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Environmental and Natural Hazard Risks

Back to 10th Risk Summit


Anticipating the forthcoming decade of weather-related trends, natural disasters and environmental risks is a growing business challenge. What signals of climate change can we expect within the next 10 years and how will this reshape the patterns of business risk? How might consumers change their buying preferences and investors change their portfolios as a result of climate change issues? How will the landscapes of environmental risks change, and what are the implications for international businesses and their global supply chains?

At a Glance: The Decade in Environmental and Natural Hazard Risk

2010: The Haitian earthquake is the deadliest natural catastrophe of the decade, with more than 222,000 fatalities.

2011: The fourth most powerful earthquake ever recorded strikes Japan’s Tōhoku region, triggering a major tsunami and the meltdown of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

2012: Hurricane Sandy devastates New York and New Jersey, a region rarely affected by windstorms.

2013: Floods in Central Europe are the worst in recent European history and marked a step change in the understanding and management of flood risk.

2013: Typhoon Haiyan is the deadliest storm to ever hit the Philippines and one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, prompting a global response to the disaster.

2015: The Gorkha earthquake devastates Nepal, giving new insights into Himalayan seismicity, suggesting the densely populated region is at risk of more extreme mega-earthquakes.

2015-16: Droughts in India affect 330 million people, making it the most widespread natural catastrophe of the decade.

2016: The year is declared the warmest ever on record, with a global average of .94°C over the 20th Century norm.

2017: Atlantic hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria contribute to the costliest hurricane season ever, with a $220bn loss overall.

2018: California is affected by unprecedented wildfires, triggering an insurance response equivalent to those reserved for flood, hurricanes and earthquakes.



Simon Ruffle

Director of Research & Innovation, Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies

Simon Ruffle is a member of the Executive Team and is responsible for the overall research framework of the Centre. He is researching into innovative sourcing of business economic data and is leading the cyber threat research track. He has a background in natural hazards and the insurance industry.

Visit Simon Ruffle’s profile


Jonathon Gascoigne

Director of Risk Analytics, Capital, Science and Policy Practice, Willis Towers Watson

Jonathon is director of risk analytics in the Capital, Science & Policy Practice at Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company. This role focuses on how quantitative risk techniques can best inform the development and co-ordination of public-private insurance-related mechanisms for disaster risk financing. Such work is increasingly being extended to the wider finance sector through climate risk assessment for investment and lending communities.

Jonathon has over 15 years’ experience in the re/insurance industry, designing, managing and delivering innovative products for the catastrophic loss profiling of natural (particularly hydro-meteorological) and non-natural hazards with international scope. This work also considers corporate ‘own view of risk’ validation and risk communication.

Jonathon has initiated relationships with academic institutions (including the Willis Research Network and UCL Hazard Centre), inter-governmental organisations and multi-sector partners to encourage applied research, emerging business opportunities and societal resilience. Jonathon participates on various advisory panels (such as UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UK Climate Resilience Initiative) and presents widely on aspects of catastrophe modelling in a changing world.

In previous roles, Jonathon has established a diverse portfolio of evidence-based advocacy across governmental, NGO, engineering and university startups, covering themes such as climate risk, pollution, water and energy utilities, agriculture, natural capital and strategic planning.


Oliver Carpenter

Environmental and Natural Hazards Risk Research Lead

Oliver is a Research Assistant at the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies, where his primary focus is on Project Pandora, which aims to develop a risk analysis framework to understand and model impacts from various natural and man-made global catastrophes. 

Environmental and Natural Hazards – Centre for Risk Studies Research Outlook

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An overview of the research work carried out by Centre for Risk Studies for the risk class of Environmental and Natural Hazard Risks, and description of a possible landscape of the risk over the next decade.

Dr Emily Shuckburgh

Director of Research of the Carbon Neutral Futures Initiative, University of Cambridge

Dr Emily Shuckburgh is Director of the University of Cambridge Carbon Neutral Futures Initiative and Reader in Environmental Data Science at the Department of Computer Science and Technology. She is a mathematician and climate scientist and a Fellow of Darwin College, a Fellow of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, an Associate Fellow of the Centre for Science and Policy and a Fellow of the British Antarctic Survey. She leads the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training on the Application of AI to the study of Environmental Risks (AI4ER). Until April 2019 she led a UK national research programme on the Southern Ocean and its role in climate (ORCHESTRA), and was deputy head of the Polar Oceans Team and head of the Data Science Group at British Antarctic Survey. In the past she has worked at École Normale Supérieure in Paris and at MIT. She is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and co-chair of their Climate Science Communications Group. She has also acted as an advisor to the UK Government on behalf of the Natural Environment Research Council. In 2016 she was awarded an OBE for services to science and the public communication of science. She is co-author with HRH The Prince of Wales and Tony Juniper of the Ladybird Book on Climate Change.

Managing Risk in a Changing Environment

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In many ways climate change is the defining issue of our time. And yet, any actors still consider it to be a risk not to today or even tomorrow, but to many decades hence. They envisage the impacts of climate change only being felt well beyond their planning horizons. This was famously described by Mark Carney as the “tragedy of the horizon” – and it results in the perception of a cost on future generations that the current generation has no direct incentive to fix. In this talk I will challenge the assumption that climate risks are only relevant to the distant future. I will describe (i) physical risks manifested in substantially increased risk of extreme weather being experienced around the world today; (ii) current risks to businesses and investors associated with a transition to a zero carbon global economy, including arising from competition, regulation and market volatility; and (iii) the increasing potential for reputational damage or litigation. I will also describe the risk of catastrophic climate shocks that may arise over unknown timescales.

Manjula Chummun

Tesco, and member of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure

Manjula joined Tesco in September 2016 as Head of Finance – Group External Reporting. She is now Head of Finance – Sustainability and is the finance lead in establishing a reporting framework for Tesco’s sustainability strategy- the Little Helps Plan. She is also leading the implementation of the TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures) guidelines.

Before joining Tesco, Manjula held several roles at the London Stock Exchange Group, having worked in Group reporting and most recently as Finance Project Office Lead focusing on post-acquisition integrations. She has also worked across various industries and held roles with Tetley Tea, Bats Global Markets and Vue Entertainment. Manjula started her career with Ernst & Young where she trained as a Chartered Accountant.

Manjula is an Associate Member of Corporate Treasurers. She has a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from London Business School. She is also a member of the Standards Advisory Group at the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).

Preparing for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures in Businesses

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In 2018, Tesco embarked on a journey to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate- related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), with the first disclosures being made in the 2019 Annual Report. This presentation provides a roadmap for the Tesco journey, highlighting the key steps undertaken and the lessons learned.