Red Hat to help bring climate impact data to global finance industry

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Enterprise open source giant Red Hat has joined OS-Climate (OS-C), a Linux Foundation-backed initiative that’s setting out to harness open source collaboration and big data to boost “global capital flows” into climate change mitigation and resilience initiatives.

OS-C is part of the LF Climate Finance Foundation (LFCF), launched by the Linux Foundation last year to “address climate risk and opportunity in the financial sector,” and currently includes Amazon, Microsoft, Allianz, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, and KPMG among its member base.

Data Commons

The ultimate problem that the OS-C is striving to solve is that investors and companies lack sufficient data and insights into climate risk, with decisions often limited to factors such as carbon emissions or energy prices. OS-C is setting out to develop a data and analytics software solution as part of the new OS-Climate Data Commons, an open platform that aggregates myriad structured and unstructured data from a broad range of sources including SEC filings, corporate documents, science journals, market research, and more. So rather than relying purely on the usual climate-related data points, which might not even be applicable globally, it will ingest dozens of other datasets spanning proprietary information such as companies’ individual asset-level data (e.g. factory energy usage), as well as consumer and business preferences, public and private policies, and more.

“From a public data standpoint, it’s all about risk and opportunity — more specifically, climate-related risk as a factor for financial or investment decisions,” Kelly Switt, Red Hat’s senior director for financial services industry strategy, ecosystem and strategic partnerships, told VentureBeat. “This is a broad information spectrum by design. The data will include projected physical impacts but also projected macroeconomic and also sectoral transition data such as regulations for energy and transportation. It’s also corporate data — companies’ direct and indirect emissions, their emissions reduction targets, and the investments they are making to meet targets and align with Paris‘ goals.”

Global money trail

So the OS-C’s goal is to make as much high-quality data as possible available to the public, and enable developers to put it to use in open source analytic tools. In truth, it’s a gargantuan undertaking, but Switt argues that it’s necessary to create a common, public data layer that is easy to access “…for climate-related factors to become a fundamental part of the global money trail,” she said.

This means arming asset owners such as pension funds, banks, asset managers, regulators (e.g. central banks), and corporations with better data and analytics to reallocate their investments while continuing to thrive in a low-carbon economy. It could help them better manage their risk, and identify the best businesses or markets to invest in or lend to as economies transition to “low-carbon and resilience,” Switt said.

Given that the data will be publicly accessible, it could really be leveraged by any entity across the industrial spectrum, and companies could use it to inform anything from corporate strategies to R&D investments.

As a newly signed up OS-C member, Red Hat said it will provide “technical acumen and resources” as the Data Commons gears up for its public debut later this year. More specifically, Red Hat will help with many of the processes around managing “complex data ingestion and processing flows” which will involve some of the latest machine learning techniques, and has committed a team of eight architects, data engineers, and software engineers to the project.

OS-C will present the Data Commons on November 8th during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), where it will showcase its architecture and infrastructure. It’s expected to be made available publicly “following testing and refinement” by the end of 2021.

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Red Hat to help bring climate impact data to global finance industry