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04 Dec 2020

Investing in the 1.5°C scenario with Paris-aligned portfolios

What does it mean to align your business with a 1.5°C scenario?

The Paris Agreement provided for the limiting of global warming to 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level, with an absolute maximum of 2°C. As market participants increasingly adopt the ambitious 1.5°C target as their central scenario, more and more companies must urgently address the logistics of putting this major change into effect.

If you’re an asset manager, an insurer, or an energy provider, the questions are the same: how can you halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030? How do you move on to achieve ‘net zero’ by 2050? And just as importantly, what steps can you take to bring investors on the journey? Or, as an investor, how can you encourage your portfolio companies to take that journey themselves?

On 18 November 2020, Lyxor ETF sought to answer these questions. In a panel with some of Europe’s top asset managers, insurers and energy providers, we debated this central issue of climate investing in 2020. 

Looking for a replay? Scroll down to the bottom of the article to watch the video. Otherwise, keep reading to catch up on some highlights.

Panellists

Dr. Marc-Gregor Czaja, CFA – Global Head of Equities and Derivatives - Investment Strategy (Allianz Investment Management)

Erick Decker – CIO Southern Europe and New Markets & Head Responsible Investment (AXA)

François Millet – Head of Strategy, ESG & Innovation (Lyxor ETF)

John MacArthur – Vice President Group Carbon (Shell)

Liza Jonson – Chief Executive Officer (Swedbank Robur)

Moderated by Matthieu Mouly – Chief Client Officer at Lyxor ETF


Matthieu: How far has carbon reporting come, Marc-Gregor? Is It still a bit ‘wild west’ out there?

Marc-Gregor:

“My assessment is that we are heading in the right direction but we’re not there yet. Carbon reporting is past the stage of the ‘wild west’, but it’s still not a completely established business. Reporting on client carbon data is still voluntary, and has some holes – especially for forward-looking data.

If we look at global large-cap companies: 10% have set SBTs [Science Based Targets], 10% have other types of quantitative targets, and another 30% have what I call ‘qualitative statements’. So, around 50% of large-cap companies say something about forward looking plans – that’s simply not enough. Forward-looking data matters more to investors than backward-looking carbon data.

The progress is there. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is a good basis. The Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) is excellent. The UK has recently announced mandatory reporting according to TCFD standards – that’s what we need, to move firmly from wild west into established territory.”

Matthieu: Erick, how does AXA use the TCFD recommendation framework and Science Based Targets?

Erick:

“We are all facing the same question – how to get information we can compare across corporates, and how to use that information to make investment decisions. At AXA, we merge the TCFD recommendations with the obligations of Article 173* in France.

What we must describe in the TCFD are the strategy, the risks, the KPIs [Key Performance Indicators] and the reporting framework. What is most important? For us, the KPIs.

Looking at ex post carbon footprint doesn’t really help in terms of investment strategy and where you need to go to meet a net zero objective. You need forward-looking data, forward-looking indicators, and forward-looking commitments.

Everything starts with the corporates. If there are no commitments, it’s hard to have a forward-looking KPI. KPIs must be calculated using information that corporates can provide.

We like SBTi [Science Based Targets initiative], and we would like as many companies as possible within the SBTi framework – a convergence of providers using that kind of data to provide some kind of KPI, rating, or message for investors like us to understand whether specific companies are on a transition path to net zero.”

Matthieu: Liza, at Swedbank Robur you are well ahead of the curve, targeting Paris alignment by 2025 and net zero by 2040. How have you approached this challenge?

Liza:

“I agree with Erick – it’s all about having forward-looking data. Our approach at Swedbank Robur is to have these ambitious strategies and targets, based on a central thesis that climate change poses the greatest financial risk to the global economy. We are one of the largest asset managers in the Nordic region and we have set a clear mission – if you need to align an asset manager you need to have the PMs [Portfolio Managers] and entire company behind you to make this huge shift.

I have spent the last three weeks with each of Swedbank’s portfolio managers, the head of investment and head of sustainability. Each of the portfolio managers has presented their strategy for being Paris-aligned by 2025.

