The Attenborough Effect

The Attenborough Effect

 13 Jun 2019

So, Teresa May’s parting shot was at least a positive one with the announcement yesterday that the UK has become the first G7 nation to make a zero net emissions law which would see UK emissions after 2050 fully offset - to make the country a net zero greenhouse gas producer.
 
Now, environmental sustainability has always been a subject very close to my heart, and my children are real eco-warriors too! You really know the tables have turned when your kids walk around the house turning all the lights off and constantly ask when I will be changing my car to an electric one. My daughter has even handwritten a letter to Donald Trump asking him to get supermarkets across the pond to start charging for plastic bags like we do here in the UK. It really feels like there is a step change in awareness of environmental issues happening across society (particularly in the UK), helped massively by David Attenborough and his Blue Planet revelations.
 
On Thurs last week I was in Edinburgh attending the Sustainable Investing event hosted by the Scottish-Irish Finance Initiative (SIFI) with an esteemed group of panel members and speakers. It is great to see Scotland at the forefront of this step change in attitudes; and the comments from the various Asset Managers, Asset Owners, Academics, Politicians and Corporates were very encouraging -  it is clear we all want to improve things for future generations and events like this SIFI one help to bring the different groups to the table.
 
Of the key speakers at the event it was great to hear Tomas Carruthers from Project Heather discussing building a Scottish stock exchange focusing on businesses committed to making a positive social and environmental impact. As an SME business owner myself I am very focused on ensuring we leave this planet in a better way than when we found it. As all companies are increasingly judged on their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance I will ensure the subject is always at the top of the agenda in any conversations I have with senior leaders.
 
Admittedly, I’ll be aged 73 by the time the Net Zero emissions law comes into force but we can all start thinking about what we can individually do to reverse the trend; use reusable coffee cups and water bottles where possible and, for the love of god, remember to take your own bags with you to the supermarket!
 
I’ll leave you with a quote from Robert Waugh, the Chief Investment Officer of RBS Pension Fund who, when asked about reversing climate change last week, said “the best thing you can do is go out and plant a forest”; and that is what I am going to do. Watch this space.

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