The Finance Project aims to clarify, via analysis and aggregation of publicly available information, the detailed links between the finance sector (banking, investment management, insurance) and private and public companies operating in our global economy. We are commencing this with tracking shareholdings of fossil fuel intensive companies, initially the coal producers followed by oil and gas, utilities and fossil fuel infrastructure sectors.
Finance has a pivotal impact on the development of societies globally and the sector is central to many key theories of change employed by the likes of sustainable finance and the divest-invest climate movement. It is important that these, as well as society as a whole, have objective and easily accessible data on which parts of finance are invested in or doing business with which companies.
The data we use is dispersed among many unconnected databases that often do not communicate with each other. We bring this complex data together to provide a simple map of the links between finance and the fossil fuel economy. Using our software and research team’s expertise we provide a powerful tool to assess and analyse in detail these relationships. Our value-add is to choose, patch together, assess and present multiple databases using our software and research team's expertise.
InfluenceMap is a non-profit think tank based in London funded by philanthropic funders, many of whom are listed on our main homepage.
Our data as it appears on our site and our reports is freely available to all registered users. The registration process is simple and quick and your details will never be given to third parties. We have a wealth of data on our system and we are happy to receive enquiries from interested parties on slicing and dicing it to suit user need.
The ownership of shares in registered companies is often regulated by disclosure requirements such as the SEC's 13-F process applicable to US investment managers. Other information on share ownership is available on company reports, asset owners' annual reports and global share registers. All of these are public data but require aggregation and compilation.
Our database contains details of over 100,000 owners of shares (listed funds, investors) cross referenced against ownership in publicly listed companies going back to 2010. There is therefore a huge number of data points gathered from many databases. We only reply on original source data (either from the owner, the company or a regulator) and make all efforts to keep our database current via regular updates. We welcome corrections and comments from all users and interested parties. We further point users to our Terms and Conditions for issues relating to use of and reliance on our data. In particular our data is in no way to be considered as guidance on investment activity. We update our shareholding data bimonthly and the data on the fossil fuel companies each year as new Annual Reports become available.
Our data is only as good as our source databases. In many parts of the share ownership chain, disclosure of registered or beneficial ownership is not required. We recognise firstly that many of the registered shareholders listed on our site may in fact be holding the shares for another beneficial owner. For many users of this data, identification of the beneficial owner (the party who ultimately benefits from sale the shares) is very important.
The 115 largest listed coal companies are considered and online here, ranked by thermal coal reserves owned and annual production of thermal coal. These two metrics are of interest to the sustainable finance and divest-invest communities as they represent current and future greenhouse gas emissions originating from these companies. Privately held of delisted coal producers (such as many large US companies under bankruptcy protection as of end 2016) are also held in the database.
We are currently mapping out around the top 250 oil and gas companies in terms of their reserves and what type of reserves these are (e.g. shale gas, tar sands, tight oil, deep water etc.). And whether they are proven, probably or possible reserves. This will allow interested parties to check aggregate ownership of fossil fuel reserves and production by region and type. We will expand our database to cover additional fossil fuel intensive sectors that may be of interest to the divest-engage-invest movement. If such databases exist we will collaborate with these existing, accepted databases rather than recreate them ourselves.
As we incorporate additional sectors in our database (utilities, manufacturing, automotive) and characterise each company's carbon intensity (e.g. a given utility is likely to have renewables, gas and coal generation capacity which can be easily ascertained), we will be able to track a particular shareholder or funds transition over time to the low carbon economy. We expect this to be up and running for key sectors and the world's 1000 leading companies by the end of 2017.
We commenced the Finance Project by looking at shareholdings of equity of listed fossil fuel economy companies. We intend to expand this to bond holdings and bank loans (debt) and also recognize the role played by insurance companies and financial advisory firms in enabling fossil fuel economy players. A good deal of data on such relationships is not in the public domain and needs to be dealt with on a case by case basis rather than via data analysis. We intend to patch together as comprehensively as possible a mapping of the finance sector's links to the economy through the lens of the low carbon transition and will work with a range of existing data and knowledge holders to achieve this.