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An Innovation Agenda for Climate Resilience,
Adaptation and Mitigation Through Data
When: Wednesday 22 January 07:30 – 08:45
Where: *venue update* WTW House, Promenade 87 (near Belvedere Hotel) [NB: invitation-only]
Our data infrastructure is as important as our physical infrastructure in averting the climate crisis but it is being dangerously neglected. The wealth of data must be made usable to help us address climate and environmental risks and to radically improve our investments in, and planning and management of our global infrastructure.
This discussion will convene finance sector leaders, as well as engineering and construction firms, national planners and regulators, and supranational bodies, to plan the concrete steps needed to advance an innovation agenda around data availability, quality and interoperability that will enable society to mitigate, remediate and adapt to climate change.
This meeting has been supported by the World Economic Forum’s Resilience Action Platform and in collaboration with Icebreaker One, who are developing standards to bridge the data gaps between finance and climate change.
Climate-related disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires and flooding have increased significantly in frequency and intensity, leaving communities, businesses and governments alike dealing with an aftermath of costly damages and devastating losses. In 2018 alone, economic damages reached USD 225 billion.
Faced with these intertwined calamities we have three potential responses: to stop the damage (mitigation), to repair the damage (remediation) and to adapt to the damage that is irreversibly occurring now (adaptation). While there is an ocean of available capital, the lack of data-flow is leading to misallocation of resources, missed opportunities and is creating catastrophic risks on our global balance sheets.
Huge opportunities exist to deliver innovative financing for a resilient and carbon-zero future.
Core partners and potential collaborators will discuss how the data economy can be shaped to:
- Enable climate-ready financial instruments
- Enable climate-aware risk management
- Enable climate-credible deployment of robust, long-term solutions
Addressing the climate crisis requires us to combine innovation across finance, policy, our physical and data infrastructures. What could an innovation agenda look like to create systemic change across diverse, unconventional and influential partnerships?
Icebreaker One is a new initiative bringing together financial actors to develop an open standard for data sharing, that will create financial products driving investment in climate action. This is an opportunity to learn about the initiative, shape its strategy for the coming year and explore opportunities to be involved.
Governor of Bank of England Mark Carney,
“We call on policymakers and the financial sector to collaborate to
bridge the data gaps to enhance the assessment of climate-related risks”
Governor of Banque de France François Villeroy de Galhau,
Chair of the Network for Greening the Financial Services Frank Elderson,
Explore the blockers and opportunities relating to economic innovation that can address the climate crisis and what actions need to be taken.
We live in the best of times and the worst of times. The last 25 years have seen a massive increase in intelligence thanks to the information technology revolution and yet we are staring down the barrel of global catastrophe as the natural systems upon which all of humanity relies are stressed and stretched to breaking point. Uncontrollable climate change and massive species loss are not dim and distant risks—we are witnessing the early warning signs today.
We are blessed and cursed with this knowledge. It impels us to take action and yet there is no clear plan for how we should act and there are severe headwinds holding us back. We outline a potential framework for action at a high-level—an approach to the dual risks we now face that enables and facilitates action on multiple levels and across all jurisdictions. An approach founded on the principle that facilitation of information and data flows will increase our resilience.
The wealth of data we have must now be made usable to help us address climate and environmental risks and to radically improve our investments in, and planning and management of our global infrastructure. While there is an ocean of available capital, the lack of data-flow is leading to a misallocation of resources, missed opportunities and is creating catastrophic risks on our global balance sheets. Our data infrastructure is as important as our physical infrastructure in averting the climate crisis but it is being dangerously neglected.
We have an ocean of available capital and an abundance of data
While capital might be ready, and even abundant, to support initiatives that could help build resilience, the lack of transparency of risk because of inadequate access to data that would enable robust risk modelling, prevents transformational finance solutions.
Much of our existing infrastructure around the world is at risk from short and long-term environmental-related risks and disasters. Many new infrastructure projects are limited in addressing issues such as resilience and adaptation or emissions reduction. The resilience dividend has total benefits outweighing costs by a ratio potential of up to 4:1 and is rarely captured in disaster risk reduction planning.
Our demand for, and needs from, data are growing and this is recognised and supported across the international 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, and development finance. At the same time, data is becoming more complex: there is more of it and more challenges as a result.
Open standards and interoperability are increasingly needed and being used to solve these challenges. However, data, where it does exist, is not easy to find, use or share. There is a critical lack of interoperability between systems and knowledge gaps as to how to use the data that does exist, or how to channel demand for data into something that can be leveraged by a wider audience. There are gaps in data and also in its accuracy. This ranges from a lack of mapping resources to unreliable validation data, and difficulty in obtaining high-resolution census statistics to understand social vulnerability.
The data we need is held by both the public and private sectors. We must address our ability to share data robustly and securely to serve both public and private good. Creating structured demand for data will help ensure its effective supply.
We believe there exists a global convergence of desires whereby the collective intelligence of our people and machines can be brought to bear to address these converging crises of our time.
We all need to be able to make better decisions. To do so we need to understand what is possible, what information can support our thinking, how to access it, how to use it and how to share what we learn. When we look at the world today, these questions can feel both overwhelming and solvable at the same time. We must face these global, collective action challenges with all the tools at our disposal.
We can make environmental intelligence available for everyone using the most successful information tool that has ever existed: the web. In this, the 30th anniversary of the web, we are in an unprecedented era. We have connected billions of people, millions of companies and hundreds of countries. We are instrumenting the world, developing tools and services that can be used—by everyone—to help them make better decisions. We are at a moment where we can help distribute the information, skills and tools more evenly and at scale. Blockers to progress have included vested interests, intellectual property, security and rights.
We now have clear and common cause to work these issues through:
- Which business lines are the highest risk and most in need of innovation?
- What insights would create the greatest impact on investment behaviours?
- What innovation must be prioritised in the solution-space? (e.g. culture, business model, legal, process, technology)
- Where are we under-informed, ill-informed or uninformed?
- What data, from where at what resolution would be most valuable to inform market insights?
(e.g. sensors on assets can provide at-scale, high-resolution, timely data from source)
Reference case study — Open Banking Standard
Open Banking in the UK has led to regulated sector-wide interoperability (covering a broad range of areas including IP, legal, liability and licensing, technology to enable data sharing). As an outcome, not only have all retail banks adopted the Standard, but over 300 fintech companies have joined its registered marketplace. It has also helped to catalyse similar initiatives around the world in Australia, Bahrain, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore and the USA.