The Growth Challenge: what is it good for and where to next?
Thursday 18 October 2012
Speaker: Catherine Cameron (SSEE Visiting Fellow and Senior Associate at the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership).
Seminar Summary: Catherine is part of a team (led by Anglia Ruskin University with Agulhas, Climate Bonds and Climate Change Capital. Launched by Jorgen Randers, whose latest book is `2052: a global forecast for the next 40 years’) that has recently completed some work examining the effects of the limits to growth on financial markets and consequential impacts on actuarial advice. The objective of the research was to shed light on the following:
a) Actuaries well-understand that physical growth cannot continue indefinitely. The mathematics of exponential growth, as illustrated by compound interest, tells us this. What happens if that economic growth does not continue either regionally or globally?
b) The historical perspective has been that technological development and the advancement of human knowledge drives economic growth. What is the risk that resource or environmental constraints will outweigh improving technology and constrain growth, in a timescale relevant to our (and an actuaries’ clients) generation?
c) What would financial markets look like in a prolonged period with the absence of economic growth? How would interest rates, credit spreads, equity risk premia, discount rates, inflation and mortality be likely affected?
Catherine presented a summary of the work, including the scenarios developed.
Catherine works for sustainability, with a particular focus on responding to climate change, having been a member of the core team producing the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006. She has led teams working with companies and organisations to deliver change in policy, products, process, thus enabling organisations to become more sustainable, resilient and profitable. She is a Director of Agulhas: Applied Knowledge.
Catherine holds a number of Board and advisory roles including as Advisory Board member of the Sustainable Aviation consortium (over 40 UK companies including BA, BAe, Rolls Royce, TUI and Virgin Atlantic), as Chair of the Advisory Board for the Acid Survivors Trust International and as a member of the Sustainability Council for Earth Capital Partners. She was Chair of Twin and Twin Trading for over 2 years. She is a Visiting Fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise & the Environment at the University of Oxford and a Senior Associate of the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. Catherine is the author of a number of publications, most recently as a contributor to Jorgen Randers new book, 2052: a global forecast for the next 40 years and the suite of summary reports of the IPCC Special Report on Managing Climate Extremes and Disasters available here: www.agulhas.co.uk/Publications_Climate_Change.html
Catherine has worked in over 45 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and Latin America and South Asia. She is a regular speaker, commentator and author on sustainability. Her current research interests include promoting and communicating behaviour change, the debate on growth – the limits to, steady state and green, improving climate resilience, becoming climate smart and making the most of climate finance.