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Podcast

Talking Climate and Sustainability

Climate|Medioambiental
Climate Risk and Resilience

January 2021

A podcast series on the latest developments across climate change and sustainability. 

The Talking Climate and Sustainability podcast series showcases latest thinking from those working at the cutting edge of climate and sustainability action, offering a holistic view of the risks and opportunities, as well as the granular, actionable insights essential for a strategic response to climate and sustainability. From physical, transition and liability climate risks to culture, governance, diversity and inclusion, experts from across the Willis Towers Watson business make sense of the complexities, provide insight on latest developments and practices and discuss practical tools to help organisations adapt and build more sustainable societies and economies.

Included in this series:

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About the hosts

Lydia Messling, Ph.D.
Senior Associate, Climate and Resilience Hub
Willis Towers Watson

Whilst training as an environmental scientist, Lydia became interested in the problem of communicating climate change to people in a way that helps them to take action on it. After a few years working in behavioural change, further study, and setting up her own consultancy, Lydia joined WTW in January 2021 and is part of the Climate & Resilience Hub, working with the learning and communications and engagement team.

She was a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholar in Climate Justice at the University of Reading and holds degrees in Politics and International Relations (University of Reading), and Environmental Science (UEA).


Nidia Martínez Avellaneda, Ph.D.
Director of Climate Risk Analytics, Climate and Resilience Hub
Willis Towers Watson

Nidia is a Director of Climate Risk Analytics in the Climate and Resilience Hub and she is based in New York. She has previously held risk management positions at Swiss Re and AIG.

Nidia is an awarded scientist and holds a Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the University of Hamburg and a Science Master's degree from the University of Buenos Aires. She is currently an invited lecturer in a Financial Sustainability class at Fordham University in New York City.


Episode 8:Changing investment for Net Zero

Transitioning to a zero-carbon economy requires a collective effort where each player weighs up their risk and opportunities. In this episode, Luba describes how investors are mapping out transition risk – not just the risk in moving, but also in hesitating – as well as the opportunities that emerge when organizations change how they function in a Net Zero economy. With Willis Towers Watson’s recent commitment to Net Zero, Luba explains how this type of shift not only effectively accounts for climate-related financial risks and opportunities, but also helps clients to stay ahead of the curve in the system transition.

Episode 8: Changing investment for Net Zero
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About our guest
Luba Nikulina
Luba Nikulina
Global Head of Research, Willis Towers Watson

Luba leads the more than 100 strong global research function at Willis Towers Watson's Investment business that is responsible for conducting economic and capital markets research, evaluating asset management firms in a variety of different asset classes, coming up with investment recommendations and creating new investment solutions where there is demand from asset owners but no solutions exist.

Luba started her career in 1996 in Russia where she was involved in a number of private equity transactions at the time of the large-scale privatisation and business restructuring in Eastern Europe. She also owned her own timber business in Russia.

Luba is a non-executive director of the Investor Forum, a not-for-profit organisation with the purpose of positioning stewardship at the heart of investment decision making.


Episode 7:Culture can fix climate change

Culture determines how an organization behaves. It can be easy to become resigned to “that’s just how things are”. As culture seeps into all that your organization does, it easily becomes the glue that holds everything together - determining structure, relationships and how we collaborate. Climate change needs a holistic approach and impacts on everything we do, just like culture. In this episode, Marisa explains how understanding, measuring, shaping, and encouraging a culture that is effective in achieving your company’s climate ambitions can be revolutionary.

Episode 7: Culture can fix climate change
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About our guest
Marisa Hall
Marisa Hall
Co-Head of the Thinking Ahead Institute, Willis Towers Watson

Marisa is co-head of the Thinking Ahead Institute, a global not-for-profit investment research network focussed on mobilising capital for a sustainable future. The Institute’s membership includes more than 50 of the world’s largest asset owners and asset managers with combined responsibility for over USD$12 trillion. Prior to joining the Institute, Marisa was a Senior Investment Consultant in Willis Towers Watson’s advisory business.

Marisa is on the standing committee of Investment 20/20 which focuses on attracting diverse talent into the industry and is also on the steering committee of #talkaboutblack, a powerful movement that aims to improve the conversation on ethnic diversity. This falls under the UK wide industry initiative, The Diversity Project.

Marisa is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (FIA) and holds the Investment Management Certificate (IMC). She has a MSc (Distinction) from CASS Business School, London and a first-class degree in Mathematics from the University of the West Indies. She was named on the 2020 list of Financial News' Rising Stars of Asset Management in Europe, was winner of ‘Woman of the Year’ in the 2020 Women in Finance Summit & Awards Series and is on the 2021 Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) roll call of thought leaders in the category of ‘actuaries changing mindsets’.


Episode 6:Stewarding now for the future

The distinctive and systemic characteristics of climate-related financial risks require a strategic response. Incremental adjustments will fail to produce the scale and rate of change needed for a climate resilient future – what’s needed is transformation in how we steward today. In this episode, Matt expands upon the key themes we saw emerge from our Climate Risk and Financial Stewardship Summit in May 2021, and explains how stewardship can channel Net Zero commitments to make a real difference to the role of people, capital, and risk in our climate-resilient future.

