Sustainable Finance

Equinox 0.4 release focuses on green public procurement functionality

On Earth Day 2022 we are happy to release a significant update of Equinox, the open source platform supporting sustainable portfolio management

Reading Time: 1 min.
Equinox is an open source platform that supports holistic risk management and reporting in the context of Sustainable Portfolio Management. The platform integrates geospatial information with applicable regulatory and industry standards, for example the GHG Protocol (accounting for Project based, Corporate and City-Wide greenhouse gas emissions), the IPCC Emissions Factor database and further reference data, the PCAF attribution methodologies (and more) to provide a holistic view of the footprint of both individual projects and portfolios.
Two New Taxonomies Introduced in the Open Risk Manual

Two New Taxonomies Introduced in the Open Risk Manual

Reading Time: 3 min.
The Role of Open Risk Manual Taxonomies A taxonomy is the categorization of concepts. It can be a very useful tool in supporting effective knowledge management. Fundamentally a taxonomy is a scheme of classification, typically a hierarchical classification, in which things or concepts are organized into groups or types of increasing specificity. Mathematically, a hierarchical taxonomy is a tree structure of classifications for a given set of objects. It is sometimes also named a containment hierarchy.
Input Output Models as Graph Networks

Input Output Models as Graph Networks

We discuss the relation of economic input-output models with graph theory and networks

Reading Time: 15 min.
Motivation Fig 1. An economic network as a graph. The economy is a complex tangle of various agents that interact via transactions (sales and purchases) and contracts (lending, investing). In recent times more and more techniques from graph theory and network science are brought to bear on economic analysis. On the other hand, ever since the seminal contributions of Leontief, Input-Output Models (IO) have been widely used to describe economic relationships between economic actors (e.
Open Risk Academy Course: Input-Output Models with Python

Open Risk Academy Course: Input-Output Models with Python

A DeepDive Course into using Python to work with Input-Output Models

Reading Time: 2 min.
What are Input-Output Models? Environmentally Extended Multi-Regional Input-Output (EE MRIO) tables describe economic relationships of economic actors (e.g. industrial sectors) operating within and between regions and their environmental repercussions. An EE MRIO augments the more basic and historically first proposed Input-Output Models (IO) with additional datasets and/or modeling assumptions in order to provide insights into the environmental foorprint of economic activity. Presently, the emphasis on negative externalities of economic activity (e.
Integrating the IPCC Emissions Factors Database Into Equinox

Integrating the IPCC Emissions Factors Database Into Equinox

In the latest update of the Equinox Project we discuss the integration of reference data an in particular greenhouse gas emissions factors as catalogued in the IPCC Emissions Factors database (EFDB).

Reading Time: 2 min.
Equinox is an open source platform that supports the holistic risk management and reporting of major sustainable finance projects (the financing of projects with material physical footprint) such as project finance. Equinox aims to integrate in the database a number reference databases that facilitate tasks of sustainable portfolio management. In the current focus such reference material concerns the emissions factors for various processes and activities. In the latest (Solstice Day!) update of the Equinox Project we discuss the integration of reference data an in particular greenhouse gas emissions factors as catalogued in the IPCC Emissions Factors database (EFDB).
Open Risk White Paper: Sustainable Portfolio Management - Attribution and Allocation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Open Risk White Paper: Sustainable Portfolio Management - Attribution and Allocation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

We develop an analytic framework that synthesizes current approaches to sustainable portfolio management in the context of addressing climate change. We discuss the different required information layers, approaches to emissions accounting, attribution and forward-looking limit frameworks implementing carbon budget constraints.

Reading Time: 3 min.
The frontpage graphic is adapted from Steffen et al. “Planetary Boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet". Science (2015). The Planetary Boundaries concept was proposed in 2009 by this group of Earth system and environmental scientists. The group suggested that finding a “safe operating space for humanity” is a precondition for sustainable development. The framework is based on scientific evidence that human actions since the Industrial Revolution have become the main driver of global environmental change.
5000 Members of Sustainable Finance Subreddit

5000 Members of Sustainable Finance Subreddit

The Sustainable Finance forum is dedicated to news, events, ideas, research, funding, data and tools relevant to sustainable finance and has just crossed the five thousand member threshold!

