The potential costs to some companies of insuring their assets against the impact of climate change could equate to more than 4% of their market values, according to our new physical risk assessment.
This new analysis focuses on the often-overlooked risks posed to bricks and mortar from climate change. Disruption from the effects of changing weather patterns globally looks unavoidable – it seems inevitable that risks to physical assets and infrastructure will get bigger. However, most climate analysis focuses on the impacts of steps to limit temperature rises, such as carbon prices or clean energy investment. Physical risks, on the other hand, have received less attention. We feel that this oversight is remiss; the impacts are lower, but they are also more certain.
The analysis is based on the premise that – in theory – companies could insure themselves against the physical damage they may sustain from climate change-induced environmental changes, such as extreme weather events.
Our physical risk framework – which we have applied to over 10,000 companies globally – calculates what businesses would have to pay to insure their physical assets against hazards caused by rising global temperatures and weather disruption.
Comparing that implied cost to companies’ market values provides a systematic way to help measure, monitor and manage the risks companies face.
Which sectors are most affected?
We have identified oil & gas, utilities and basic resources as the sectors most exposed to the physical impact of climate change. The potential cost of insuring their physical assets equates to more than 3% of their market values.
The sectors least at risk are technology, personal & household goods and healthcare.
Predictably, capital-intensive sectors operating in more vulnerable parts of the world face the biggest impacts, whereas those with asset-light business models are least exposed.
The lag between greenhouse gas emissions and temperature rises means a further rise in global temperatures looks inevitable given the emissions we have already released. This physical damage analysis will help inform the investment decisions of our analysts and fund managers, as well as gauge the exposures facing the portfolios they oversee.
Authors: Andrew Howard – Head of Sustainable Research, ESG, Marc Hassler – Sustainable Investment Analyst and Grace Canavan, Head of Intermediary Business Development, Ireland. Website www.Schroders.com and contact number +353 (0) 85 254 9839.
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