RSA and WWF Launch Global Report on Emerging Environmental Risk

Risk Report highlights challenges and opportunities of marine risk

TORONTO, June 8 /CNW/ - RSA and WWF today announced the release of a global report on emerging risks that have risen as a result of environmental change. The comprehensive report is the first in a series that will explore new research and provide insights regarding the impact of environmental change. Released on World Oceans Day - June 8th - the report will also provide practical guidance on how businesses can manage and mitigate these risks, a key consideration for the Canadian fishing industry.

"Environmental risk has become a considerable area of interest for a number of industries, given the effects of climate change," says Kevan Gielty, President, Coast Underwriters, a member of the RSA Canada Group. "In Canada specifically, the livelihoods of those involved in the fishing industry are directly affected by changes to the marine environment. This partnership is one step in a series of initiatives that will highlight the effects of climate change on the environment."

As a leading global marine insurer underwriting shipping, cargo, aquaculture and fishing, RSA has a unique insight into the challenges and opportunities facing businesses operating in and interacting with the marine sector.

"A changing climate will bring big changes for ecosystems, communities and industries alike," said Gerald Butts, President and CEO of WWF-Canada. "By making smart decisions now, we can reduce the worst effects. WWF is pleased to be working with RSA to support sustainable solutions for our oceans."

The report considers:

    
    -   Fishing in Canada and the potential benefits of Marine Protected
        Areas;
    -   An interactive oil spill scenario off the west coast of Scotland;
    -   Best practice aquaculture management and a focus on systemic risks in
        Chile;
    -   Shipping design, efficiency and the impact of low sulphur fuels;
    -   Improving safety and minimizing environmental risk from cargo;
    -   Exploring 'wet' renewables as a commercial proposition.
    

Highlights from the report that directly impact Canada's fishing industry include:

    
    -   Governmental quota systems have had major impacts on the fishing
        industry. For example, shrimp quotas in Newfoundland have been
        reduced due to declining stocks, resulting in shrimp landings being
        down 30.1% in 2009 compared to 2008.

    -   Declining stocks puts financial pressures on the insurance industry
        as some in the fishing industry choose to not purchase insurance in
        order to stretch resources.

    -   Environmental change has the potential to severely damage economic
        activity but can be mitigated if action is taken now. Marine risk
        specifically needs to be considered beyond traditional boundaries,
        recognizing the potential interaction between sectors.
    

As part of a strategic three-year partnership, RSA and WWF-Canada are working together to help conserve Canada's oceans by creating a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect biologically important areas and build ecosystems that are more resilient to climate change. The process will open the door for feedback and insight from all stakeholders to determine the right management approaches to create a sustainable fishing industry for all. Along with helping maintain a wide range of species, MPAs will also be beneficial to neighbouring communities by creating larger fish stocks and providing opportunities for eco-tourism. The goal is to create a healthy and productive marine environment which will ultimately provide for a stronger economy in Canada.

RSA is also collaborating with WWF-Canada in an unprecedented circumpolar study of what Arctic ecosystems will persist the longest in the face of climate change. In an effort to determine solutions, WWF-Canada and RSA will bring scientists from around the world together in Ottawa in October, 2010. WWF will use the results of this convention to inform conversations with governments and industry on what areas to protect to ensure a resilient Arctic.

About WWF-Canada

WWF-Canada (World Wildlife Fund Canada) is a member of WWF, one of the world's largest independent conservation organizations, active in more than 100 countries. WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature to thrive. In Canada, we create solutions to conservation issues important to Canadians and the world. WWF-Canada works collaboratively with governments, businesses and the public to help fight climate change, the single biggest environmental threat to our planet; conserve our oceans and freshwater resources; and educate and mobilize people to build a conservation culture. WWF-Canada's main office is in Toronto, with regional offices located in Vancouver, Prince Rupert, St. Albert, Ottawa, Halifax and St. John's. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

About RSA

RSA Canada includes Roins Financial Services Limited, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, Quebec Assurance Company, Johnson Inc., Western Assurance Company, Ascentus Insurance Ltd., Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company and is part of RSA Insurance Group plc. RSA Canada employs approximately 3,200 people and is represented by a large network of brokers across the country. In 2009, the Canadian Group wrote $1.9bn in direct premiums with assets exceeding $5.5 billion. Internationally, RSA Insurance Group plc employs about 21,000 people and has the capability to write business in 130 countries and in 2009 its net written premiums were (pnds stlg)6.7bn. RSA is a trade name of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada.

SOURCE RSA

For further information: For further information: Samantha Kemp-Jackson, Cathy Mitchell, APEX Public Relations, (416) 924-4442 ext. 248, 236, sjackson@apexpr.com, cmitchell@apexpr.com; Josh Laughren, Director, Communications, WWF-Canada, (416) 489-7708, jlaughren@wwfcanada.org

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