A Sustainable Xmas with Caroline Langley: PT puppy, 1970s wrapping paper and greenwashing

Quilter Cheviot's investment director shares how she re-uses wrapping paper every Christmas to reduce waste

What are your biggest personal and professional achievements this year?

Back in July, we had the joy of adding Hazel the puppy to the family, and she now acts as a playmate, personal trainer and companion to us all.  She has been a huge help during the lockdown and is a definite positive to come from this year.

It may seem small, but managing eight months’ work with only a handful of pieces of paper – and completely remotely – has been an amazing achievement. This year, the Climate Assets Fund also celebrated its 10-year anniversary, which is another fantastic milestone. So much has changed since the fund first launched a decade ago, and I feel we have reached an inflection point in 2020 where there is now widespread demand from more climate-aware audiences for investment solutions that offer solutions to the world’s problems.

See also: – Fighting climate change in the courts: A tailwind for ESG investing?

In ESG, what has had the biggest impact this year?

2020 seemed to be the year that many governments – with one notable exception – got serious about achieving net zero by 2050, not least the UK and the EU, and government action this year will provide the foundation for important changes in the decades ahead.

This year has also cemented and expanded awareness of the climate crisis, and in my view ESG is now mainstream. The launch of many products and the sheer excitement in this space really makes me believe that we can make a difference and issues like climate change may actually be solvable.

What is a major positive change that your business has introduced permanently as a result of the pandemic?

I am in awe of how quickly we have all adapted to video conferencing, and how it’s possible to work and collaborate so effectively when spread out in different locations and just pop onto each other’s screens throughout the day. 

These tools are here to stay and will allow much more inventive, flexible and sustainable working practices to evolve in the years ahead. 2020 has pushed us forward two or three years in this regard.

See also: – Quilter rolls out mental health support hub for advisers

How will you be having a sustainable festive period?

It is estimated that the UK gets through 227,000 miles worth of Christmas wrapping paper each year. But Father Christmas uses recycled coloured tissue paper without any sticky tape when he visits our house! Much of his stockpile dates back to the 1970s and 1980s. For bigger gifts, we will ensure we buy recyclable FSC certified paper and reuse gift bags from previous years.

My children and I also like to make our own decorations and cards, and we’ll also be supporting British farmers with an organic turkey delivery service this year.

What is your go-to winter holiday routine? What’s your back-up plan for this year?

We prefer to host at Christmas and keep it to a small family gathering of just the four of us plus my mother and mother-in-law. The Covid restrictions won’t change much for us so no need for a backup plan!  

What’s your sustainability New Year’s resolution?

My sustainability New Year’s resolution is not to use any disposable plastic cups and bottles in 2021. Our new office at Senator House will help as we have gone plastic free so there won’t be any there to tempt me.

What’s your big prediction for next year in the ESG space?

I hope 2021 will be the year that we tackle ‘greenwashing’ once and for all. Consumers want the real thing, and we will struggle to make progress in addressing the issues facing humanity without government, regulators and industry making it easier for consumers to cut through the noise around ESG.

See also: – 

A Sustainable Xmas with Bev Shah: Homemade decorations, food waste and measurable metrics

A Sustainable Christmas with Eilidh Duncan: Agile working, Disclosure Regulation and meat-free meals

A Sustainable Christmas with Jean-Jacques Barbéris: Baby news, China’s game changer and reduced travel

A Sustainable Christmas with Patrick Thomas: Staycations, veggie diet and panic buying


Natalie Kenway

Natalie is editor in chief at MA Financial covering ESG Clarity, Portfolio Adviser and International Adviser. She was previously global head of ESG insight for ESG Clarity and has been an investment journalist...