Climate Change Blog - October 2018

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Welcome to the fourth instalment of the Climate Change Blog, an article series that aims to cover news and events related to climate change and relevant to actuaries and the industries they advise.

This series is brought to you by the Institute’s Climate Change Working Group. This month’s edition showcases the following:

  • The Global Climate Action Summit
  • The PRI in Person
  • The Investor Agenda
  • Climate week in New York
  • UNEP PSI

At the time of publishing, the IPCC Climate Report on 1.5ºC had just been released. This report was a sobering reminder of the urgency of action needed and the nature of responses to the report may assist actuaries in analysing transition risk. Look out for the upcoming instalments in this series where we will cover Sustainable Development Goals and the Australian Actuaries Climate Index.

Global Climate Action Summit

San Francisco has been at the centre of the climate change debate during September 12-14. Participants in the Global Climate Action Summit unveiled new commitments under five challenge areas – healthy energy systems, inclusive economic growth, sustainable communities, land and ocean stewardship, and transformative climate investments.

In the news coverage from ABC7News, Meg Caldwell from the David & Lucille Packard Foundation talks about the highlights from the GCAS and what individuals can do to help in this cause.

Some of the efforts highlighted at the GCAS were:

A way to track and push these promises is through The Investor Agenda, which gives companies a place to track and disclose investments and other actions. More detail on The Investor Agenda is covered further down in this article.

The GCAS was also covered by the UN Environment and CBS News.

PRI in Person

Coinciding with the GCAS in San Francisco was the PRI in Person event. PRI in Person is a conference on responsible investment, offering a platform for PRI signatories and other investment professionals to learn, network and collaborate in person over a three-day period. The PRI had close to 2,100 signatories representing $80 trillion AUM. The conference’s agenda covered climate change, social and governance issues, policy reform, ESG integration and Sustainable Development Goals.

The PRI started in 2005 when a group of the world’s largest institutional investors joined to develop the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The Principles were launched in April 2006 at the New York Stock Exchange. Since then the number of signatories has grown from 100 to over 1,800.

The Investor Agenda

The Investor Agenda was launched at the GCAS and the PRI in Person. The Investor Agenda supports investors in accelerating and scaling-up actions critical to tackling climate change. Its launch shows a significant momentum – nearly 400 investors with US $32 trillion in assets under management are using The Investor Agenda to highlight climate action that are already taking, and they are making new commitments. Investors can report their actions in the four focus areas:

  • Investment
  • Corporate Engagement
  • Investor Disclosure
  • Policy Advocacy

“The Investor Agenda demonstrates the work of global investors to manage climate risk in existing portfolios and through new investment opportunities. As Australia’s leading pension fund for the built environment and a founding member of Climate Action 100+, Cbus understands the importance of a just transition.” - Kristian Fok, Chief Investment Officer, Cbus

The Investor Agenda was developed by seven partner organisations that intend to produce an annual report on the actions investors have taken and the outcomes achieved.

Full media release by The Investor Agenda available here.

Climate Week in NYC

The GCAS’s East Coast counterpart – Climate Week NYC 2018 – was held in New York in September. Climate Week 2018 is in its 10th year, and is the leading international forum for politicians, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), activists and policymakers to share climate-related strategies and successes with like-minded people.

The event is organised every year by The Climate Group, in coordination with the UN and the City of New York.

“Climate Week NYC is proving to be a powerful force to encourage those in positions of power to do the right thing, so that we can all make the personal choices needed to tackle climate change.” - Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group

There were more than 150 events planned during the summit, including discussions, museum tours and documentary screenings. Climate Week NYC also wanted to promote some of the most accessible steps that companies can take to combat climate action. Businesses who wanted to support Climate Week NYC were asked to donate to support the week and provide details on what they are doing to support climate action. In return, Climate Change NYC provided a window decal to showcase their involvement and supported them through social media.

Celsious is the first business to support Climate Week NYC as part of a new initiative to get New Yorkers involved. They helped highlight ways to lower environmental impacts by promoting eco-friendly laundry habits at their laundromat.

Climate Week NYC also launched the 10 Things campaign, encouraging people to share their thoughts with the #10Things hashtag all over social media. These 10 things covered sustainable tourism, fashion, food, water, plastic, health plus other ways to get involved.

UNEP PSI

The (UNEP) United Nations Environment Programme launched a PSI (Principles for Sustainable Insurance) Initiative in 2012. The UNEP is the largest collaborative initiative between the UN and the insurance industry. Its goal is to encourage greater integration of ESG issues into insurance.

  • 16 insurers and reinsurers across the globe have confirmed their participation in the pilot group to date.
  • The pilot group will remain open to additional members until mid-October.  
  • Public announcement of the pilot group through a UN press release is slated for the end of October.
  • The first in-person meeting of the pilot group will take place on 28 November 2018 in Paris, during the UNEP FI Global Roundtable and 4th Climate Finance Day (26-28 Nov).

Would you like to know more?

Recent climate change articles published by members of the Climate Change Working Group:

CPD Actuaries Institute Members can claim two CPD points for every hour of reading articles on Actuaries Digital.

About the author

Evelyn Yong

Evelyn is a recently qualified actuary working in life insurance at CommInsure. Evelyn began her career as an actuarial graduate at the same company where she gained three years of valuation, pricing and capital management experience. Evelyn wanted to venture outside her comfort zone (in life insurance) so she has recently joined the Climate Change Working Group. She is enjoying learning about the impact climate change has on financial services, and contributing to the Actuaries Institute where she can.

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