Over the summer, several sustainable financing developments of interest to water executives made the news:
Creditors ask coastal cities for their climate plans – At a July hearing of the ad hoc Democratic Senate Committee on the Climate Crisis, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said financial credit rating institutions want answers from coastal cities about how they are preparing for climate-change impacts like sea level rise and whether they can pay for their adaptation plans. Caldwell said he was asked for the first time by credit raters like Moody’s Corp. and Fitch Ratings Inc. – during recent presentations in San Francisco on municipal bonds – about how the city is addressing climate change impacts. He said mayors in Miami, Miami Beach, and Dade County, Florida had told him credit raters are also asking how they are addressing sea level rise.
Goldman Sachs launches sustainable investment group – Goldman Sachs announced establishment of the Sustainable Finance Group in an effort to push investors, bankers, and insurers to act on climate change. The international investment banking firm said, “This group will be responsible for partnering with our businesses to better serve our clients, drive innovation and capture emerging opportunities as sustainable growth becomes more top of mind for investors, institutions and companies around the world.” Environmental leaders observed the initiative as one more way environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment is going mainstream.
Moody’s invests in climate risk analysis – Credit ratings agency Moody’s purchased a majority stake in Four Twenty Seven, a company that provides data and analysis on the physical risks of climate change to corporations and their facilities, an indication of the increasing expectation that companies must voluntarily address climate risks. In its announcement, Moody’s said the new acquisition evaluates and scores the physical risks to companies associated with climate-related factors and other environmental issues, such as heat stress, water stress, extreme precipitation, hurricanes and typhoons, and sea level rise. The data and indicators produced by Four Twenty Seven are used by asset owners, asset managers, banks, corporations, and government agencies to understand and evaluate the potential climate risk they hold in their portfolios and activities.