Mikko Sinersalo works at the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA) as a risk specialist, focusing on market risk and sustainability.
As well as informing the Finnish regulator's approach to climate, he participates in wide range of working groups, including as a member of Eiopa's sustainable finance project group and the EBA's sustainable finance network. He is also the Finnish representative at the Sustainable Insurance Forum.
In 2019, he joined Finland's EU presidency where he was part of the small team developing the EU taxonomy for sustainable activities.
In addition to regular meetings with insurance companies in his supervisory role, he has written numerous articles on climate and sustainability, and is a regular lecturer on the topic.
Experts at supervisory authorities rarely get the limelight, but Mikko's work can truly be said to have made a difference.
What inspired you to work on climate change issues?
I work on the investment side of FIN-FSA, and I wasn't familiar with climate change until I was asked to write an analysis on climate change impact on insurance industry. As I did my background research, I came to realise the magnitude of the economic impact and how poorly we had prepared for these risks. Fortunately, things have improved considerably since then, but it has taken a lot of work.
What are your work priorities right now?
We have to find ways to implement the upcoming regulatory changes in practice. This is quite a challenge, since the technical details are yet to be finalised. Of course it helps a lot that I participated in writing these changes, so it gives me a head start. But I expect busy times after the summer.
Tell me one step the insurance industry needs to take, to improve its response to climate change?
Forward-looking scenario analysis is the best tool we have at hand. If the company's investment portfolio consists mostly of fossil fuels and beachfront real estate in Florida, this should be noted as a major climate-related investment risk. Also, we should get rid of the thinking that climate change is a separate risk module – it isn't.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic we can avoid the worst effects of climate change?
I am optimistic that we can avoid the worst effects, but I worry that if crucial changes are delayed, the cost will be quite high. The sooner we act, the better.
What are you doing personally to reduce your climate impact?
Not nearly enough, as my teenage daughter keeps reminding me. And she has every right to criticise, because she is part of the generation that actually has to pay the cost of my inaction.