May 7 lunch: Climate Risk & Finance

Tuesday, May 7, 11:30AM- 1:00PM, E62-250


Dr. Blair Feltmate of the University of Waterloo will present on climate change risk and finance, followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Feltmate and MIT Sloan’s Robert Pindyck (Finance and Economics) and Jason Jay (Sustainability Initiative).


Prioritization Framework to Factor Climate Change and Extreme Weather Risk into Institutional Portfolio Management and Credit Risk Analysis

A warming climate and associated extreme weather risks (e.g., flood/drought, fire, hail, wind, extreme heat/cold, storm surge/sea level rise, etc.) can impact the operations and cash flow of companies spanning many, if not all, industry sectors. In some cases, these impacts could be material to the point of affecting the share price of a publicly traded issuer (e.g., through supply chain disruption), or the capacity of a borrower to repay a loan. Under these circumstances, it could be prudent for a portfolio manager to make adjustments to the weighting or inclusion of equities in a portfolio, or for a credit manager to adjust the credit rating of a borrower.

The fiduciary responsibility of institutional investors and credit rating agencies to account for material climate change and extreme weather risk impacts (“climate risk”) is not in question. However, despite the inclination that portfolio and credit managers may have to incorporate climate risk into investment/risk analysis, what is missing is a prioritization framework that identifies material climate risks that are specific to industry sectors.

This presentation will focus on how to develop an industry-specific climate-risk framework that will provide practical guidance to institutional managers and credit rating agencies. 


Dr. Blair Feltmate

Blair is Head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo. The Intact Centre is an incubator for research and knowledge mobilization, with an aim to limit the negative impacts associated with climate change and extreme weather events in Canada. The Intact Centre was made possible through the generosity of Intact Financial Corporation.

Previous positions Blair has held include Vice President, Sustainable Development, Bank of Montreal; Director, Sustainable Development, OPG; Partner, Sustainable Investment Group/YMG Capital Management; and President, Sustainable Systems Associates. His early career began by developing the sustainable development programs for such companies as Noranda, Falconbridge, Placer Dome, Barrick Gold, Consumers Gas and the American Chemistry Council (Washington).

He is Chair, Federal Government of Canada Expert Panel on Climate Adaptation and Resilience Results, and he is Chair, Adaptation, Canadian Climate and Clean Growth Institute. He is also Chair, Electricity Transmission and Distribution Adaptation Standard, Canadian Standards Association (CSA); he serves on other flood mitigation Standards committees for CSA. He was Chair/Founder of the Sustainable Electricity Program, Canadian Electricity Association. Blair is also on the Advisory Board of the Global Risk Institute, which is a primary advisor to Canada’s major pension funds.

Blair has written textbooks on Sustainable Banking (University of Toronto Press), and Aquatic Ecology (CAB International). He is generally interviewed by TV/radio/newspapers 100-150 times per year, primarily on the subject of how to address climate change. He speaks regularly to governments (nationally / internationally) and industry sectors on the need and means to adjust to a changing climate.

Blair was an NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellow (University of Waterloo); he holds a Ph.D, Theoretical and Applied Ecology (University of Toronto); M.Sc., Zoology (U of T); M.A., Sustainable Development (Wilfrid Laurier University); Hon. B.Sc., Geography.