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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Striving for sustainability


Previously, I have written about the importance of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the ways in which our profession engages with the aims of the SDGs. 

Marjorie Ngwenya
Marjorie Ngwenya is the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
We have a lot to offer in relation to the global drive towards responsible investment

I asked for your help in answering the question: “How are actuaries relevant to the sustainable development goals and how can we contribute to the goals being met?”

We have already received input from many countries, including submissions from China, India and Kenya on issues such as plant-based diets, road safety, water pollution, divesting from tobacco and climate change. We are looking forward to hearing from more of you throughout 2018 as you continue to send submissions and run your own workshops (to find out more, go to bit.ly/2CWe8GO).

The IFoA has also made public its support of initiatives that are championing responsible investment. Last year, we became Network Supporters of the Principles for Responsible Investment, and, just recently, became supporters of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).

To take action that demonstrates our support, and to help our members to think about these important societal issues, in 2017 we issued the Climate Change Risk Alert to bring climate-related issues and how they represent a material risk to future economic stability to our attention. In the alert, we referenced the TCFD and its work, which aims to provide the financial services sector with a consistent and reliable means of assessing, pricing and managing climate-related risks. Its recommendations will enable investors to make better-informed decisions, and lenders, insurers, and underwriters to evaluate their risk over the short, medium and long-term.

Our support of the TCFD has encouraged us to hold events such as a webinar, briefing session and a dinner where we were able to discuss the tools and guidance actuaries need in order to prepare climate-related financial assessments and disclosures (find out more here: bit.ly/2IJWcxz)

Our members have also started to produce a series of practical guides to raise awareness of this topic, encourage discussion, catalyse further research and help actuaries to think about how to develop their advice. You can download the most recent report for those working with defined contribution pensions on our website (bit.ly/2qzpbhd).

As chair of the TCFD, Michael Bloomberg is quoted as saying: “Increasing transparency makes markets more efficient and economies more stable and resilient.”

One of the key skills of actuaries is being able to tackle complex issues involving uncertainty and create transparent and easy-to-digest information that helps others to make financial sense of the future. 

We would appear to have a lot to offer in relation to the global drive towards responsible and sustainable investment. I look forward to hearing from more of you about the great work that you’re already doing and your ideas about how we can continue to contribute to this global ambition.

Marjorie Ngwenya is the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries