Jun 14, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Exclusive: Jupiter Intel inks climate risk deal with Boston Consulting Group

Illustration of a climate-themed Ouija board with binary code in place of the alphabet and extreme weather illustrations in the corners of the board

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Jupiter Intelligence, one of the largest independent sellers of climate risk information, announced a new strategic partnership on Tuesday with Boston Consulting Group to help its corporate ESG practice and clients, the company first told Axios.

Why it matters: Jupiter, which has offices in Silicon Valley, Boulder, Colorado, and New York City, is pursuing an aggressive partnerships strategy to distinguish itself in a crowded field.

The big picture: Helping businesses and governments plan for escalating climate change risks is crucial for helping people become more resilient in the face of more extreme weather events, sea level rise and other hazards. This can minimize economic losses.

  • According to Mike Lyons, BCG managing director and partner, Jupiter's global climate analytics platform will be integrated into BCG's systems to provide customized reports for clients.
  • Jupiter has sought to be a leader in analyzing physical risk, including the danger climate change poses to company and government assets, from factories to airports.

The big picture: One thing that makes Jupiter an attractive partner to consulting firms, Lyons said, is that they're a pure data play, and have no interest in moving into consulting on their own.

  • "You kind of buy units of data from them, and they just give them to you. And then you can do whatever you want with it," Lyons said.
  • "And in fact, they even coach you and teach you how to draw the data from their systems and make use of it and how to interpret the results and all that," he said.
  • That contrasts Jupiter with other players in the climate intelligence space that have recently been purchased by companies such as McKinsey, Willis, S&P and Moody's. These include climate risk modeling firm RMS, The Climate Service, 427 and others that started independently like Jupiter, some of which pursued bespoke climate consulting practices.
  • Jupiter CEO and co-founder Rich Sorkin tells Axios he has long envisioned at least 50% of his firm's customers coming through strategic partnerships such as the new one with BCG.
  • He said partnerships are one way to plug Jupiter's products into other firms, and also get new business. "We win about 70% of what we see and we see a whole lot more with these partnerships," Sorkin said.

Context: Joe Monaghan, CEO of public sector partnership at Aon, another Jupiter partner, told Axios that he has seen a "frenzy" from companies and institutions as they try to gain capabilities to evaluate climate risks to their businesses or public assets. Many are accomplishing this through acquisitions, Monaghan said.

  • "They want to get something because they understand they don't have what they need. Now getting something is better than having nothing and then equips them to be more thoughtful going forward," Monaghan said in an interview.
  • Aon, however, owns its own catastrophe model and partners with academic institutions, so he sees plugging Jupiter's data into what he calls the company's "ecosystem" as a natural fit.
  • "What we're looking at now is finding the partners that we can plug in to create complements to what we have, so that we can immediately have buying impact," Monaghan said.

Yes, but: Evaluating the accuracy of climate risk analytics, be they from Jupiter or competing companies, can be difficult since they involve projections out to the year 2100.

  • Jupiter is looking, however, to give much of its data away for free to under-resourced nations that don't have the public climate science infrastructure the West does. This initiative is known as its "Jupiter Promise." The company is also negotiating with the U.S. government to share data publicly as well.

What's next: Sorkin says Jupiter may be in a position to pursue acquisitions as early as this year and mentioned the Australian climate intelligence firm XDI Systems as a potential target.

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