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 Edinburgh-based Miranda Beacham, corporate governance manager at Kames Capital.
How has the Coronavirus affected your day-to-day work – from both a portfolio and workplace perspective?
As I am involved in engagement and voting of our portfolio companies, there are a couple of issues that have arisen. First, the proxy season has been turned on its head with the banning of large gatherings in most countries. Most companies are seeking to delay their meetings as long as possible until the infrastructure has been put in place to deal with virtual or hybrid meetings, meaning that the traditional proxy season is quieter than we had anticipated so far. I am sure this will eventually come in a few weeks. Second, is the challenge of holding company ‘meetings’ on Skype or Zoom while having a three-year-old running around – so far there have been no disasters, but I am sure there will be one in due time.
How do you think attitudes to ESG initiatives will be affected as we move through the crisis?
Personally, I think how companies are treating their staff, clients and suppliers (the S in ESG) will shape investors views in the future, who is not going to remember the way Tim Martin and Mike Ashley have behaved?
Share some good news you have heard recently about the holdings/sectors/themes you invest in?
Morrisons seems to be doing their level best to do right by all their stakeholders, from designated ‘oldie’ hours, paying small suppliers quicker than normal, setting up an employee hardship fund to huge donations to the local foodbanks. It is encouraging to see a company take their corporate social responsibilities seriously.
What do you do for fun when you take a break from working at home?
There is plenty to keep me busy with a small person running around. This week we have been painting, baking and doing jigsaws as well as the Joe Wicks workouts to keep us fit. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful part of Edinburgh, where we can walk into the hills in a very short time – handy for blowing away the cobwebs on our daily permitted exercise.
What is your favourite sustainable snack/hot drink when working from home?
Not terribly sustainable for my waistline – we have plenty of cakes and biscuits thanks to my daughters love of baking!
How is home schooling being managed in your household?
My daughter is only three, so luckily home schooling is easier than for an older child – it is limited to lots of drawing, stories and learning from nature.
Do you have a ‘top green tip’ to share on working remotely?
I usually commute using a car, so working remotely has done wonders for my emissions – I haven’t driven the car in two weeks! The supermarket is in walking distance from the house, so there is no need to drive anywhere.
To read the rest of the Working from Home with… series see below:
Deadlines, schoolwork and team drinks: Working from home with ESG Clarity’s Natalie Kenway