San Francisco became ‘the place to be’ in sustainable investment last week, when the city hosted two major conferences:

  • California Governor Jerry Brown and co-host Michael Bloomberg convened the 4000+ delegates Global Climate Action Summit 2018, which aimed to spur a surge of climate action and commitments from regions, cities, businesses, investors and the civil society; and calling on governments everywhere to step up their efforts to tackle climate change.
  • At the same time, some 1,200 delegates attended the largest ever Principles for Responsible Investment's (PRI) annual conference, PRI in Person.

The sheer size of these two events and the number of influential speakers across politics, civil society and businesses including Al Gore, Christiana Figueres, Lord Nicholas Stern, and Harrison Ford, clearly demonstrates that the practice of incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions has now moved from a niche to a mainstream activity. In particular, many of the side events hosted around town stressed an urgent need for investors to assess the climate-related risks that their portfolios are exposed to, disclose their findings and act on the opportunities identified as part of the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient world.

Lisa Eichler, Co-Head of the Strategic Climate Solutions team at Ortec Finance played an active role in San Francisco letting investors know that as a global technology and solutions provider, Ortec Finance is taking its responsibility very seriously by ensuring that sustainability is fully integrated across our investment decision support tools. Lisa's intervention as part of a panel focused on climate resilience risks and metrics brought a new perspective to forward-looking scenario analysis complementing existing bottom-up, company-level focused approaches: our innovation is the development of a climate-savvy scenariosets & corresponding ALM/SAA software. This innovation is one of the first tools of its kind to integrate quantified risks associated with climate change into standard forward-looking financial scenariosets that drive strategic investment decision-making. This novel approach can bring the climate change conversation to the boards of asset owners and therefore would anchor it at the very highest levels in the investment decision hierarchy.

Similarly, Lisa has contributed to the initial launch discussions of the OS-C platform, a new initiative of building an Open Source collaboration community and platform of data and modeling for climate-smart investment in the 21st century economy. During this event, she stressed the importance of leveraging climate scientific research to inform climate-savvy investment decision-making. The non-profit OS-C Platform will work like an “operating system” drawing together available ESG/climate data and that enables 3rd Parties to build “applications” in the form of superior investment analytics, decision tools, and investment products to meet the critical need across asset classes, sectors, and regions. As such it is very much aligned with Ortec Finance's approach on the topic: tackling one of the biggest global challenges of our time works best when bringing together all available knowledge and building solutions together.

Overall, attending the San Francisco events was very inspiring and re-confirmed the urgent need for what Willemijn Verdegaal and Lisa Eichler have set out to do since the beginning of this year: the new Strategic Climate Solutions team at Ortec Finance is combining research-backed ESG and climate change insights with standard investment process modeling and analysis. Integrating sustainability across all of Ortec Finance's investment decision-making tooling, thereby helping our clients understand their sustainability risks and opportunities, enabling them to act on their values and meet regulatory requirements – all through efficient integrated software solutions.