prosperity Programme

28 July 2014

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment will launch its Sharing Resource Prosperity Programme in Autumn 2014. Sharing resource prosperity is a pressing global priority due to the convergence of demographic, economic and climatic pressures that increasingly result in trade-offs between environmental sustainability, human development, and economic transformation. Funded by a John Fell grant, the SRP Programme aims to link disparate strands of science and policy excellence into an integrated programme of research that responds to challenges faced by governments and enterprise around the world. The project will reach out to leading industry and government to better understand what research innovations are most useful and how integrated programmes for resource management can be most effectively delivered across vastly differing contexts from the deserts of Chile and Mongolia to the river basins of Africa and the forests of India. In bringing together engineers, geographers, business, and development specialists we aim to first address issues facing the extractive industries' management of water scarcity, energy, and biodiversity. Check back for news on our projects, upcoming conferences, and events!


The Government must protect our natural capital

17 July 2014 - Prospect Magazine

Summary of the roundtable discussion hosted by Prospect Magazine and supported by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environemt. The debate examined the definitions of natural capital - which ranges from non-renewable resources such as oil, gas and coal to renewable natural assets such as wildlife - and how do we value it.

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Pension funds urged to publish climate risks

22 June 2014 - The Financial Times

There are growing calls for pension funds to publish their carbon exposure as concern builds over the long-term investments risks of carbon-intensive portfolios. Peter Norman, Sweden's minister for financial markets, says he wants global pension funds to "publish their carbon footprint". He hopes that increasing transparency will lead to a more "thorough and direct" discussion about the risks.

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Keep the climate, change the economy

20 June 2014 - The Guardian

The UN says we need to make a 'massive shift' to renewables to curb climate change. How can we encourage investors?

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Professor Gordon Clark gives lecture at Asia Society in Hong Kong with Vice Chancellor Andrew Hamilton

17 June 2014

Professor Gordon L. Clark, the Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, gave an evening presentation at Asia Society Hong Kong Center in which he touched on the rationale behind the founding of the Smith School and the three programmes to be offered there. Drawing upon his own experience living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he emphasized the effects industrialization has on the environment, and how this process then affects our own living. Among many environmental issues, he focused on climate change, an ongoing problem that many scholars have sought to explain.


Aligning governance and risk - Coping with greater public scrutiny

9 June 2014 - Global Public Investor

Interview with Prof Gordon L. Clark. Designing and implementing mandates of public sector investment institutions to meet to twin challenges of greater market uncertainty and higher public scrutiny has become a major task. Institutions that align governance and risk tend to perform better in extreme market environments. This has big implications for corporate governance and the structure of boards.

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Unconventional energy 'could renew East-West power struggle'

4 June 2014

A new paper led by the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford examines the environmental, economic and political implications of unconventional fuel sources like shale gas and tight oil. It suggests that these novel resources could be a 'blessing for the global economy', but also that the implications go far beyond the economic dimension - redrawing the global map in terms of trade balances, economic competitiveness and, most importantly, the geopolitical balance.

Read press release | Read paper


Mobile offers brighter future for Africa's rural homes

27 May 2014 - BBC News

Smith School's Mobile Water for Development research showcased on BBC News.

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First shots fired in mining battle

25 April 2014 - Australia Financial Review

The decision to loose the Minerals Council on the coal problem says only that the campaign to undermine community, investor and government confidence in Australia's second biggest export industry is beginning to develop potentially debilitating momentum.

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ABC Radio National's Big Ideas Programme on Stranded Assets

10 April 2014

Lecture by Ben Caldecott, Director of the Stranded Assets Programme is broadcasted on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National. John Hewson, former Leader of the Australian Liberal Party and Jemma Green, Research Fellow at Curtin University also speak. Show presented by Paul Barclay. Measures to offset the impact of climate change are likely to reduce demand for fossil fuels. So is it wise to continue to invest in fossil fuels or will they end up as stranded assets with a huge loss in value? Investment analysts discuss the need for governments and private companies to manage environment-related risks.

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Expert comment - Letter: Incomplete climate models lead to complacency

1 April 2014 - The Financial Times

Letter from Cameron Hepburn, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Oxford, responding to an article on economic calculations of the effects of climate change.

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Australian coal investments at risk of becoming 'stranded assets'

24 March 2014 - Radio interview with Fran Kelly

Australia is the world's largest exporter of coal, with a boom over the past decade as black coal exports rose by more than 50 per cent. While prices have slumped over the last two years, plans remain on the books which would more than double Australia's coal exports by 2020. But is proposed investment in new Australian coal projects at risk of becoming a series of 'stranded assets'?

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Global campaign to combat climate change has become too complex to manage, study suggests

12 March 2014

Climate change has been much in the news since Secretary of State Kerry's attack last month against "a tiny minority of shoddy scientists...and extreme ideologues" sparked a war of words between skeptics and believers. Even Warren Buffett has been drawn in, telling CNBC that, while the question of climate change "deserves lots of attention," insurance rates are no higher now than they were five years ago and that over this spell the US has been "remarkably free of hurricanes." Yet, for all the intensity of the disagreements this issue continues to evoke, a new paper, applying a management perspective to global initiatives in this field, suggests that much of the current debates over how real climate change is and what's causing it are beside the point.

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Could the Global Economy Be Facing a Carbon Bubble?

7 March - Time

Three new studies released this month lent weight behind the increasingly popular idea that funneling money into fossil fuels is not only harmful for the environment, it's also potentially calamitous for the global financial system.

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Grief on the Great Barrier Reef - Courier Mail Australia

31 January 2014 - Courier Mail Australia

It's a national and global icon, but an unholy row brews in the underwater cathedral off the Queensland coast, pitting economics against emotion, cash versus conservation.

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New Paper Published

28 January 2014

The volatility of oil prices is 'a fundamental barrier to stability and economic growth' says a new study by the University of Oxford, published in Frontiers in Energy. It recommends a raft of measures to bring prices under control, saying the amount of speculative trading taking place in the oil derivatives market is a large part of the problem. It suggests the 'behaviour of speculators compounds existing volatility' and previously unrelated volatility is spilling over from the stock market to the oil market and vice versa. This has changed the nature of the oil derivatives market, driving it away from its original purpose of 'hedging' - a means by which businesses could protect themselves against price fluctuations, say the researchers from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.

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Utilities Shut 12% of Europe Gas Plants, Oxford Study Shows

17 January 2014 - Businessweek

Ten of Europe's biggest utilities mothballed 21.3 gigawatts of gas-fed stations last year, or 12 percent of Europe's generation fleet, as plants lost money for a second year, according to an Oxford University study.

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Flooding: Scientists look to social media to play its part in flood protection

15 January 2014 - Oxford Mail

Interview with Dr Patrick McSharry for the Oxford Mail.

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