In this regular series, female members of the ESG investment industry detail how they are dealing with the transition to remote working during the coronavirus fallout
Following on from our sister title Portfolio Adviser which has been running the Working from Home series with investment experts from the wider industry, we are running these articles twice a week with women in ESG. This week we speak to Federated Hermes’ Kimberley Lewis who is a member of the EOS team.
What feedback have you had from clients since the coronavirus crisis began?
We are getting the feedback that stewardship /active ownership is more important now than ever for our clients, (all of whom are long-term investors). They care about how this is connecting back to beneficiaries and workers; at the core, this is a real human issue. They are particularly interested in our engagement on a company’s human capital management and business purpose. They want to know how companies are treating their employees and using their assets to help manage this crisis. This being said, clients are still interested in climate change, good governance and long-term strategy as they realise that all of these issues are interconnected.
How do you think attitudes to ESG initiatives will be affected as we move through the crisis?
We think that the crisis highlights the importance of sustainability-focused risk management. The current global pandemic has highlighted several aspects of our problematic relationship with nature. Covid-19 as a sustainability crisis that links to many of the topics we engage on such as climate change and biodiversity/land use change and access to medicines, among other issues.
Share some good news you have heard recently about the companies you engage with…
I’m fortunate in that I cover many companies in the pharmaceutical and medical devices sector, where we have seen some incredible innovations in a very short time in response to the crisis. For example, one company, Steris, manufactured and received fast tracked regulatory approval for a system which allows N95 facemasks to be sterilized and reused in hospitals. Thermo Fisher, a global life sciences company, invented a widely used covid-19 diagnostic test. Another company that I cover, Medtronic, publicly shared the design specifications to competitors for one of its ventilators in order to increase the global production of ventilators for the fight against covid-19. I find it very exciting to see these companies and others leveraging their skills and assets for to help in the global fight against this pandemic.
What do you do for fun when you take a break from working at home?
I do hip-hop Pilates with Isa Welly and teach my boys to do Tik Tok dances to Drake. After work, I usually treat myself to a nice cold Aperol Spritz.
What is your favourite sustainable snack/hot drink when working from home?
Homemade mini meringues. I use local free-range organic eggs and sugar made from UK sugar beets, which are 95% rainwater fed.
If applicable, how is home schooling being managed in your household?
Barely. For the first three days or so, I had a well-curated schedule, including a combination of online educations resources, structured play and creative projects. We had uniforms washed and ready to be worn to give a real “at school” type feel. Within days (hours, actually) my husband and I couldn’t keep that up and manage our work properly. So now, its Joe Wicks PE at 9:00 and then my husband and I take 4 hour shifts being responsible for keeping them occupied. YouTube documentaries on the pangolin, online quizzes on capital cities and virtual museum tours feature prominently in my boys’ daily diary.
Do you have a ‘top green tip’ to share on working remotely?
Move your desk/working space near a window to take advantage of natural light as much as possible. This not only saves electricity, but exposure to natural light has been demonstrated to improve mood and overall mental health.
To view the previous articles from the Working from Home with … series see below:
Cautious positioning and interactive lessons: WFH with Square Mile’s Diane Earnshaw
Climate debate, board games and weekly podcasts: WFH with Quilter Cheviot’s Claudia Quiroz
Female fund managers, Tiger King and a different approach to home schooling: WFH with City Hive’s Bev Shah
Investment trusts, Jamie Oliver and renewable electricity suppliers: Working from home with EQ Investors’ Sophie Kennedy
Cushioning the falls and home-schooling in French: Working from Home with Morningstar’s Hortense Bioy
Reducing emissions and Morrisons’ corporate responsibility: Working from Home with Kames’ Miranda Beacham
Deadlines, schoolwork and team drinks: Working from home with ESG Clarity’s Natalie Kenway