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Standard Chartered, Imperial College Strike Climate Partnership

Jackie Bennion, Deputy Editor, 14 February 2020

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The bank has struck a four-year deal with the venerable London university to quantify climate risk and feed research back into its investment approach.

As climate change continues to forge new alliances, emerging markets giant Standard Chartered is teaming up with Imperial College Business School to push forward on climate financial risk.

The union will embrace a four-year programme giving the bank access to research from Imperial’s Centre for Climate Finance & Investment. The unit was set up in 2017 to research how capital markets are responding to global climate change and help investors and policymakers get a better handle on the risks and opportunities availing themselves as markets shift towards low-carbon economies.

Specifially, Standard Chartered will bankroll new research projects in risk management, scenario modeling, and financial risk assessment, the partners announced in details shared yesterday. The programme will answer questions on “how new government policies will impact global trade, how organizations can build financial resilience to risks such as flooding, and how energy companies can navigate a zero-carbon transition,” the bank said.

It is a move that will be watched by other large financial institutions wanting to lock into climate expertise being generated by leading research centers which can subseqently feed back into their investment process. Imperial, already home to years of climate modeling research by the Grantham Institute, as well as programs at the University of Oxford are among those leading UK climate research.

In the US, Stanford, Harvard, and Duke are all heavily invested, as are campuses in California notably around the state's progressive cap and trade carbon policies. Academic/banking alliances will only increase and mark a feather in the cap for finance houses wanting to claim the higher ground.

In the deal struck with Standard Chartered, Imperial, which operates across nine London campuses, will provide education and training at the board level and throughout the bank's businesses as part of the arrangement.

“We are very pleased to be working with Standard Chartered, one of world’s largest emerging markets banks and a demonstrated leader on the issue of sustainability,” said Dr Charles Donovan, executive director of the Centre for Climate Finance and Investment at the school. Its support is “a testament to not only the bank’s commitment in this area but also the pace and scale of the challenges ahead.”

Standard Chartered chief risk officer Mark Smith said, “The better we can quantify the risks, the higher are our chances for developing effective responses as a society.”

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