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Interest in Sustainable Finance is growing What is “Sustainable Finance”? A working definition is: A financial system that takes into account environmental, social and governance considerations to ensure long term sustainability of the human economy. You can imagine that with a scope and ambition that sweeping, the devil hidden in the details will be of gargantuan size. The definitions of so-called ESG factors, the incorporation of sustainability into business strategies, the governance, policies and risk management applicable to ESG Risks, the ESG and climate-related disclosures and the development of “green” financial products are all topics that combine urgency, complexity and potentially dramatic impact.
Sustainability Is Not a Point It Is a Surface of Possibilities

Sustainability Is Not a Point It Is a Surface of Possibilities

Sustainability is depicted as a curve to bend, a temperature threshold to secure. A useful visual model is to see sustainability as a surface of possibilities. Achieving environmental objectives still allows widely differing choices that may not all be equally desirable.

Reading Time: 8 min.
Bending the Curve - Sustainability as a One Dimensional Exercise The opening of the Global Scenario Group report “Bending the Curve: Toward Global Sustainability” by Paul Raskin, Gilberto Gallopin, Pablo Gutman, Al Hammond and Rob Swart, published in 1998 goes as follows: Over the last few centuries, a mere heartbeat of historic time, humanity has moved to the brink of a new evolutionary milestone - the planetary phase of civilization. The world economy is expanding and becoming more integrated, profoundly reshaping the cultural and political landscape everywhere.
9 Things They Do Not Tell You About Risk Management

9 Things They Do Not Tell You About Risk Management

Risk management means different things to different people. In this post we explore some truths about professional risk management that highlight both the challenges it is facing as a discipline and the significant role it can play towards a sustainable future

Reading Time: 12 min.
9 things they do not tell you about risk management Risks don’t fall from the sky, they are generated by other people Informal Risk Management was practiced by individuals since time immemorial. This is the domain of intuitive decision-making, assessing a situation on the spot and taking immediate action to avoid obvious risks. Over aeons empirical risk management has collected a treasure of heuristics, rules of thumb and colorful Risk Management One-Liners such as: There is never only one cockroach.
Equinox: a Platform for Sustainable Project Finance Risk Management

Equinox: a Platform for Sustainable Project Finance Risk Management

On Earth Day 2021 we are happy to launch Equinox, an open source platform supporting sustainable project finance

Reading Time: 5 min.
Equinox is an open source platform that supports holistic risk management and reporting of Sustainable Finance (Sustainable Portfolio Management). The platform integrates geospatial information with applicable regulatory and industry standards from EBA, PCAF and Equator Principles to provide a holistic view of the footprint of both individual projects and portfolios, in particular of project finance investments. Motivation Sustainability (understood in environmental, economic and social terms) is emerging as an undisputed constraint that will shape future human activity and more specifically how the financial system facilitates and empowers economic life.
Stress Testing of the Future - A view from 2031

Stress Testing of the Future - A view from 2031

What is the future of stress testing? We speculate on how stress testing might look like in 2031

Reading Time: 13 min.
What is the future of stress testing? To speculate on the future of Stress Testing we need first a basic definition what stress testing is. Broadly speaking, the goal of Stress Testing is to assess how a system would behave under adverse conditions that - while not the most likely outcome with the knowledge of today - are within the realm of the plausible. There are, broadly speaking, two types of stress testing: The Real stress testing version and Hypothetical stress testing version.
Is Global Debt Truly Astronomical?

Is Global Debt Truly Astronomical?

