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Sustainable Development Goals: Resources

The financial services industry has a vital role to play in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Whilst policymakers often focus on the roughly £150 billion worth of official development assistance, there needs to be an increased focus on the £300 trillion of capital in the global markets. If this £300 trillion is harnessed to support, rather than undermine, sustainable development globally it could be transformative in achieving the Goals.

Here is a list of useful resources from academics, businesses, industry bodies and supranational organisations that are engaging with the SDGs and considering how financial services can respond. Though this is not an endorsement of these reports, these will be of interest to those considering the role of the financial industry and the SDGs.  As such, we have provided links to the full reports and summarised the most salient points from an actuarial perspective.  If you would like to recommend any additional resources for this list then please send them to us, along with a summary, to policy@actuaries.org.uk.

Resources

ClientEarth (2017) Risky Business: climate change and professional liability risks for DB pensions actuaries and DB investment advisers

The ClientEarth reports highlight the legal and professional responsibilities of actuaries and investment consultants advising UK defined benefit pension schemes in relation to climate change. They illustrate some of the liability risks that actuaries and their clients may face if they fail to consider broader sustainability issues. The reports draw on the Pensions Regulator’s 2017 guidance, which clarified that DB pensions trustees should assess the materiality of climate change.

EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (2018): final report on sustainable finance

The aim of this group is to make sure that capital flows towards sustainable projects and serves society’s long-term goals. As the first priority it is working on changing the investment culture and behaviour of all market participants. This includes providing more financial and other incentives to choose and offer green products. The IFoA responded to its July 2017 consultation, stating that we need an appropriate price on carbon and an end to fossil fuel subsidies, as well as mandating fiduciary duty to consider ESG factors and improving financial disclosures.

Read the final report of the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance

International Actuarial Association a Discussion Paper on Climate Change and Mortality

This IAA paper was produced to raise awareness, among actuaries and others, of the likely long-term effects of climate change on mortality around the world. It includes:

  • some of the leading research in this area
  • the possible impacts on the global population and compares vulnerable populations with those covered by insurance and retirement programs
  • mitigation/adaptation efforts that have the potential to affect human health and life, both in adverse and favourable ways
  • possible quantitative modelling approaches to assess the net effect of climate change on mortality

Principles for Responsible Investment (2017): The SDG Investment Case

The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) considers 13 of the 17 SDGs directly investible (SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15) with the others either being Goals where the financial sector can assist in positive transformation (SDGs 8 and 10), or where the goals support positive financial activity (SDGs 16 and17). The PRI summarises macro and micro SDG investment risks and opportunities as follows: 

Macro/Micro Risks Opportunities
Macro By the nature of their investments, asset owners that choose to hold a diversified portfolio, investing in a wide range of asset classes and geographies, will be exposed to the global challenges that the SDGs represent. Failure to achieve the SDGs will impact all countries and sectors to some degree, and as such create macro financial risks. Achieving the SDGs will be a key driver of global economic growth, which any long-term investor will acknowledge as the main ultimate structural source of financial return.
Micro  The challenges put forward by the SDGs reflect that there are very specific regulatory. ethical and operational risks which can be financially material across industries, companies, regions and countries. Companies globally moving towards more sustainable business practices, products and services provide new investment opportunities.

United Nations Global Compact and KPMG (2015): Sustainable Development Goals Matrix - Financial Services

This Matrix provides industry specific ideas for action and practical examples for each of the SDGs. It identifies four themes dies this under four key themes:

  • Access: Improving access to financial services
    Increasing financial inclusion helps individuals to improve their financial resilience and independence. This applies within developed and developing countries. The report provides examples of where improving access to financial services has contributed to reduced poverty and hunger, improved population health and increased access to education (SDGs 1, 2, 3 and 4). The report also provides examples of where support for SMEs creates jobs and economic growth (SDG 8).
     
  • Risk: Leveraging risk expertise to directly influence customer & investor behaviour
    Improving information and data reporting aids market understanding of longer-term concerns and externalities, which enables investors to make informed decisions. In turn, this facilitates innovative pricing models which incentivise more sustainable living and production (SDG 12). There are already global, financial services-wide initiatives in place to address this, such as the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
     
  • Investment
    Meeting the SDGs will require capital investment for example in renewable energy (SDGs 7 and 13) and other infrastructure projects (SDGs 6 and 9). The reports suggests this will impact asset managers in meeting the needs of impact investors, sovereign wealth funds in helping to de-risk institutional investors and institutional investors themselves taking a ;longer term investment horizon. projects (SDGs 6, 9). 
     
  • Cross-cutting issues including fiduciary duty, partnerships & corporate responsibility
    Cross-cutting financial issues include positively influencing ESG practices of corporate clients and investee companies with a positive role for stewardship and engagement. This can include assistance in the adoption of good practice principles, policies and risk frameworks to guide business transactions and investments. This could for example relate to internal practices in areas such as fair pay (living wage SDG 1, gender pay gap SDG5), diversity (SDG 10) and energy and waste (SDGs 7, 12 and 13).

