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ESG

Pandemics – another reason to stop financing deforestation and climate change

Zoonotic diseases will rise due to deforestation, says Zurich Insurance Group’s head of sustainability risk, while one report shows key financial institutions have yet to adopt deforestation policies.

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John Scott, head of sustainability risk for Zurich Insurance Group, called for greater pandemic preparedness and prevention in light of an increasing frequency of outbreaks, in an article for the World Economic Forum this week.

“Our business is in managing risk, and we want to support preparedness and prevention in any way we can,” Scott tells Euromoney.

The S&P Insurance Select Index has lost 10.7% since the start of the year compared with an 8.1% loss in the S&P 500 (as of Monday). 

The case for pandemic preparedness has been argued for many years.

In 2016, the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future recommended $4.5 billion annual investments worldwide to shore up national health systems, fund research and development, and finance contingency efforts.

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John Scott, Zurich
Insurance Group
 

Scott says while investments in technology as well as health care systems would help with preparedness, one way to decrease the risk of pandemics would be to prevent climate change and deforestation, highlighting biodiversity loss and climate change as a cause of the increase in disease spread.