28-02-2023 · Visie

Quantifying corporate emissions for portfolios

Achieving net zero by 2050 is a daunting task for investors, who face an uphill struggle in analyzing the right data. All companies release carbon emissions that must be reduced if climate change is to be abated. Finding out how much, where and when is often as big a problem as the emissions themselves, and even when the data is collected, it requires expert analysis to make sense of it.

    Auteurs

  • Thijs Markwat

    Climate Data Scientist

  • Laurens Swinkels

    Head of Quant Strategy

The issue is discussed in ‘Corporate carbon emissions data for equity and bond portfolios’, an academic paper by Robeco’s data scientist Thijs Markwat and quant researcher Laurens Swinkels. They compare corporate carbon emissions data from four data providers for investment universes in developed and emerging equity markets, as well as investment grade and high yield credit markets.

Scopes 1,2 and 3

They look at how data for scope 1 emissions, which are generated directly by the company, and Scope 2 emissions, which are created by the energy used, is relatively straightforward. However, the data for Scope 3 emissions generated across the product’s life is much harder to get and then more complex to analyze; indeed, much of it needs to be estimated using an uncertain set of parameters.

Regarding asset classes, emissions data coverage is higher and more consistent across providers for equity markets, but less so for corporate bonds. The paper offers solutions to increase coverage and consistency, and ends on a high note by explaining that the data has become more reliable and uniform over time, with an increasing number of companies reporting their carbon emissions.

Read the full paper

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