A Sustainable Xmas with Diane Earnshaw: Flexible working, last-minute wrapping and embedding ESG

Square Mile's head of consulting talks reducing meat consumption, Covid-19 and Christmas at home

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 the winter break 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.

In this article, we speak to Diane Earnshaw, head of consulting at Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research, and editorial panellist for ESG Clarity.

What are your biggest personal and professional achievements this year?

It’s been a unique and tumultuous year. Professionally, I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder and it’s been exhausting at times. Getting to the end of the year feels like an achievement.

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

Covid-19 and its many ramifications! The pandemic has made many in government, business and individuals, all of us, consider E, S and G factors more seriously and in a way some hadn’t before, especially when it comes to social issues. Hopefully some lasting good things can come out of what we’ve all been through.

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

Flexible working will be a bigger feature in how we work at Square Mile. I’m a huge advocate for this. I have been a working mum for 15 years so have always needed a degree of flexibility in the way I work and have been able to work a four-day week for most of my “working mum” life. Flexible working has so many benefits for all working parents, helping improve work life balance, which in turn supports mental health and wellbeing within a family.

How will you be having a sustainable festive period?

Well, we won’t be travelling anywhere this year and will be home for Christmas.  

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

My winter holiday break is always over Christmas and is spent with family. I’ve started my preparations much earlier than usual this year (just in case I end up having to isolate just before Christmas). This is amazing for me because usually I’m a last-minute person when it comes to Christmas, typically wrapping presents late on Christmas Eve.

What’s your sustainability New Year’s resolution?

I will be trying to reduce the amount of meat we eat as a family. I have vegan/vegetarian cookbooks on my Christmas list. I need to lose some lockdown excess, so I’m hoping this will have a double benefit.

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

ESG will become increasingly embedded within the investments we recommend to our clients. All the asset management groups we speak to are rapidly embedding ESG assessments into their own investment processes. This will become standard where it isn’t already. Some clients are already asking us to factor ESG considerations into our selection criteria for manager and fund selection and I expect this to gather pace into next year.

See also: – 

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

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