Warwick Business School is inviting applications for a postdoctoral research fellow on a project led by Katharina Dittrich, entitled “Financially redesigning the Anthropocene: Investigating tools, data, and practices for climate risks and targets”.
Capital allocation is a powerful way of distributing agency – both diverting and directing it. The consequences of this feature of financial markets have never been limited to only direct market participants but, of course, stretch out into virtually all spheres of societies and environments. To a large extent, the global climate crisis is one of these consequences. This research project looks at the various finance-focused programmes that are currently pursued to manage the climate crisis as leveraging this feature of financial markets to redistribute – purposefully divert and direct – agency towards more sustainable economies and societies. These programmes could be described, in other words, as attempts to ‘financially re-design’ the Anthropocene.
This four-year academic research project, funded by the UK Research and Innovation Council and launched in October 2020, aims at tracing these attempts by focusing on one core challenge: the production of actionable data and analytics for climate risks and alignment targets which enable climate risk and impact management practices in the investment industry. While a lot of different high-level policy, NGO and industry programmes have recently been initiated, we are interested in how the proposed tools, data and manuals are actually implemented, used and combined in financial every-day practices. Through the practical integration of climate risk and impact programmes, we currently see an emerging, quickly evolving and still to-be-consolidated financial climate ‘knowledge infrastructure’, which draws on tools and data from an ecosystem of various actors. Four types of actors that are active in climate-related investment practices ‘on the ground’, and which we currently work with, are: institutional investors, investor networks, analytics and data providers, and NGOs. The project is international in scope, with a particular focus on the UK and Europe.
Following a qualitative research approach, we are a team of four researchers drawing on observations, interviews and documents to trace in real-time how those different organisations respond to and engage with climate-related financial risks and alignment targets through deploying and employing climate tools, data and practices. We have just completed the first round of data collection and analysis, and are now preparing for 2nd wave in which we will focus on three particular themes: the production, curation and use of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions data; the development of particular devices, such as portfolio temperature metrics; and the evolution of frameworks for science-based target setting. In addition, we will also expand data collection to additional research partners and sites.