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About Sustainability

The social, business and financial worlds are increasingly being affected by environmental and societal risks, the likelihood of future changes and the measures taken by governments to try to deal with them.

As long-term risk managers, such developments are of crucial interest to actuaries. The Sustainability practice area works to identify the implications for actuaries and their clients and help in the development of appropriate responses.

Foremost amongst these is climate change, an existential threat that has implications for existing practice areas such as:

  • pension actuaries in terms of the potential impact on investment values, investment returns, funding strategies, mortality and demographics, and sponsor covenants
  • general insurance actuaries in regard to climate-related property claims, business continuity risks, liabilities to third parties, and for insurers of directors and trustees
  • life and health actuaries in regard to investment values and trends in mortality and morbidity
  • finance and investment actuaries in terms of the impact on investment risks, returns, and hence strategy, and the development of innovative investment vehicles to assist in climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • risk management in developing methodologies to recognise the impact climate change could have on insurance products, markets, reserving, and regulation.

The Sustainability practice area works closely with all other practice areas in responding to these issues. It has created a number of Practical Guides for actuaries in the different investment practices which are available to download and included: An introduction to climate change for actuaries.

Other sustainability impacts on actuarial work include:

  • resource limitations, and the need to live sustainably in a finite world, which have implications for economic growth, investment returns, and liability reserving across all practice areas
  • the implications of the emergence of broader societal objectives that recognise the importance of health, education, leisure, poverty reduction, the natural environment, and the limitations of a GDP growth target.

In addition to considering the impact of environmental change on existing work, the Sustainability Board (the “Board”) fosters the development of actuarial involvement in new areas of environmental work as well as those that support the Sustainable Development Goals, for example:

  • advising the government and energy generators on long term energy projections
  • advising the nuclear industry on funding for long term decommissioning and waste disposal
  • wider risks to business due to environmental change and regulation
  • the potential insurance costs for carbon capture and storage
  • valuing fossil fuel reserves
  • assisting organisations dealing with disaster relief.

This is a key part of the work of the Board.

The Board is a senior, member-led committee of volunteer actuaries drawn from a variety of existing practice areas. It advises the IFoA on sustainability issues, including Climate-related risks and is a source of expertise within the profession on such matters. It supports and promotes the interests of members in accordance with the profession’s strategic objectives. The Board has oversight of the Sustainability Research Committee and Thought Leadership Sub-committee which co-ordinates its research and CPD activities.  Until July 2020, the Sustainability Board was known as the Resource and Environment Board.

Many environmental issues have a global impact and the Sustainability Board is keen to work with IFoA members across the world. It also supports the work of the International Actuarial Association Resource and Environment Working Group.

The Sustainability Board builds on the work conducted by the former Resource and Environment Member Interest Group (MIG).  The research and activities that were undertaken by the MIG are now conducted by the Resource and Environment Board. The Board supports a number of working parties, the Sustainable Development Goals MIG, and it is the Practice Board sponsor of the IFoA’s Financial Systems Innovation Centre (FinSTIC).

The Board welcomes volunteers from all areas of the professional to support and engage in sustainability issues.  Find out further details on these opportunities and how to get engaged.

Related documents

Contact Details

For more information about Sustainability working parties contact the Communities Team

professional.communities@actuaries.org.uk

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Events calendar

  • Spaces available

    The Actuaries’ Carbon Collaboration (ACC) is a group of actuaries and other professionals working towards a coherent understanding of the issues around greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by considering them in an actuarial context.

    Emissions into and absorption from the atmosphere can be modelled in the same way that we model variable cash flows, including the impacts of uncertain quantities and timing. The ACC’s work investigates both the insights that this analogy provides and its limitations.

  • Spaces available

    This talk presents the work of the Data and Modelling workstream of the IFoA Mental Health Working Party. We explore data and modelling considerations in the risk assessment and underwriting of mental health conditions. We will also consider how newer risk factors and improved data availability might open up opportunities for additional underwriting and product designs.

  • Pensions Dashboards

    12 July 2022

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    As the industry prepares for Pensions Dashboards, we have lined up a specialist panel who is at the heart of the ongoing work in this area. Hear the latest developments, future proposals and have the opportunity to put forward your questions to our speakers.

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    Crisis management, the process by which an organization deals with a disruptive, sudden and unexpected event that threatens to harm the organization or its stakeholders, has become a key concern in the light of the Pandemic and Geopolitical risks.

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    Artificial Intelligence is heralded as a game-changer to the ways industries use data, with the insurance industry especially looking to embrace these new technologies. This brings many questions – not least around data privacy, ethics, potential biases and so on – with regulators increasingly interested in developments.

    Moreover, whilst the stunning progress of specific technologies such as Watson and Alphazero made headlines some years ago, current commercial applications of AI remain far from mature.

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    This webinar will cover:

    • Some background on the risks of misselling in an ESG context, including the DWS case

    • Achieving positive impact is a strong antidote to the risks of greenwashing or ESG misselling, however this risks having a tension with fiduciary responsibilities

    • This tension can be resolved with a concept called Universal Ownership

    • Under Universal ownership, investors have an appetite to make a loss in order to achieve positive impact, and yet still have no compromise on their fiduciary responsibilities

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    This session will focus on the transformation roadmap of the healthcare sector in KSA and the role of actuarial capabilities in enhancing its evolution to the desired end stage as per the objectives of the Vision 2030. The discussion will focus how the system has evolved so far and shed light on  the expected future changes. Through examining  the transformation, we will highlight how the sector is and can use actuarial  expertise to not only assist with this transformation but also use basic actuarial principles to identify the key risks and their respective mitigation strategies.

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    The purpose of this research paper is to explore enterprise risk management lessons which can be learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic in preparation for potential future pandemics as well as other “gray rhino” or “black swan” events. This paper is not intended to be an all-encompassing solution to the issues presented by Covid-19; rather, the content has been provided to help drive discussions regarding how risk management processes may need to evolve in line with the dynamic nature of the underlying risks that they sometimes need to capture.

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    The IFoA's Infrastructure Working Party, led by Chris Lewin, will present its new introductory guide to infrastructure investment, which will be published on the IFoA web-site prior to the webinar.   Those readers whose institutions have already taken the plunge into infrastructure will know that it is a highly complex and diverse field of activity.   This guide does not explore all the matters which investors take into account, but it does discuss many of the more important points, including the risks and past returns, benchmarking, and ESG and SDG considerations.    Attendees will be invi

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    Health contributes to happiness at the personal, family, community and societal level.  Health, importantly underpins all our economic security. This talk will explore the drivers of our health, the measurement of health and the steps we can take to improve health – most of which lie outside the NHS.