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Sustainability practice area: articles and blogs

The Sustainability practice area is increasingly important to the IFoA, highlighting relevant issues for traditional actuarial work and giving opportunities for members of the profession to get involved in new areas. Issues around climate change, sustainability and resource constraints will be featured in this page which brings together articles written by our Members.

Articles and blogsWindmill

The Arc of Geopolitical Risk

Lawrence Habahbeh, Chair of the Sustainability MIG, discusses the differences between government instability and hard core geopolitical risk and the leading risk factors driving geopolitical instability.

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Climate Risk: A Practical Guide for Actuaries working in Defined Contribution Pensions by the Defined Contribution working group of the Resource and Environment Board

In May 2017, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (‘IFoA’) issued a Risk Alert on Climate-Related Risks.

Following publication of the Risk Alert, the IFoA’s Resource and Environment (‘R&E’) Board is seeking to support members by producing a series of practical guides on climate risk for different practice areas to raise awareness of the topic, encourage discussion, catalyse further research and help actuaries to think about how to develop their advice. This guide has been produced to support actuaries advising UK defined contribution pension schemes (trust, contract and master trust).

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Avengers: Age of Actuaries – the Case for Natural Capital

Jonathan Cross introduces the concept of Natural Capital, making the case for how it can support sustainable economic growth and even explaining why it might resonate with Thanos.

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Issues for Pensions Actuaries: Supplementary Information on R&E Issues and their Implications for Sponsor Covenant Assessments

This is the first supporting report for “Resource and Environment Issues: A Practical Guide for Pensions Actuaries” . That Guide explains where resource and environment (R&E) issues are likely to be relevant to pension schemes and the work of pensions actuaries. This report expands on the aspects relating to covenant assessments, ie assessments of the financial strength of sponsoring employers of UK defined benefit pension schemes, and provides further background information on R&E issues, focusing on the aspects most relevant to covenant assessments.

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Originally published 13 September 2017

Kaya Identity

Jonathan Cross provides an introductory and educational piece on the Kaya identity, a tool which actuaries can use to understand and measure how CO2 emissions and their underlying drivers change.

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Nothing Without Energy

Carol Storey explains why a new IFoA working party will be looking at the role of energy in the economy and invites you to get involved.

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Decoupling economic growth from environmental impact and resource use?

The seminal report, “The Limits to Growth” published in 1972, although much criticised then and since, concluded that on a finite planet exponential economic growth cannot continue indefinitely. Its long term doomsday projections (it emphasised that they were not supposed to be predictions) have so far proved to be worryingly close to actuality. To the five factors the authors considered (population increase, agricultural production, resource depletion, industrial output and pollution) can now be added climate change, the loss of ecosystem services and new devastating forms of pollution such as plastic waste.

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Contact Details

For more information about the Sustainability Practice Area please contact the Professional Communities Team

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Events calendar

  • The Growth Mindset for Actuaries

    13 October 2021 - 8 December 2021

    Fully booked.

    This practical course is aimed at actuaries at any stage of their career who want to develop their own growth mindset and apply it to their work setting and personal or professional lifelong learning. The content of the course builds on the lecture given by Dr Helen Wright on Growth Mindset as part of the President’s 2021 Lecture series, and will be delivered over a period of 2 months, from mid-October to early December.

  • Spaces available

    The role of actuaries within the health sector varies considerably from one country to another, due to differences in the local evolution of health systems and the funding models for health services. 

  • Spaces available

    This paper outlines key frameworks for reserving validation and techniques employed. Many companies lack an embedded reserve validation framework and validation is viewed as piecemeal and unstructured.  The paper outlines a case study demonstrating how successful machine learning techniques will become and then goes on to discuss implications.  The paper explores common validation approaches and their role in enhancing governance and confidence.

  • Spaces available

    Content will be aimed at all actuaries looking to understand the issues surrounding mental health in insurance and in particular those looking to ensure products and processes widen access for, and are most useful to, those experiencing periods of poor mental health.

  • Spaces available

    The IFoA Policy Briefing 'Can we help consumers avoid running out of money in retirement' examined the benefits of blending a lifetime annuity with income drawdown. Panellists, including providers and advisers, will look at the market practicalities of taking the actuarial theory through into the core advice propositions used by IFAs and Fund Managers. They will share a number of practical issues such as investment consequences before and after retirement and the level of annuity that is appropriate and answer questions from the audience.

  • Speech from the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey

    Lincoln's Inn The Treasury Office, London WC2A 3TL
    1 December 2021

    The IFoA is pleased to be hosting the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, to deliver a speech on delivering policyholder protection in insurance regulation.

    The speech will be presented to an in-person audience, and simultaneously live-streamed, at 14.00 on Wednesday 1st December.

  • The Many Faces of Bias

    2 December 2021

    Spaces available

    This webinar looks at the many types of biases, both conscious and unconscious and the impacts they can have in the workplace.  Raising our own awareness and understanding of the issues can help us avoid the pitfalls of unconscious bias in particular.  We’ve all heard the phrase ‘office banter’ but are we sure that’s how those on the receiving end perceive it and is it ok to go along with it?

  • Spaces available

    Actuaries need to take action now - but how?  With a focus on climate change, this session will provide informed insight to enable you to improve your knowledge and understanding of the issues involved, demonstrate how it will impact advice to your clients, and highlight prospective opportunities for actuaries within pensions and wider fields.

  • Spaces available

    Pension scams have become more prevalent as a result of the pandemic, and Trustees have increased responsibilities to protect members, which means that actuaries need to be in a position to provide advice in this area. Our specialist panel will include a professional trustee, an IFA and head administrator, two of whom are members of PASA.

  • Spaces available

    The Covid-19 pandemic creates a challenge for actuaries analysing experience data that includes mortality shocks.  To address this we present a methodology for modelling portfolio mortality data that offers local flexibility in the time dimension.  The approach permits the identification of seasonal variation, mortality shocks, and late-reported deaths.  The methodology also allows actuaries to measure portfolio-specific mortality improvements.  Results are given for a mature annuity portfolio in the UK

  • Spaces available

    In this webinar, the authors of the 2021 Brian Hey prize winning paper present a new deep learning model called the LocalGLMnet. While deep learning models lead to very competitive regression models, often outperforming classical statistical models such as generalized linear models, the disadvantage is that deep learning solutions are difficult to interpret and explain, and variable selection is not easily possible.

  • Spaces available

    The dominant underwriting approach is a mix between rule-based engines and traditional underwriting. Applications are first assessed by automated rule-based engines which typically are capable of processing only simple applications. The remaining applications are reviewed by underwriters or referred to the reinsurers. This research aims to construct predictive machine learning models for complicated applications that cannot be processed by rule-based engines.

  • Spaces available

    With the Pension Schemes Act 2021 requiring a long term strategy from Trustees and sponsors, choosing a pensions endgame strategy has become even more critical. However, it is important that the endgame options available are adequately assessed before choosing one. With an ever-increasing array of creative and innovative options available, this decision may not be straightforward.