The economic and social impact of climate change has become increasingly evident in the past few years. According to the World Economic Forum, the four biggest risks facing the world are failing to adapt to climate change, human-made environmental damage, biodiversity and ecosystem loss, and natural disasters—all related to and caused by climate change.
Over the past twenty years, there has been a tremendous increase in the utilizable and interpretable data available to companies. This has led to an arms race amongst investors to gain an informational edge. Business managers have started using collection software and data analysis techniques to look beyond the purely-financial data and gain deeper insights about their customers and business. While many investors are aware of using social media and web scraping to gauge customers’ views on businesses and their products, hedge funds and asset managers have also started using alternative data such as credit card receipts and geolocation because of its potential to achieving higher alpha. So what is alternative data and does it really provide investors with an advantage when making investing decisions?