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Sessional Roundtable: The Importance of Biodiversity Risks for Actuaries

Monday 26 April 2021 12:30 - 14:00

This event is also repeated on Tuesday 27 April, 09.00-10.30. Please click here to register your place if Tuesday is your preferred choice.

Actuaries have a lot to offer biodiversity management over the next decade as the world develops more depth to its response to this global challenge. This sessional offers an opportunity to learn about this emergent risk, to contribute to our thinking as a profession and help us develop the next steps forward.

It is beyond doubt that Biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate (a mass extinction). The economic or financial impact of this loss is unknown. An increasing amount of work focusses on how business and government decision making can account for biodiversity through concepts such as natural capital valuation. This is an important topic on which there has been little actuarial discussion to date.  Following the development of an initial position paper, four papers have been written by the Biodiversity Working Party of the IFoA on a range of biodiversity topics that are important to actuarial practice: 

1.      Natural Capital has been championed by the UK Government and various business groups, however, it has also been seen as controversial within some non-governmental organisations. 

2.      Quantified metrics, such as monetisation, to assess impacts on, and the benefits of, biodiversity is the subject of the second paper where we summarise a number of metrics that may be of use to actuaries. 

3.      Zoonotic pathogens, where the recent Dasgupta Review suggests that due to biodiversity loss increasing contact between people and wildlife which ultimately leads to spill-over infections where pathogens are transmitted from animals to human hosts. COVID-19 has emphasised the significant risk to finance and the global economy that zoonotic pathogens can represent. 

4.      Justice within the context of biodiversity is of increasing focus globally. Stakeholders such as shareholders, policyholders, sponsors, scheme members, local and indigenous communities, intergenerational fairness, as well as nature itself, need to be considered in any evaluation. The concepts developed through actuarial fairness may support an understanding of justice. 


After an introduction to these five papers, we will host roundtables on the above topics as well as those grouped by actuarial domains to consider the best ways to take the Biodiversity work for actuaries forward.  You will be asked to make a 1st and 2nd choice of the roundtable during the registration.  

We are looking forward to a sessional that will be both informative for you on the emerging understanding of this risk and informing us on the most appropriate next steps.    

The Working Party would like to thank the reviewers of these papers for the thorough and useful review comments which helped to improve the quality and content of the papers: Amy Burnett, Ian Christie, Christine Corlet Walker, Helen Fielding, Gillian Rutherford-Liske, Vian Sharif, Richard Spencer, Bernd Wilke, John Bayliss, Shyam Gharial, Amanda Latham, Melissa Leitner, Darko Popovic, Rosalind Rossouw, Lucy Saye and Wendy Walford.

Event organiser

Contact Niki Park for more information.

020 7632 2152

Password for the papers - EDA8EA6D

Sessional timing (approx) - Monday 26 April

12:30  Panel introducing papers

13:00  Roundtables

13:40  Feedback from roundtables

14:00  Close 

Sessional timing (approx) - Tuesday 27 April

09:00  Panel introducing papers

09:30  Roundtables

10:10  Feedback from roundtables

10:30  Close 


Nick Spencer, Chair IFoA Sustainability Board (Chair)

Aled Jones, Chair of IFoA Biodiversity Working Party

Ryan Allison, Co-chair, Valuation Metrics subgroup

Georgina Bedenham, Co-chair Zoonotics subgroup

Alex Darsey, Co-chair, Natural Capital subgroup

Jessica Fifield, Co-chair, Justice subgroup