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Profitability and valuations: Greening the bottom line

No longer on the fringe of the 'socially responsible' investment world, climate change issues are having an increasing impact on the profitability of companies, and how investors value them. Lynn Strongin Dodds sees which sectors are most vulnerable to downgrading.

This article appears courtesy of Global Investor.

Once relegated to the confines of the socially responsible investing (SRI) world, climate change is coming of age. The subject fills newspapers, the airwaves and blogger sites, and has been the subject of a wave of brokerage reports from heavyweight houses such as Citigroup, Lehman and UBS. The issue is clearly not a flash in the thematic pan, but a long-term challenge that could have serious consequences on any company's bottom line.

Ed Kerschner, US-based chief investment officer of Citigroup, says: "Climate change is in  the process of going mainstream. It is no longer just an SRI issue but an economic one. Although the story has played out over the past several decades, we are now at a tipping point for a number of reasons. These include Kyoto as well as the second phase of the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) becoming compliant in 2008."

 John Llewellyn, senior economic policy adviser at Lehman, notes: "Investors and companies can no longer ignore the effects of climate change. Although it is a slow moving force, it is a powerful one that will inexorably change the economic landscape. 

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