World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA)

WBA’s mission is to provide everyone with access to information that indicates how companies are contributing to the SDGs. It will do so by developing, funding, housing, and safeguarding free and publicly available corporate sustainability benchmarks. It will rank companies on their sustainability performance and contribution to achieving the SDGs. It is hoped that this will enable investors, civil society, governments, and individuals to exert their full influence to improve corporate sustainability performance.

 

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Events calendar

  • Webinar Series: Risk and Investment Conference 2019, 26 June

    These are online webinar events.
    26 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA’s Risk Management and Finance and Investment Boards are delighted to host a series of webinars covering a range of topical and trending topics ranging from climate related risks to Brexit.

  • AGM and Presidential Address 2019 + Volunteer and Member Drinks Reception

    The Hub  Castlehill Edinburgh EH1 2NE
    26 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Notice is hereby given that the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the INSTITUTE AND FACULTY OF ACTUARIES will be held at The Hub, Edinburgh on Wednesday 26 June 2019 at 16.30 (Preceded by tea from 16.00) and followed by a PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS given by John Taylor.

  • IFAM event - Actuarial Teachers’ & Researchers’ Conference 2019

    Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics Department of Mathematical  Sciences The University of Liverpool Mathematical Sciences Building Peach Street Liverpool, L69 7ZL
    27 June 2019 - 29 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics (IFAM) at the University of Liverpool is pleased to host the 2019 Actuarial Teachers’ and Researchers’ Conference from 27-28 June 2019. This annual two-day event has been running annually now for many years, each time hosted by a different university, and provides all those interested in actuarial research and education a great opportunity to share their ideas and catch up on the latest developments.

  • IFoA/ASM Joint Professional Skills Training – Kuala Lumpur

    Menara AIA, Auditorium, 99 Jalan Ampang, 50450, Kuala Lumpur
    28 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and Actuarial Society of Malaysia (ASM) are organising a joint Professional Skills Training (PST) in Kuala Lumpur. This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Life, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • SIAS: The Impact of Air Pollution on Health and Life Expectancy

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    2 July 2019

    Spaces available

    Air pollution has gained increasing attention lately. Nicola Oliver, head of longevity and mortality research for Medical Intelligence, will discuss not only the impacts of air pollution on health and life expectancy but also how as an industry we should be addressing it.

  • Spaces available

    The actuarial profession has much to offer the world of banking. In this webinar actuaries with experience in various fields of banking will talk about the opportunities there are in banking; describing the actuarial aspects of the work they do as well as other roles within their area of banking.

  • Implications of 2019 IFRS 17 Exposure Draft

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    24 July 2019

    Spaces available

    Towards the end of June, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is expected to publish an Exposure Draft (ED) of limited changes to its insurance contracts standard IFRS 17, effective date 2022. To help IFoA members, the IFoA’s cross-practice Financial Reporting Group (FRG) is hosting an event at Staple Inn covering these developments. 

    For more information on the FRG please visit this webpage

  • KSS event – The Regulatory Perspective

    Deloitte Saltire Court 20 Castle Terrace Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    5 September 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk, presented by the FCA Head of Department in Scotland, will focus on the following 3 main areas:

    • FCA business plan priorities
    • The future of regulation
    • FCA Engagement in Scotland
  • Sessional Research Event - Risk Margin Working Party

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London, WC1V 7QJ
    9 September 2019

    Spaces available

    For life insurers in the UK, the risk margin is one of the most controversial aspects of the Solvency II regime. Following its implementation, the risk margin came under considerable criticism for being too large and too sensitive to interest rate movements. These criticisms are particularly valid for annuity business – such business is of great significance to the national system for retirement provision. This criticism has led to political interest, and the risk margin was a major element of the Treasury Committee inquiry into Solvency II.

  • GIRO Conference 2019

    EICC, The Exchange, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EE
    24-26 September 2019
    Spaces available

    GIRO is attended annually by over 800 delegates and speakers who are keen to discuss key topics such as Pricing, Reserving, Modelling and the future of the insurance industry. GIRO 2018 was a huge success and we have opened bookings early for what we hope will be another brilliant conference at the EICC in Edinburgh this year. 

     

  • Life Conference 2019

    The Convention Centre Dublin, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1
    20-22 November 2019
    Spaces available

    The Life Conference is the premier event for professionals interested in life insurance.  Offering a wide range of workshops and plenary sessions it’s the perfect opportunity to discover what’s hot and current in life insurance ensuring you get up to date on the latest thinking and innovation whilst meeting and exchanging ideas with a broad range of professionals.

  • Autumn Lecture 2019, London - Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP

    Lincoln's Inn The Treasury Office, London WC2A 3TL
    2 December 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA is pleased to announce that this year’s Autumn Lecture will feature the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP as its guest speaker.  Nicky has previously served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Women. She now chairs the Treasury Select Committee whose remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of HM Treasury, along with all of its agencies and associated bodies.