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ETF Digest

Episode 17: In Conversation with Maryam Golnaraghi, Director of Climate Change & Environment at The Geneva Association


24 January 2024

We’re thrilled to announce a new episode of the Sustainability Talks podcast! In this episode, we had the privilege of hosting the insightful Maryam Golnaraghi, Director of Climate Change & Environment at The Geneva Association, the global association of insurance companies.

With a 25-year career spanning executive leadership, entrepreneurship, and advisory roles in private and public sectors, Maryam is a seasoned expert. Recognised on prestigious lists like the ‘Most Influential on Climate Change’ and ‘Top 100 Influencers in Resilience,’ she brings a wealth of experience. She has advised U.N and government officials including former U.S president Bill Clinton and has influenced climate policy at the very highest levels.

In this episode, Maryam joins our managing partner Patrick Sheehan for a lively and in-depth conversation about her fascinating journey into the realms of sustainability and the transformative projects she has spearheaded.

Listen below or on your favourite podcast platform HERE

About Maryam Golnaraghi

Over the last 25 years, Maryam’s career has spanned working as a senior executive, founder& entrepreneur and serving on advisory boards in private and public sectors and the United Nations. She has launched, led and managed transformative climate change initiatives and multi-stakeholder partnerships with systemic impacts, to enable transitioning to a resilient low-carbon economy. In 2020, Maryam was included on the list of 20 ‘Most Influential on Climate Change’ by InsuranceERM and among the top 100 influencers in the world on ‘Resilience’ by The Leaders’ Magazine.

Since 2015, Maryam is the Director of Climate Change and Environment at The Geneva Association, the strategic international think tank, whose members are CEOs of 90 largest insurance companies, globally. Working with corporate boards and CEOs, regulatory and standard-setting bodies, fintech and insurtech firms, governments and policymakers, she leads strategic initiatives to innovate and scale up insurance industry’s contributions as risk managers and investors to transitioning to a resilient low-carbon economy. Currently, her work is focused on,
• Innovating methodologies for forward-looking climate risk assessment and scenario analysis for the insurance sector and implications for future financial regulations and standards disclosure;
• Implications of climate litigation risk on insurance and financial companies;
• De-risking new technologies for net-zero transitioning of carbon-intensive economic sectors and new infrastructure systems;
• Innovating risk transfer solutions for managing extreme weather risk; expansion of sustainable insurance markets; applications of nature-based systems in risk management.
From 2004 to 2014, Maryam was the Chief of Disaster Risk Reduction Program at the World Meteorological Organization, where she headed up and built an international program and led major initiatives with 40+ governments for development of their national polices, institutional and operational capacities in climate and disaster risk management. Maryam was actively involved in the formulation and implementation of international framework agreements for disaster risk reduction and the UN climate change agreements. She developed the initial concept of demand-driven climate information services and data policies to enable private-sector access to publicly-funded, climate data and modelling for decision-making support.

Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, she served as an adviser to former U.S. President Clinton in his capacity as the UN Special Envoy on Tsunamis. She negotiated international agreements and coordinated activities that enabled the development and dissemination of tsunami alerts to all countries in less than five minutes.

From 1997 to 2004, as founder and CEO of Climate Risk Solutions, Inc. the first climate risk analytics and advisory firm, headquartered in Boston, USA, she delivered innovative climate-risk assessment and risk management solutions to companies in the energy, agriculture and financial sectors and the U.S. government.

Maryam mentors high-tech start-ups with climate risk analytics and net zero transition focus. She serves on a number of executive and advisory boards of companies, governments, centers of excellence and multi-lateral organisations, and is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. Her work is regularly featured by platforms such the Economist Climate Summit, Responsible Investor, ClimateAction, Risk.net, InsuranceERM, among others.

She has authored numerous internationally referenced reports on climate change as well as a book, “Partnerships in Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems” (Springer-Verlag).

Maryam holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University, an MS in Applied Physics and a PhD in Physical Oceanography from Harvard University after which she served as a senior research fellow at the Harvard Business School.