Inaugural Sustainability Forum Attracts Expert Speakers

The first Climate Change and Sustainability Forum, which took place in Toronto in April, was organized by the Climate Change and Sustainability Committee (CCSC) to provide interested actuaries with a broad foundation of the challenges and progress related to climate change and sustainability, with a particular focus on linkages to Canadian actuaries’ key practice areas: life and health insurance, property and casualty insurance, investment, pension and enterprise risk management.

More than 50 attendees enjoyed a day packed with interesting sessions that began with a look at the physical impacts of climate change. The audience heard of rigorous evidence that the country would be warmer, wetter, and stormier, increasing the risk of urban flood damage due to sewers unable to handle excess water. Disruptions from disasters would inevitably have an impact on economic activity, but the nature of those effects would vary by region and depend on preventive actions undertaken.

Turning the meeting’s focus to health and the environment, CIA member Caterina Lindman and other speakers considered the effect of a warming climate on the elderly, the poor, those with asthma and other conditions, and those in the developing world. The session featured suggestions regarding action that could be taken, including calls for healthy choices that benefit the environment, and for a society that builds awareness about carbon footprints in offices, hospitals, and medical organizations.

Keynote speaker the Honourable Glen Murray, MPP and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, offered his audience several points for consideration, including the forecast that $6 trillion dollars’ worth of economic growth would result from moving to a low-carbon economy, and the warning that not enough governments were taking the issue of climate change seriously. He suggested that taking a stance on the fight against climate change was an amazing transformation opportunity for the economy, and getting it right would yield extraordinary rewards.

Mr. Murray was followed by a discussion of the evolving investment landscape, and how climate change would affect future generations’ quality of life. The session covered such topics as carbon pricing, sustainability data, carbon investment initiatives, and the "four Rs" of responsible investing.

The meeting ended with presentations about the business perspective: the audience was told that a desire for greater sustainability could drive innovation and promote efficiency, and it was ranked as an increasingly important subject for some employees. Climate change also had a strong relevance to regulatory agencies, property and casualty insurers, and others. The session’s messages included a warning that decisive leadership was necessary from decision makers in insurance companies in order to move from a short-term focus and embrace a truly long-term perspective.

For full details about the forum and the sessions’ key points and suggestions for action, read the meeting notes on the CCSC resource page (in the Events section) in the members section of the CIA website.

 

The forum attracted more than 50 attendees for varied sessions.

 

 Caterina Lindman of the CCSC was among the presenters.

 

 The event featured a broad range of climate change-related data.

Keynote speaker Glen Murray. 

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires
http://www.cia-ica.ca/