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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

  • Spaces available

    Climate-Related Risk - This free to view webinar on Climate-Related Risk is the first in a series focusing on some of the ‘Hotspots’ identified in the JFAR Risk Perspective bringing the Risk Perspective to life with practical illustrations and insights from subject experts from the IFoA and other Regulators

  • Spaces available

    Recent decades have seen institutions, such as employers and financial services, give people more choice and flexibility, but these freedoms have come with more responsibilities. Individuals are now responsible for managing more of their own financial risks, from ensuring they put enough money into their pension to securing affordable protection to be financially resilient.

  • Actuarial Innovation in the COVID-19 era

    This event is online. 
    26 April 2021 - 7 May 2021
    Spaces available

    Join us for this brand new IFoA webinar weries comprising of a fortnight of webinars, panel sessions and a hackathon, that showcase the range of ways in which the actuarial profession has added value, in the public interest, to the understanding and management of the current and future pandemics through insight and learning.

  • Spaces available

    This event is now temporarily closed on Monday 26 April, but the session will be repeated on Tuesday 27 April, 09.00-10.30. Please click here to register your place. 

    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.

  • Europe Town Hall

    28 April 2021

    Spaces available

    IFoA Immediate Past President John Taylor would like to invite you to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ (IFoA) virtual Europe Town Hall, hosted by John Taylor with IFoA Council Members Alan Rae, Jennifer Hartley, Maribel Vasquez Flores and IFoA Chief Executive, Stephen Mann.

  • Spaces available

    Sessional Meeting - Free to viewMis-estimation risk is a key element of demographic risk, and past work has focused on mis-estimation risk on a run-off basis.  However, this does not meet the requirements of regulatory regimes like Solvency II, which demands that capital requirements are set through the prism of a finite horizon like one year.  This paper presents a value-at-risk approach to mis-estimation risk suitable for Solvency II work

  • Finance & Investment Virtual Conference 2021

    Available to watch globally in May.
    10-12 May 2021
    Spaces available

    This year's Finance and Investment Virtual Conference takes on the timely theme of ‘resilience’, something we have all learnt a lot more about in the last year! Our diverse range of talks will explore the theme of resilience in a variety of ways including in building robust investment portfolios, in the incorporation of ESG factors, in govern

  • Spaces available

    This talk will explore the potential benefits that wearable tech can bring to health & protection insurers and their customers. The traditional approach of integrating wearables into insurance has largely focused on measuring steps and using rewards-based incentive programs to encourage more activity.

  • Spaces available

    Join us for this talk with Professor Sir Adrian Smith as part of the 'Dr Patrick Poon Presidential Speaker Series'. Professor Smith joined The Alan Turing Institute as Institute Director and Chief Executive in September 2018. In November 2020, he became President of the Royal Society, in addition to his leadership of the Turing. He is also a member of the government's AI Council, which helps boost AI growth in the UK and promote its adoption and ethical use in businesses and organisations across the country. He received a knighthood in the 2011 New Year Honours list.

     

  • CILA 2021

    Available to watch globally in May.
    19-21 May 2021
    Spaces available

    We continue to live in a world of global uncertainty. Survival depends on our ability to simultaneously navigate through the diverse root-causes, ranging from: the consequences of Climate Change; on-going financial consequences of the COVID pandemic; or self-imposed changes in regulatory requirements and accounting standards.

  • Pensions Conference 2021

    Online webinar series
    16-22 June 2021
    Spaces available

    Welcome to the programme for our 2nd Virtual Pensions Conference. This year's conference features 11 webinars offering members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the pension industry. There will also be opportunity to ask questions and contribute to the discussion.