This month, Acclimatise has appointed Dr Xianfu Lu to lead its Analytics Division. Xianfu brings a wealth of experience working with the Asian Development Bank, UNDP and UNFCCC, applying the latest climate data to real-world decision-making frameworks. Xianfu will help to ensure that Acclimatise’s analytics services grow to meet the fast-growing demand for new tools and software that support climate resilient decisions. “I am exceedingly excited about joining Acclimatise,” Xianfu said, “the time has arrived for climate action: we now have the Paris Climate Agreement, we have the TCFD recommendations, and we have a corporate community and financial services sector ready to engage.”
Xianfu’s wide-ranging experience makes her ideally placed to ensure that Acclimatise continues to provide analytical tools that make climate data useful for its clients. Trained as an applied meteorologist, Xianfu has been working on climate risk assessment and management for over 20 years. She began her career as a research scientist developing and applying climate risk scenarios at the University of East Anglia and was a coordinating lead author for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Since then, Xianfu has been putting her technical expertise into practice. She has worked with the UNDP providing technical support to over 140 countries for their vulnerability and adaptation assessments and has worked at the UNFCCC secretariat including leading the support for negotiations on a number of issues related to climate resilience and adaptation within the Paris Climate Agreement. Most recently, Xianfu was the adaptation lead of the Asian Development Bank where she helped establish and operationalise the institution’s climate risk assessment and management framework.
“It’s very exciting to have Xianfu joining the company” said Acclimatise CEO John Firth, “we have ambitious plans for our Analytics business and Xianfu’s knowledge and experience makes her perfectly placed to ensure that our tools and software continue to lead the market.”
Xianfu’s experience at ADB included working with Acclimatise’s Aware for Projects™ tool which forms part of the physical climate risk screening process for ADB’s investments. Her experience institutionalising the climate risk framework gave her a clear appreciation of the challenge of developing tools that can be integrated into decision-making processes successfully. According to Xianfu, this remains the challenge for data analytics companies. “Although there has been a rapid growth in the offerings of data analytics including AI-enabled tools, truly user-friendly and technically robust analytics tools remain a rarity,” she said.
We have never known so much about the Earth’s climate system as we do today. The amount of scientific data and information about past, present and future climate is growing exponentially, as historic records are digitised, satellites provide earth observation data on a daily basis, and climate models become ever-more advanced. However, climate data alone is not sufficient to enable corporates, investors or governments to make better decisions and build climate resilience. “Since physical climate risk is a topic new to businesses and the financial services sector, external professional services are needed to identify, quantify, manage and disclose material risks and opportunities.” Explains Xianfu, “given the technical complexity of assessing and managing physical climate risk… analytics tools and software are needed.”
If done well, climate analytics software can help financial institutions and businesses to assess physical climate risks across their portfolios in line with TCFD recommendations and can facilitate climate-resilient investment decisions. “It is particularly important to highlight that analytics software must be user-friendly so that the task of assessing physical climate risks and opportunities is manageable and makes practical sense and, at the same time, is technically sound,” said Xianfu. “To achieve this, we need not only climate information based on state-of-the-art climate science but also a thorough understanding of the business processes and decision criteria of any given business or financial services industry.”
As well as driving forward the development of new analytics tools, Xianfu will help build on the successes of Acclimatise’s current range of climate tools and software. “With Xianfu on board, we will continue to refine and develop our existing commercial tools such as Aware™ which is used by four of the largest development banks to screen their investments for climate risk and identify investment opportunities, MiCA which enables the mining sector to access relevant climate data for any asset anywhere in the world, and our thresholds tool which combines climate data with asset thresholds to support corporates to understand climate risks to their facilities and operations.” said Bob Khosa, Technical Director of Acclimatise Analytics.
Xianfu is confident that Acclimatise’s fifteen-years of experience of integrating climate risks into decision-making processes through its advisory services can be increasingly leveraged in support of its analytics offerings. “With a most talented and dedicated team and unparalleled experience in delivering climate risk assessment and management services, Acclimatise cannot be a better home for me to apply my unique skill sets, to support the management of climate risks and opportunities for our clients, through which we can help to strengthen climate resilience of economies, communities and natural environments around the world.”