Factor Investing in Paris: Managing Climate Change Risk in Portfolio Construction
Vol. 20, No. 4, 2022
Janina Kolle, Harald Lohre, Erhard Radatz and Carsten Rother
The 2015 Paris Agreement is a landmark in limiting emissions and targeting global warming well below 2◦C, preferably 1.5◦C compared to pre-industrial levels. In this light, we investigate how to efficiently construct equity portfolios that help mitigating climate change risk but at the same time enable harvesting well-established return drivers such as value, momentum or quality. A pure reduction in greenhouse gas intensity or a divestment from fossil fuel sectors is not necessarily leading to a better temperature alignment of a portfolio. Given the limited set of temperature-aligned assets, keeping the average temperature increase below 2 degrees comes with considerable active risks. To this end, we propose a net zero portfolio construction framework that brings temperature alignment together with a reduction in carbon intensity while harvesting equity factor premia.