Greening the Swiss National Bank's Portfolio
48 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 16, 2021
We analyze the carbon footprint and emissions of the Swiss National Bank's (SNB) U.S. equity portfolio and compare its carbon performance to those of the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock, and to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG). The SNB portfolio does as well as BlackRock's but has a significantly worse carbon footprint than the portfolio of GPFG. Few firms are responsible for much of the carbon emissions of the SNB portfolio so that carbon-conscious investment approaches have a large impact on portfolio emissions but little impact on performance, diversification, or tracking error. We explore several avenues to reduce the carbon footprint of the SNB's portfolio, while not altering its financial performance. If the SNB excluded the firms with the highest carbon intensity representing 1% of the portfolio value and reinvested in the companies with the lowest intensity in the same sector, the total financed carbon emissions would be reduced by 22% in 2019, with no impact on the portfolio's financial performance.
Keywords: Portfolio carbon footprint, Decarbonized financial investment
JEL Classification: G11
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