Please see our event webpage for forthcoming events.
8th Sustainable Finance Forum: The Future of Engagement and Active Ownership
13th-14th June 2019 | Waddesdon Manor
The Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, together with The Rothschild Foundation and the KR Foundation, is organising the 8th Sustainable Finance Forum on Thursday 13th and Friday 14th June 2019. The 8th Forum will focus on the future of investor engagement and active ownership. This will be held at Waddesdon Manor - an estate built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in 1874 in Buckinghamshire - with accommodation at nearby Hartwell House. There is no fee for attendance and there will be no more than 60 high-level attendees.
Investors – from the largest institutions (such as pension funds, insurers and sovereign wealth funds) to the smallest millennial retail saver – are increasingly concerned with ensuring that their investments across different asset classes (such as listed equities, bonds, private equity and property) have smaller environmental footprints and that these become better aligned with different environmental thresholds.
Yet there is a pervasive collective action problem in terms of effectively executing concerted and coordinated engagement strategies with other like-minded investors. Further, investor influence on companies and their environmental footprints differs enormously by asset class, sector, and geography, as well as (of course) by the size and reputation of the investor(s) in question.
These are familiar problems and much progress has been made to improve engagement. But much more needs to be done to secure the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Fortunately emerging technologies, changing client preferences, new regulatory landscapes, and evolving economic geographies create new opportunities for more effective engagement and forms of active ownership. Now is also a good moment to take stock of what has been achieved so far, what lessons have been learnt, and to consider what best practice can and should look like in the future and how we achieve it.
The forum will have sessions on these issues, including on using game theory to enhance engagement, the economic geography of engagement, climate litigation, retail investors and fintech, engagement beyond listed equities, and measuring engagement performance.
If you would like to attend, please apply for your place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your position, affiliation, and interest in the topic. We carefully curate each forum to ensure appropriate levels of seniority, representation from different parts of the investment chain, and balance across specialisms and jurisdictions. We will let you know whether you have secured a place in due course. Unfortunately the forums are always heavily oversubscribed and a large number of applications will be unsuccessful.
7th Sustainable Finance Forum
7-8 June 2018 | Waddesdon Manor
The Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme together with The Rothschild Foundation and the KR Foundation are hosting the 7th Sustainable Finance Forum (formerly called the Stranded Assets Forums) on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th June 2018.
The first day of the forum will focus on impact. We will examine the latest developments in how to measure and track the impact investments and investee companies have on climate change and the different Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We will also explore how to reduce information asymmetries in impact investing, both in terms of originating opportunities and finding opportunities within existing company, government, and NGO portfolios. We are particularly interested in how new approaches might be applied in emerging and developing country markets.
The second day will host the 2nd annual meeting of the Asset-level Data Initiative (ADI) and will focus on how to realise the ambition of making accurate, comparable, and comprehensive asset-level data tied to ownership publicly available across key sectors and geographies. ADI was established in 2017 by five founding organisations: the University of Oxford, Stanford University, CDP, World Resources Institute, and 2 Degrees Investing Initiative.
By Invitation only
Inaugural Conference: Northern European Partnership for Sustainable Finance (NEPSF)
6 March 2018, 0900 - 2100 | Guildhall, City of London
Northern Europe is at the very centre of global efforts to align finance with sustainability, including in terms of policy, regulation, and investment practice. But there is an urgent need to further improve this global engine for improving and multiplying the use of sustainable finance.
In response, the Northern European Partnership for Sustainable Finance (NEPSF) has been established as a collaboration designed to ensure that Northern Europe continues to be the centre of innovation in sustainable finance and investment and drives progress internationally. Further success in Northern Europe can support efforts elsewhere in Europe, support supra-national action through the European Union (e.g. Capital Markets Union), and efforts across the G7 and G20. There is also a need for a vehicle to support European cooperation on sustainable finance that straddles both EU and non-EU member states. These efforts will help ensure that capital flows are consistent with the transition to global environmental sustainability and climate resilient development.
The Partnership is being launched at its inaugural conference on Tuesday 6th March 2018 at the City of London's Guildhall. 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.
Activities under the Partnership will develop over time and will need to be i) an innovation in practice or policy, mainstreaming of such innovations, or introducing relevant ideas into new contexts; ii) an activity where cross-border collaboration and coordination across Northern Europe is important to success; iii) additional and not duplicative of existing processes or activities; and iv) impactful and practicable.
More details will be available in due course. In the interim, please save the date or apply to secure your place by contacting us email@example.com.
Symposia on Directors' Liability for Climate Change Damages
Johannesburg, 16 January 2018 | Cape Town, 18 January 2018
The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI) is organising two high-level symposia in South Africa on the legal exposures of company directors to climate change-related damages.
The first symposium will be held at The Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg on Tuesday 16th January 2018. The second symposium will be held at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town on Thursday 18th January 2018. 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. Please apply to attend via firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is now clear that climate change presents material - if not unparalleled - economic risks and opportunities. The Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, together with 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.
Detailed programmes for each symposium will be available later in the year.
Conferences on Climate Change and Liability Risks to Directors, Officers and Companies in Canada Vancouver
18 October 2017 | Toronto, 20 October 2017
The conferences will highlight what leading companies are doing to manage climate change risk and to develop opportunities from the policy transition underway to a low-carbon economy. Please apply to attend via email@example.com.
The conferences will involve leading members of Canada's business, law and investment communities to discuss the liability risks to Canadian directors and companies from failing to take seriously the need to transition to a low-carbon economy, and to think through strategies to ameliorate those risks and to promote strong, facilitative governance and regulatory policies for both companies and investors. Discussions will address (a) boards' and investment trustees' fiduciary obligations to develop climate-resilient strategies; (b) securities disclosure requirements and liability risks; and (c) the best thinking on operationalizing Canada's transition to a low-carbon economy.
These conferences are being developed as part of the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI), a joint initiative originally founded in 2016 by three organisations: The University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, The Prince of Wales' Accounting for Sustainability Project, and ClientEarth. Since then, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University and the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia joined to become founding Canadian partners.
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.
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
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
5th 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
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)
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 Gurría (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
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.
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.
3rd Stranded Assets Forum: Investment Consultants and Green Investment
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.
2nd Stranded Assets Forum: Endowments and Fossil Fuel Divestment
4 September 2014 | Waddesdon Manor | Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH
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).
1st Stranded Assets Forum
14 & 15 March 2014 | Waddesdon Manor | Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH
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.