Given the long-term nature of AIA’s products, sustainability is at the heart of how we operate and serve our Purpose to help people in Asia to live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives. A sustainable environment is essential to human health, just as nature needs us to behave responsibly for it to thrive.
Almost one quarter of the 12.6 million annual deaths globally are linked to the environment and nearly two-thirds of these are attributable to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer and diabetes.
AIA Australia in June released The Environment and our Health, a report that looks at the scientific evidence of the bidirectional connection between our health and environmental factors such as air pollution and climate change.
Climate change can impact our health in many ways including via trauma related to extreme weather events such as floods and heat waves, or more indirectly through the long-term emotional distress triggered by threats to the current and future wellbeing of the earth and its people.
Air pollution causes almost one-third of cardiovascular diseases globally, with household air pollution (17 percent), ambient air pollution (13 percent), second-hand tobacco smoke (3 percent) and exposure to lead (2 percent) all negatively impacting our health.
Urbanisation and the built environment also have an influence on physical and mental health. Well-planned cities can promote health and wellbeing through initiatives such as green spaces, walking and cycling paths, recreational facilities, and sports infrastructure.
Damien Mu, CEO of AIA Australia, said that the impact of the environment on our health is a societal issue requiring urgent attention.
“We are at a critical point where we as a society need to take concrete steps to improve the way we interact with the environment. Governments and corporates need to embrace upstream preventative approaches that encourage policies and programmes that consider both the impact on the environment and how those then exacerbate NCDs.”
With our scale and influence across Asia, AIA has a responsibility to address material social and environmental challenges. In February 2022, AIA launched AIA One Billion, a bold ambition to engage a billion people to live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives by 2030. AIA One Billion underscores AIA’s commitment to engage, educate and inspire communities across Asia to improve physical, mental, and environmental wellness while championing financial inclusion.
For more information on the research linking the environment and its impact on non-communicable diseases, please see the full report https://www.aia.com.au/content/dam/au/en/docs/reports/the-environment-and-our-health.pdf.
AIA Australia is part of AIA Group, the largest pan-Asian life insurance group with a presence in 18 markets.