People frequently use the term 'astronomical' to describe global debt levels, but is this factually true? In this commentary we discuss whether that is really true

Reading Time: 11 min.
Is the size of global debt truly “astronomical”? The notion of astronomical numbers and figures is quite frequently seeping in everyday language when large quantities of something are encountered in “normal” life. The strict definition of astronomical is obviously something of, or relating to, astronomy and astronomical observations but in common usage it also denotes something enormously or inconceivably large. This is, of course, because astronomical figures are inconceivably large!
NACE Classification and the EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy

NACE Classification and the EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy

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NACE Classification and the EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy: The integration of climate risk and broader sustainability constraints into risk management is a monumental task and many tools are still lacking. Yet there is strong support and bold initiatives from policy bodies and an increasing focus from the private sector side. The EU (Sustainable Finance) Taxonomy is one such initiative of fundamental significance as it attempts to map at a granular level economic activities with respect to their climate risk mitigation or adaptation potential and create tangible metrics and thresholds to measure progress (the ultimate anti-greenwashing treatment)
NACE Economic Activity Pictograms

NACE Economic Activity Pictograms

Reading Time: 2 min.
Representing economic activity using pictograms: Visualization can produce significant new insights when applied to quantitative data. It is currently undergoing a renaissance that mirrors other developments in computing and data science. Sophisticated open source libraries such as d3.js or matplotlib, to name but a couple, are enabling an ever wider range of users to distill valuable information from the avalanche of data being produced. Yet when it comes to visualizing data that relate to abstract concepts it can be quite difficult to find an appropriate grammar to express the quantitative context.
Can accounting ever be sexy? From IFRS 9 to sustainability and the blockchain

Can accounting ever be sexy? From IFRS 9 to sustainability and the blockchain

Reading Time: 1 min.
Accounting probably would not count among the more glamorous of professions. The reasons for that status and whether it is justified are beyond the scope of this brief commentary. What is interesting to note, though, is that the relative attractiveness of accounting is arguably improving, driven by a number of systemic societal developments: the need for more proactive assessment of the state of the world, eliminating the infamous “rear-view mirror” pathology.
Fintech, embrace your inner regulator!

Fintech, embrace your inner regulator!

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Fintech, embrace your inner regulator! 2017 is shaping to be the year of #regtech, aka new technology startups setting up digital shop to help the financial services sector cope with its heavy regulatory burden. But what is regulation? Why is it a burden and how does it relate to real risks and risk management? The narratives around financial regulation have been, for some time, completely dominated by the so-called compliance perspective.
Business Model Risk

Business Model Risk

Reading Time: 5 min.
Business Model Risk - The Forgotten Risk Type: Sustainable business models that demonstrate adequate profitability over long horizons are key to a healthy market economy. This applies to firms and organizations of any size and in any sector. But how do we determine what is sustainable and how can we tell a risky business structure from a stable one? On the small-scale end of the size spectrum we have the domain of startups and SME’s.
Risk Management Skills for the Fintech Era

Risk Management Skills for the Fintech Era

Reading Time: 6 min.
Risk Management Skills for the Fintech Era Risk Management Skills for the Fintech Era: Financial services jobs continue being decimated. A recent (as of the initial post date) FT article was a sobering summary of the continuing transformation of the financial sector: 2015 alone has seen more than 10% reduction of the total workforce across large EU/US banks: As main drivers for this true jobs hecatomb are cited higher minimum capital requirements (that depress Return on Equity and hence require lower costs to restore it to investor acceptable levels), low interest rates that erode Profitability Margins, and a generally subdued economic landscape which reduces Volumes.
The mystery of the collapsed cathedral

The mystery of the collapsed cathedral

Reading Time: 6 min.
The mystery of the collapsed cathedral: You walk to the center of an old city and you see its glorious cathedral lying in ruins. What in the world has happened here? Your investigative instinct goes into overdrive. This is not supposed to happen. Not in peacetime anyway. How can it be that this magnificent edifice, after gracing the town’s central square for who knows how many centuries, is now little more than a rubble pile in the center of town?
Its all about balance these days!

Its all about balance these days!

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In our personal lives, it is the balance between work and life, or the dreadful weight balance. In the professional sphere it might be the balance between debt and equity in the financial industry, or the balance between convenience and citizen privacy in the new tech industry, or the welfare of the many balanced against the property of the few, or finally the geopolitical balance of power of different peoples Balance ensures sustainability as it helps steer away from the risks that lurk at the extremes.