It has been an astonishing year, one that none of us could ever have predicted and the remainder doesn’t look much more appealing with the festive season with our extended family and friends in jeopardy.
To lighten the mood, we wanted to find out from ESG investment professionals the achievements and lessons learned in 2020. We also asked how they will be making their festivities sustainable and their New Year’s resolutions to protect the planet and society.
We will be running this series in the lead-up to Christmas and hope you enjoy some light-hearted reading to get you in the festive spirit and also prompt you to think about your personal and professional sustainable goals for 2021.
What are your biggest personal and professional achievements this year?
Having lived through several recessions in my career I knew when lockdown hit last March that as a small business we would struggle to even survive. But because our offering is strong and garnering results, I am immensely proud that we have grown our team in this unprecedented year of contraction.
On a personal note, I overcame my irrational fear of driving. I have held a driving licence for over 15 years and in that time have driven less then 15 times. But during the lockdown I decided to face my fear and now in my head I no longer see myself as the infamous Maureen from Driving School but more like a safe version of Mr Toad – Poop Poop.
In ESG, what has had the biggest impact this year?
The ‘S’ in ESG is no longer the poor cousin of the E and G. The very public and collective awakening around social inequalities triggered by the death of George Floyd as well as the heightened awareness of corporate behaviour during the pandemic has put a sharp focus on the ‘S’.
What is a major positive change that your business has introduced permanently as a result of the pandemic?
Even before the pandemic, we actively encouraged our team to manage their own workstyle to fit perfectly with their lifestyle and placed a value on productivity, the output delivered and clear communication. By giving everyone the freedom to choose where and when they work, we removed the nine-to-five, five-day week structural bias from our world of work and created genuine equality of opportunity.
During this year we have missed the face-to-face communication we would have had as a team, so have diarised regular ‘watercooler’ breaks into our week, which are open to everyone in the team to join to just chat – as you would by the watercooler in the office. It’s a great forum to share information or just talk about the latest Netflix series you have been binge watching.
How will you be having a sustainable festive period?
Over the years I have collected a litany of baking, crafting and sewing equipment which has sat unused and unloved. During lockdown I have learnt how to use a piece of equipment called the Cricut – which is used for precision cutting. With this magical machine I have made lots of new Christmas decoration and personalised gift tags from left-over packaging.
See also: – Mind the Gap – the Gender Pension Gap
What is your go-to winter holiday routine? What’s your back-up plan for this year?
Family first is motto for life not just for Christmas. So, whether it is with our wider families or just my nuclear one it will be special. The backup involves big flasks of mulled wine and Tupperware filled with warm mince pies for outside meet ups.
What’s your sustainability New Year’s resolution?
A positive of the pandemic restrictions is that we have become much more adventurous in the kitchen with our culinary choices, but this has led me to become extremely conscious of how much uncooked food produce goes to waste due to how products are often packaged in unrealistic standard quantities. Often raw ingredients are out of date or has gone off before we can use it all up. Next year, I will be buying exact quantities of ingredients using my own reusable packaging if possible.
What’s your big prediction for next year in the ESG space?
Investors demanding measurable metrics to distinguish between those who are really practising sustainable investing versus those who are greenwashing with meaningless rhetoric that claims ESG is embedded in the DNA of organisations and investment processes, with a wider focusing on the behaviours of the asset management companies themselves practising what they preach.
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