In September 2013, Chicago’s city council and then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel adopted a building energy benchmarking ordinance that aimed to raise awareness of energy performance as well as unlock energy and cost saving opportunities for businesses and residents. The ordinance, which was fully phased in by 2016, calls on commercial, institutional, and residential buildings larger than 50,000 sf to track whole-building energy, defined as the usage of electricity; natural gas; and any other fuels to operate both common and tenant-occupied spaces. The ordinance requires information to be reported to the city annually and verified every three years by a licensed in-house or third-party professional. The law covers less than 1% of Chicago’s buildings according to Chicago.gov, but roughly 20% of total energy consumed across the city. While the ordinance does not currently require building owners to make mandatory investments, a 2019 energy benchmarking report published in April 2021 revealed $24.6 million in annual energy reduction savings between 2016 and 2019 (approximately $74 million in total) and a 15% decline in carbon emissions per building sf over the period.
A potent storm system on December 10-11 that saw a reported 70 tornados tear across Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee resulted in widespread devastation and tragic loss of life. In Kentucky alone, a significant long-track tornado that started in Woodland Mills, Tennessee, traveled a 165.7 mile path of destruction to Falls of Rough, Kentucky.
Beyond the extensive devastation and tragic loss of life following the tornado outbreak that saw a reported 70 tornados tear across Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee late December 10 and the early hours of December 11, Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) believes the insured property losses from the storms will be manageable for insurers.
This KBRA report is a follow-up to a research publication on KBRA’s general approach to incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in KBRA’s credit rating process across corporate, financial, and government (CFG) ratings, which we describe as ESG Management. While our previous publication provided a broad overview of KBRA’s ESG Management approach, this report focuses on the potential influence of ESG topics on KBRA’s analysis of corporate ratings. It is important to note that this research is not methodology. KBRA’s cross-sector ESG methodology can be found here.