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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

Day 1: Towards a new consensus on the role of asset-level data, big data, and advanced analytics in shaping company, investor, and regulator responses to environmental risk and opportunity.

Day 2: Asset-level Data Initiative (ADI) - how to realise the ambition of making accurate, comparable, and comprehensive asset-level data tied to ownership publicly available across key sectors and geographies.

The G20 Financial Stability Board (FSB), European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), and Bank of England have all recently warned how environmental factors, particularly physical climate change impacts and societal responses to climate change, could have implications for asset values and even financial stability. While these regulators have 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 and improvements in the way that investors measure their exposure to environmental risk and opportunity this will be extremely challenging. Correcting this major gap is now an urgent priority.

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. These approaches may also help to plug significant gaps in the value of existing corporate-level voluntary reporting.

The Forum will explore some of these emerging areas, as well as critically review current investor approaches for measuring environmental risk and opportunity in investment portfolios in terms of insight, accuracy, and relevancy to practitioners. We are particularly interested in how new approaches might be applied in emerging and developing country markets.

The Forum will also attempt to build some consensus on how to operationalise these development and ensure uptake happens as quickly as possible. In this regard, the second day of the Forum will host the inaugural meeting of the new Asset-level Data Initiative, a new project currently being established by the University of Oxford, Stanford University, CDP, and 2 Degrees Investing Initiative.

By Invitation only

Special Issue in Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment

There is a Special Issue of the Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment associated with this Forum. Details of how to submit papers can be found here.

Download agenda.



Stranded Assets Forum Tokyo

31st 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

Download agenda here in English and Japanese.



Fossil Fuel Supply and Climate Policy: An International Conference

26-27 September 2016 | The Queen's College, Oxford

From investors to activists and world leaders, there is growing interest in whether and how climate policy should seek to limit the supply of fossil fuels in addition to reducing demand. Research suggests a large share fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground to keep warming below 2°C - but achieving this will be a daunting challenge.

For many countries fossil fuel extraction and trade are central to energy security and economic development. And despite growing insights into environmental impacts of fossil fuel extraction and the financial risks of further investment in fossil fuel development, the options for supply-side climate policies and actions, their potential role and effectiveness all remain under-explored.

This two-day conference aims to fill that gap. It will bring together academics and practitioners to discuss how to enable policies, plans and investment decisions on further fossil fuel extraction and trade to be more consistent with long-term global climate and sustainability goals. For further information, see here: http://fossilfuelsandclimate.org



Climate Change Risk and Corporate Governance Directors' Duties and Liability Exposures in a post-Paris World

29-30 August 2016 | University of Melbourne

Climate change presents material - if not unparalleled - economic risks and opportunities. These emerging exposures have implications for corporate governance in climate-risk exposed industries (from financial services to mining, infrastructure, agriculture, and beyond), investors (banks, asset owners and managers) and for the insurance sector (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 and trustees confronted with complex climate change challenges.

The symposium will consider international developments in the law and liability for climate change damages, with a practical, inter-disciplinary perspectives provided by leading directors, economists, investors and insurance-sector executives.

The conference will be of interest to senior practitioners in corporate law, governance, strategy and risk. For further information, see here



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 Accounting for Sustainability and Minster Ellison.

Download agenda here.

In pictures: University of Oxford hosts inaugural CCLI conference



The Rothschild Foundation5th Stranded Assets Forum: Ultra High-Net-Worth Individuals, Private Banks, and the State of Sustainable Investment

15 April 2016 | Waddesdon Manor | Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH

The entire global population of 211,275 ultra high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) was worth US$29.7 trillion in 2014, compared to OECD pension funds with assets of US$24.7 trillion. There also appears to be a propensity for many UHNWIs to be motived in part by ESG considerations - for example wanting to directly or indirectly support social or environmental objectives through their investments, while simultaneously generating an appropriate risk-adjusted returns across their portfolios.

Given this and the scale of capital involved, we feel it is important to find out how good private banks and private wealth managers are at providing advice on green investment topics. Do private banks and private wealth managers posses the skills, training, and expertise to cater to the apparently growing demand for advice on sustainability? If not, what can be done to address this problem and if it is an issue, what are its causes and consequences? Could there be structural barriers preventing the private wealth management industry from catering to these priorities and how could they be resolved? Moreover, what is the state of client demand for these products and services?

This forum will bring together family offices, UHNWIs, foundations, private banks, private wealth managers, and experts in green investment to better understand the issues involved. We are doing this in order to ratchet up the quality of green investment advice provided to UHNWIs. This could help to channel significant capital towards assets compatible with environmental sustainability and away from investments that are not.


By Invitation only

View agenda

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

1st Stranded Assets Forum USA

28th January 2016 | New York City (Harvard Club of New York City)

Download agenda here.

After the Paris climate change conference in December and historic agreements between the United States and other leading countries, as well as major clean tech developments, our inaugural forum in NYC will examine the next major developments in stranded assets-related topics and look at their possible implications for US financial institutions and financial regulators.

Over the last three years the topic of 'stranded assets' created by environment-related factors, including climate change, has loomed larger and larger. Not only has it sparked off one of the fastest growing social movements in history - the fossil free divestment campaign - it has also prompted reaction from a wide-range of key global actors, including President Barack Obama, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Jim Kim (President of the World Bank), Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England and Chair of the G20 Financial Stability Board), Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC), Angel GurrĂ­a (Secretary-General of the OECD), Lord Stern of Brentford, and Ben van Beurden (CEO of Shell plc).

This invitation-only event will provide an opportunity for practitioners to hear about the latest research on stranded assets and carbon asset risk, as well as engage with their peers in the asset owner, asset manager and research community around this key emerging issue.


By Invitation only

The Rothschild Foundation4th Stranded Assets Forum: Environment-Related Risks and the Future of Prudential Regulation and Financial Conduct

23 October 2015 | Waddesdon Manor | Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH

Download summary of proceedings here.

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.

1st Global Conference on Stranded Assets
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.

The Rothschild Foundation3rd Stranded Assets Forum: Investment Consultants and Green Investment

6 March 2015 | Waddesdon Manor | Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH

Download summary of proceedings here.

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.

The Rothschild Foundation2nd Stranded Assets Forum: Endowments and Fossil Fuel Divestment

4 September 2014 | Waddesdon Manor | Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH

Download summary of proceedings here.

The Rothschild Foundation and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment announced the Second Forum on Stranded Assets taking place at Waddesdon Manor.

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).


The Rothschild Foundation1st Stranded Assets Forum

14 & 15 March 2014 | Waddesdon Manor | Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH

Download summary of proceedings here.

The Rothschild Foundation and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment had the pleasure of hosting the First Forum on Stranded Assets taking place at Waddesdon Manor, a National Trust property in the heart of Buckinghamshire built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in 1874.

There are a wide range of environment-related risks that could result in 'stranded assets', where assets suffer from unanticipated or premature write-downs and devaluations. These risks range from climate change, through to new environmental regulations, developments in clean energy technology, and litigation, and these are poorly understood and regularly mispriced.

The Stranded Assets Forum brought together a select number of key people from across the investment chain to better understand these risks, their consequences and how to develop effective responses to the challenges they could generate.

The March 2014 Forum was the first of a series at Waddesdon Manor on stranded assets over 2014 and 2015.