OPTrust CEO: data analytics key for responsible investment
Hugh O’Reilly, President and CEO of OPTrust, has called for investors to act on climate issues as part of Climate Week NYC 2018, citing that proper measurements are necessary to understand the cost of climate-related risk.
OPTrust is one of the largest pension funds in Canada, with net assets of over $20bn and 92,000 members within its key pension plan.
O’Reilly spoke at a seminar called Accelerating the Path to Climate Action, which was organised by global index provider MSCI and PRI (Principles for Responsible Investing) as part of Climate Week.
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“Whether we take action or not, climate change is already having profound impacts and markets are responding accordingly,” said O’Reilly. “Integrating climate risk is not only necessary, but it is in the best interests of all our Plan members, both today and in the long term.”
OPTrust released its Climate Change Action Plan in June, which includes building climate risk into its investment approach as well as pushing for increased disclosure of climate change related information from its portfolio companies.
“Measurement matters. Accurately pricing risk in a world without commitments to proper climate-related disclosure from corporations is almost an impossible task,” O’Reilly added. “We are focused on developing and using measures and tools that accurately support pricing climate change-related risk.
“This is a quick, reliable way to set the stage for action and start gathering the critical data that we need for proper benchmarking and targets.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.