Episode 6: Stewarding now for the future
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About our guest
Matt Scott
Matt Scott
Senior Director, Climate and Resilience Hub, Willis Towers Watson

Matt is a Senior Director of the Climate and Resilience Hub and leads on climate policy, financial regulation and green finance. He brings more than two decades of experience at the intersection of climate, finance and sustainable business. Matt played an integral role in the development of the Bank of England’s climate work, including creating the formative physical, transition and liability framework for climate-related risks, and led the development and launch of the UK Government’s Green Finance Strategy, published in July 2019.

Before entering financial regulation in 2010, Matt began his career in science and, as a social entrepreneur, delivered solar lighting to off-grid villages in emerging markets.


Episode 5:Finance fit for the future

In this episode, Carlos Sanchez, Director of Climate Resilient Finance at Willis Towers Watson, talks about the recent progress in climate finance around correctly pricing climate risk. Carlos also shares an update on the cross-sectoral work of the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI) and how their approach is helping correctly price climate risk, and how CFA UK are developing a certification on climate and investing, training the next generation in understanding how climate risks and opportunities arise.

Episode 5: Finance fit for the future
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About our guest
Carlos Sanchez
Carlos Sanchez
Director, Climate Resilience Investment
Climate & Resilience Hub, Willis Towers Watson

Carlos Sanchez is a Climate Resilience Investment Director at Willis Towers Watson. His work focuses on the integration of physical climate risks in asset valuation and investment decision-making processes. Carlos is also the Executive Director for the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI). A flagship COP26 initiative, CCRI is led by the private sector and has a growing membership of 90+ institutions committed to the development and testing of solutions for resilient investment decision-making.

Additionally, Carlos has been appointed member of the State of California’s State of California has launched the Climate-Related Risk Disclosure Advisory Group, and vice-Chair of CFA UK’s Climate and Investing Certification Panel.


Episode 4:Action for impact

Lydia Messling speaks to Paula Pagniez, Director at the Climate and Resilience Hub at Willis Towers Watson, about how we are beginning to see actions have a real impact –particularly facilitated by innovative insurance products. When we are able to properly understand and convey exposure and vulnerability to risk, we can help to identify tools and actions that can have a lasting impact upon building resilience – sometimes these are very simple solutions. These solutions are being implemented now, giving us much to be hopeful about.

Episode 4: Action for impact
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About our guest
John Haley
Paula Pagniez
Director, America’s Practice Lead
Climate & Resilience Hub, Willis Towers Watson

Paula Pagniez is Director of the Climate and Resilience Hub at Willis Towers Watson. She leads the America’s Practice for the firm, based in New Jersey, USA.
Paula creates solutions to large scale and multi-faceted challenges, working hand in hand with clients and partners across physical, transition and liability climate risks and pioneering innovative uses of insurance mechanisms to build societal resilience.

Paula is a global expert on climate and natural disaster risk management solutions for sovereigns, sub-sovereigns, corporates, and the development sector. She has a proven track record spearheading global financial inclusion and humanitarian initiatives and conceiving of and executing strategic international business.


Episodes 2 and 3:The Science of Stewardship

In this latest episode of the Talking Climate and Resilience podcast series, Rowan Douglas, Head of the Climate and Resilience Hub at Willis Towers Watson, explores the challenges of an orderly transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy - from massive industrial transformation to economic dislocation. As climate change becomes increasingly integrated into mainstream financial decision making and organisations respond to their own risks, navigating an orderly transition will depend on climate risk and the wider implications for communities and society being recognised as a responsibility that we all share.

Part 1 – Capital, Science and Policy

Episode 2: The Science of Stewardship (part 1 – Capital, Science and Policy)
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Part 2 – It takes a village

Episode 3: The Science of Stewardship (part 2 – It takes a village)
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About our guest
Rowan Douglas
Rowan Douglas
Head of Climate & Resilience Hub

Rowan is Head of the Climate and Resilience Hub (CRH), building on leadership on these themes for over a decade. Previously he served on the Board of Willis Re as CEO Global Analytics and founded the Willis Research Network in 2006. In 2014 he established the Capital Science and Policy Practice to apply Willis Towers Watson's expertise on resilience into wider sectors and support the Company’s growing leadership on climate, resilience and finance which grew into the CRH.

Beyond Willis Towers Watson, he founded the Insurance Development Forum in 2015 with industry, United Nations and World Bank leaders and served on The UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology 2011-2015. In 2016 he was made CBE for services to the economy through risk, insurance and sustainable growth.


Episode 1:Talking Climate and Resilience

Welcome to the first episode of Talking Climate and Resilience with our host Nidia Martinez, Director at the Climate and Resilience Hub. In this episode we will be speaking with John Haley, the CEO of Willis Towers Watson. John will be discussing why climate change is a responsibility that we all share globally. Moreover he elaborates how Willis Towers Watson can help to quantify and manage risks that come with climate change. This can mean anything from helping our clients understand extreme weathers and natural catastrophes to managing perspectives and mitigating such risks.

Episode 1: Talking Climate and Resilience
Listen to this episode on:
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About our guest
John Haley
John Haley

John Haley is currently the CEO and a Director of Willis Towers Watson and is the Chair of the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and the Conference of Consulting Actuaries. John has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Rutgers College and studied under a Fellowship at the Graduate School of Mathematics at Yale University.


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