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Climate expert to tackle environmental challenges at ERM Forum

Dr Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer at RMS
Dr Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer at RMS

Businesses are getting left behind as societal norms accelerate, Dr Robert Muir-Wood will warn members

Climate and natural catastrophe expert, Dr Robert Muir-Wood, will be a keynote speaker at Airmic's ERM Forum on 9 October. He will be challenging delegates to consider their businesses' approach to the twin issues of climate change and habitat loss, while offering advice on how organisations can address these planetary challenges at a business level.

"Environmental issues are no longer marginal questions," explains Dr Muir-Wood, speaking to Airmic ahead of the ERM Forum. "Climate change and habitat loss are increasingly existential, planetary and defining. All businesses will need to identify where they stand with regard to these issues."

Dr Muir-Wood has 25 years' experience in the design and application of catastrophe risk modelling and has been chief research officer at RMS since 2004. He was lead author for the 2007 IPCC 4th Assessment Report and 2011 IPCC Special Report on Extremes, and is chair of the OECD High Level Advisory Board on the Financial Consequences of Large Disasters.

He believes that the pace at which attitudes and norms are changing is accelerating. "Businesses are at increasing risk of being left behind. Yet it is business that will have to solve many of the challenges around reducing emissions, managing impacts and preserving habitats."

The scale of environmental challenges is daunting, and many businesses struggle to respond at a strategic and operational level. Dr Muir-Wood's talk will tackle this head on, offering advice for organisations trying to make meaningful changes.

"Preparation has to span three fronts," he says. "First, the physical aspects of climate change, such as coastal flooding, or heatwaves, can be modelled and their potential impacts can be measured, so that plans can be devised for appropriate adaptation.

"Second, the regulatory changes can be anticipated so that when they arrive they are not a surprise. And third, the business needs to identify all the ways its activities intersect with the global environmental challenges."

New businesses will be created in response to these changes, while older businesses will redefine their activities, he believes. Meaningful change will be key: "Employees and new recruits will want to see the depth and reality to these responses. These are board-room issues. We are beyond the era of 'greenwashing'."   

Airmic's ERM Forum, The agile profession, takes place in London on 9 October. Communications expert Darren Briggs will also be giving a keynote speech, and the full agenda is below. Places are free to Airmic members; click here for more information or to register.

ERM Forum programme:

8.45am Registrations

9.30am Welcome note, Julia Graham, deputy CEO and technical director, Airmic

10.00 - 10.45 Agile risk, James Arroyo, director of Ditchley Park

10.45 - 11.15 Networking Break

11.15 - 12.30 Workshops:

The agile profession

A1 Safety risk management - bridging the gap between technical risks and strategic business decisions
A2 Environmental risk - understanding the economic impact of natural catastrophes and the effect of climate change
A3 The value of risk management - communicating with the C-Suite and the Board
A4 Enterprise risk management - keys to sustainable programmes
A5 Crisis management - It's your reputation at risk
A6 ERM and the learning journey

12.30 - 1.15pm Environmental challenges shaping our world, by Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer at RMS

1.15 - 2.15pm Networking Lunch

2.15 - 3.30pm Workshops:

Developing your skills

B1 The role of the risk committee
B2 Speaking the cyber language
B3 Trust me I'm a robot - the future of AI and automation in the workplace
B4 Connected Risk
B5 Crisis management - speaking from experience
B6 Understanding supply chains

3.30 - 4.00pm Refreshment Break

4.00 - 4.45pm Keynote: Exceptional performance through exceptional leadership and communication, by Darren Briggs co-founder and Managing Director of Flametree Communication

4.45pm Closing remarks by John Ludlow, CEO, Airmic

5.00 - 6.00pm Networking Reception