Jo Freeman Young

I’ve recently returned to the world of Financial Services after a 10 year break. I spent a good portion of that time working in Outdoor Education and as part of that role had the privilege of working on a number of community and conservation projects in some far-flung corners of the world. Our planet is a beautiful place, full of diverse landscapes and cultures, but it is also incredibly vulnerable.

My time overseas has shown me the devastating effect that our actions can have on natural habitats, such as the result of palm-oil farming in Borneo but also what incredible impact a concerted effort to conserve an area can have, such as the success we see in the Galapagos Islands, with their abundance of wildlife. I’ve also worked with some of the poorest communities, who will be most impacted by climate change and have been humbled by their innovation; from houses insulated with discarded plastic bottles in the Himalayas to solar ovens and compost toilets in the Bolivian Altiplano.

I returned to the Financial Services industry for personal reasons. I was starting a family and, frankly, needed to earn more money. Whilst I was looking forward to a new challenge, I have been particularly lucky to find a role that gives me a sense of purpose, a sense of service and challenges me daily to find new solutions to tackle our climate crisis. I am also incredibly lucky to work for an employer with the scale and influence to drive change and who is sincerely invested in its mission to Build a Better Working World. I am surrounded by brilliant and collaborative minds and I am constantly learning. I am also encouraged by the fact that sustainability is so core to our business conversations and whilst I am thrilled to be nominated as ‘Sustainability Actuary of the Year’, I hope and believe that ‘Sustainability Actuary’ won’t be a thing in the near future, as it will be central to every Actuary’s role.

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