It won’t be an easy step. We have been disclosing CO2 footprint for several years, but as the others have mentioned, that’s in the past. It doesn’t measure the future path, nor Scope 3 and 4** emissions.

In future, we need metrics from companies: sustainability reports and Science Based Targets. If we don’t get these, those companies won’t be investable for us. We can’t assess your company unless we know which path you are on, or heading for.

The TCFD framework is great because it brings attention to the four components of climate reporting. To make it relevant, we really need the SBTs, where we see you are really committed to one path.”


These are edited highlights of the panel discussion. You can listen to the full debate, including speakers from Shell and Lyxor ETF, by watching the video below.

Explore our range of Climate Transition and Paris-Aligned ETFs, designed to align with the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious goal – to limit global warming to 1.5°C 

*Article 173-VI of the French Law on Energy Transition for Green Growth came into effect in January 2016, and covers ambitious targets around GHG emissions reductions, energy consumption and share of fossil fuels versus renewables
**’Scope 4 emissions’ is a proposed term for ‘avoided emissions’.

Risk Warning

This document is for the exclusive use of investors acting on their own account and categorised either as “Eligible Counterparties” or “Professional Clients” within the meaning of Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2014/65/EU. These products comply with the UCITS Directive (2009/65/EC). Société Générale and Lyxor International Asset Management (LIAM) recommend that investors read carefully the “investment risks” section of the product’s documentation (prospectus and KIID). The prospectus and KIID are available free of charge on www.lyxoretf.com, and upon request to client-services-etf@lyxor.com.

Except for the United-Kingdom, where this communication is issued in the UK by Lyxor Asset Management UK LLP, which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK under Registration Number 435658, this communication is issued by Lyxor International Asset Management (LIAM), a French management company authorized by the Autorité des marchés financiers and placed under the regulations of the UCITS (2014/91/EU) and AIFM (2011/61/EU) Directives. Société Générale is a French credit institution (bank) authorised by the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (the French Prudential Control Authority).

The products mentioned are the object of market-making contracts, the purpose of which is to ensure the liquidity of the products on the London Stock Exchange, assuming normal market conditions and normally functioning computer systems. Units of a specific UCITS ETF managed by an asset manager and purchased on the secondary market cannot usually be sold directly back to the asset manager itself. Investors must buy and sell units on a secondary market with the assistance of an intermediary (e.g. a stockbroker) and may incur fees for doing so. In addition, investors may pay more than the current net asset value when buying units and may receive less than the current net asset value when selling them. Updated composition of the product’s investment portfolio is available on www.lyxoretf.com. In addition, the indicative net asset value is published on the Reuters and Bloomberg pages of the product, and might also be mentioned on the websites of the stock exchanges where the product is listed.

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Lyxor International Asset Management (“LIAM”) or its employees may have or maintain business relationships with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that LIAM and its employees may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision. Please see appendix at the end of this report for the analyst(s) certification(s), important disclosures and disclaimers. Alternatively, visit our global research disclosure website www.lyxoretf.com/compliance.

Conflicts of interest 

This research contains the views, opinions and recommendations of Lyxor International Asset Management (“LIAM”) Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists. To the extent that this research contains trade ideas based on macro views of economic market conditions or relative value, it may differ from the fundamental Cross Asset and ETF Research opinions and recommendations contained in Cross Asset and ETF Research sector or company research reports and from the views and opinions of other departments of LIAM and its affiliates. Lyxor Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists routinely consult with LIAM sales and portfolio management personnel regarding market information including, but not limited to, pricing, spread levels and trading activity of ETFs tracking equity, fixed income and commodity indices. Trading desks may trade, or have traded, as principal on the basis of the research analyst(s) views and reports. Lyxor has mandatory research policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to (i) ensure that purported facts in research reports are based on reliable information and (ii) to prevent improper selective or tiered dissemination of research reports. In addition, research analysts receive compensation based, in part, on the quality and accuracy of their analysis, client feedback, competitive factors and LIAM’s total revenues including revenues from management fees and investment advisory fees and distribution fees.

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