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Our Insights 5 Oct 2018

SustainAbility at Climate Week NYC: Innovating Investments for Climate Resilience

By Sarah Volkman

SustainAbility was at Climate Week in New York City last week and will be sharing blog updates about some of the events throughout the week.

Event: Innovating Investments for Climate Resilience, hosted by SustainAbility and  The NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business

On September 25th, during Climate Week, SustainAbility co-hosted with NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business a panel discussion focusing on how the financial sector is innovating in response to climate risk.

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Panelists shared their perspectives on how the field is evolving, new innovations on the horizon, and sparks of hope for the future.

Representatives from two leading global firms – Morgan Stanley and ING – along with Rob Engle, who heads up the NYU Stern Volatility Institute, shared their perspectives on how the field is evolving, new innovations on the horizon, and sparks of hope for the future.

Ann van Riel, Head of Sustainable Finance, Americas at ING, detailed the success of a new product developed in partnership with Philips that links sustainability performance to loan rates. Improved sustainability performance is rewarded with a discount, incentivizing lenders to focus on and improve sustainability performance.

Courtney Thompson of Morgan Stanley’s Global Sustainable Finance team, described how the company is committed to investing $250 million in low carbon solutions by 2030, including developing green bonds with Starbucks to support ethically grown certified coffee, as one example.

While companies are both leveraging opportunities and managing the risks that climate change presents by developing products and new capital investment approaches, Rob Engle and his colleagues at the Volatility Institute are providing critical thought leadership to the field by developing models that assess climate risk. Their V-Lab measures performance over time of 100 publicly traded environmental portfolios and can help us understand the factors that may lead investment strategies to do well when the impacts of climate change are high.

In a period of uncertainty about climate policy (at least in the U.S.), it is reassuring to know that some of the smartest minds in the private sector and academia are hard at work innovating for the future.

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