A ‘carbon footprint’ can be estimated for a company, product or investment, for example. It is a way of presenting total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the business, product or investment concerned. Assessment should cover emissions relating to production, the supply chain, use and waste management. The estimate should, in other words, be based on a lifecycle approach. For this to be feasible, data must be available and relevant boundaries set.
For Mistra, estimating the carbon footprint of our investments and equity portfolio is worthwhile because the results can serve as a basis for dialogue with asset managers and companies. We also perceive worth in supporting development of methodology and a process whereby climate and other sustainability aspects come to be included in the financial sector’s discussions and decision-making. Moreover, asking for emissions data can promote greater data access. Mistra has therefore signed the international Montréal Pledge (www.montrealpledge.org) initiative to support development and implementation of efforts to monitor GHG emissions associated with capital investments.
Nonetheless, Mistra is well aware of the limitations of the notion of a ‘carbon footprint’. As it is often estimated today, a carbon footprint of an investment or portfolio is not sufficiently informative about climate impact. Some reasons for this are as follows:
- Rather than being forward-looking, the method focuses on historical emissions.
- It normally includes neither emissions in companies’ supply chains nor emissions from products and services.
- The impact of sector selection, rather than companies’ actual climate performance, can dominate an analysis of a portfolio’s carbon footprint.
- Biogenic emissions are equated with those from fossil fuels.
- Data reporting is incomplete.
Mistra’s carbon footprint in 2017
Assisted by the analyst company Trucost, Mistra audits the carbon footprints of its entire equity portfolio and also of individual equity funds. The figures are estimated on the basis of Mistra’s ownership interest in each company through investment in the equity fund concerned. This analysis includes data on direct GHG emissions and on indirect emissions from purchases of energy, business travel and logistics. Emissions from the rest of the value chain, use of manufactured products and their disposal as waste are not included. GHG emissions are presented as ‘carbon dioxide equivalents’.
The carbon footprint of Mistra’s equity portfolio at 30 September 2017 was 14 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO2e). In terms of the proportion of the companies’ turnover to which Mistra’s ownership corresponds, the portfolio’s carbon footprint represents ‘carbon intensity’ of 21 tCO2e per SEK million of turnover, while in relation to investment value 10 tCO2e per SEK million invested. By comparison, it may be mentioned that the carbon intensity of the Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund (AP Fund), in the sense of its carbon footprint in relation to its turnover for 2016, was 17.6 tCO2e per SEK million of turnover.
In the analysis of Mistra’s portfolio in 2017, there are clear examples of a significant part of the carbon footprint being linked to investments in the major Swedish forestry companies for Swedish bioeconomy transformation. The fact that these investments stand out indicates that the analysis lacks a lifecycle perspective. Accordingly, emissions of biogenic carbon dioxide are found to be as heavy a load as emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide absorption in production of biomass is excluded from the system studied, while emissions are within it if the biomass is used to generate energy.
There are also other companies that account for a significant share of Mistra’s overall carbon footprint, or have relatively large carbon footprints for their sector. Mistra will raise these matters in dialogues with asset managers and discuss underlying causes and, if relevant, how we can act to achieve an improvement.
Table of Mistra’s carbon footprint, 2015–2017
|Carbon footprint||Mistra’s holdings, 30/09/2017||Mistra’s holdings, 30/09/2016||Mistra’s holdings, 30/09/2015|
|tCO2e/SEK m of turnover||21||19||21|
|tCO2e/SEK m of investment||10||9.2||11|
The 2017 equity portfolio analysed had a market value of SEK 1,447 million, excluding liquid assets in the funds, corresponding to 46 per cent of Mistra’s aggregate investments (2016: SEK 1,309 million, 42 per cent).