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The Road to Resiliency

  • Anu Jogesh (right) participates in a discussion during her visit to the United States as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program. Photograph courtesy Anu Jogesh

 

IVLP alumna Anu Jogesh helps build climate resiliency through her work on risk assessment, planning and analytics. 


Anu Jogesh has tackled climate change from a unique range of perspectives. As a journalist for CNBC-TV18 and CNN-IBN in Mumbai and New Delhi during the 2000s, she gravitated toward environmental issues like energy, air quality and climate change. Jogesh’s journey later landed her at Acclimatise, a consulting firm providing advisory services to help corporations, investors and governments integrate climate change risk into business processes. Since November 2020, Acclimatise is wholly owned by the advisory company Willis Towers Watson, which has offices across the world, including in more than 30 U.S. states.

 

Excerpts from an interview about her career path as well as her key experiences with the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program.

 

What drew you to climate issues? What inspired the shift from reporting on climate change to trying to tackle those issues as a career? 

When I moved from CNBC-TV18 to CNN-IBN during my journalism career, there was an established correspondent focusing on “green issues” such as forestry, water security and biodiversity. So, I gravitated towards reporting on “brown issues”—energy, air quality and climate change. Since then, I’ve gone from a climate reporter to an academic researcher to a full-time climate change practitioner. The shift was inspired by wanting to not just react to the climate change news of the world, but to be much more proactive on the topics. 

 

Can you describe your role at Acclimatise? What are some of the ways your work has become more proactive on climate resilience? 

I was previously the policy and governance lead at Acclimatise, where I coordinated our South Asia and Southeast Asia projects. Acclimatise was recently acquired by Willis Towers Watson, a much larger global organization with over 40,000 team members serving more than 140 countries. So, my new role is officially South Asia practice lead for Willis Towers Watson’s Climate and Resilience Hub. This new partnership now comprises over 50 climate adaptation experts, which significantly expands the capacity and capabilities of both of our teams in climate risk assessment, resilience planning and analytics. 

 

Having also spent time as an academic researcher in the environmental field, can you share some of the main differences you’ve noticed from each perspective? What are some of the unique challenges of implementing policy change that academia could not have prepared you for?  

As an academic researcher working for a think tank, you get to frame the discourse on many climate topics. But the work stops there; short of actually implementing policies with the many organizations that fund these important changes. Working as a practitioner under Willis Towers Watson has helped Acclimatise not get caught up in annual revenue cycles, allowing us to not be hemmed in by budget and scope. For example, the Climate Resilience Hub is supported by the incredible Willis Research Network, a global network of more than 60 organizations in science, academia, think tanks and the private sector working to improve quantification of risk, improving the resilience of our clients and society as a whole.

 

Can you share some of the main takeaways from your experience with the International Visitor Leadership Program? What themes or lessons remained with you afterwards?

It was a fantastic experience, particularly because I got to understand the links between American cities and the work I was doing with Acclimatise. For me, the greatest lessons were from visiting the different cities and learning how each team was trying to solve different pieces of the climate puzzle. The IVLP gave a real window into how different cities apply their unique resources and taught us the wide range of different challenges we all face with improving climate resiliency. 

 

What advice do you have for anybody who may want to become more involved in mitigating climate change? Is there anything you wish you could tell yourself at the beginning of your journey working in this space?

Keep an open mind; it is such an evolving space that constantly forces you to learn and unlearn. Five years ago, I was not even considering how financial institutions and the world’s largest corporations have to plan for physical and transition risks. Climate change is not just limited to environmental issues, it is so much more far-reaching. It touches everything from macroeconomic issues to national security to global markets to how a household is planning to fix their home. 

Jason Chiang is a freelance writer based in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.