Staycation with ESG Clarity’s Sarah Stewart: Norfolk sunshine, recycled tents and beach picnics

'We purchased a new tent that is made from 221 plastic bottles - you cannot get more sustainable than that!'

In this special summer series, members of the responsible investment industry share their staycations and sustainable holiday activities with ESG Clarity readers.

Following our popular Working from Home with… and A Sustainable Xmas with… series on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, we wanted to find out how holiday plans have changed – and become more environmentally and socially friendly – in a year where travel abroad is looking challenging.

Here, ESG Clarity‘s Sarah Stewart takes a break from her role as head of client services to enjoy a camping trip with her “mini beasts”.

Where are you holidaying this year and with whom? How will you travel there?

At half term, the family – myself, husband and two mini beasts – had a week camping in sunny Norfolk with our good friends and their mini beasts. Ordinarily, we would take two cars as we have so much camping equipment but this year, we invested in a roof box and only took the one car.

How does this differ from your ‘usual’ holidays?

Not massively as we try to get as many camping trips in as possible each year. It provides such a sense of freedom for the children when they are on the campsite; they disappear with newfound friends and only re-surface when they are hungry. This leaves the parents plenty of time for relaxation and a glass of wine or two! Our main summer holiday is usually in France or Spain, but this year in August we have planned another staycation in an AirBnB on the south coast.

It has been a very tough year. How will this holiday help you reset and refresh?

Yes, indeed this year has been very tough for me in more ways than one and this holiday was very much needed. Just spending so much time in the open air was so relaxing. The kids are always so happy when we are camping and if the weather is kind there is nothing better. The added bonus being in Norfolk is that mobile signal and 4G is poor, so it is hard for anyone to track you down.

How will you ensure your holiday is environmentally friendly?

We reduced our carbon emissions by only using the one car and not travelling too far from home as Norfolk is only an hour-and-a-half drive away.  We also like to shop as local as possible when we are in Norfolk including purchasing free range eggs directly from the farms.

Share some (sustainable) activities you have planned for your staycation?

We enjoyed all the normal holiday activities such as picnics on the beach, crabbing, chilling at the campsite as well as helping with the animal feeding on the campsite’s small holding. On our way home, we stopped and purchased a new Vango tent that is made from 221 single-use plastic bottles – you cannot get more sustainable than that!

What’s your holiday reading?

I am a sucker for crime, fact or fiction, so this holiday I read Jo Nesbo’s Knife. I usually try and read at least three books a week, which can make me somewhat anti-social, however this holiday I barely got through one – must have been the company.

What’s the verdict? Do you think you will be staycationing more in the future? Or are you looking forward to travelling abroad?

I love our camping holidays in the UK, but I have very much missed our trips to France and Spain.  I am very fortunate that my parents have a property in the South of France near Carcassonne, so we usually go there every year and then hop over to Spain for a few days. I cannot wait to get back to our home-from-home, and enjoy the cuisine and fabulous rosé wine.

How do you think the Covid-19 pandemic will impact business travel long term?

I think that it will make companies and personnel question whether a face-to-face meeting is necessary or if Zoom/Teams can cover it, so business travel abroad will decrease. This can only be a good thing for the environment and climate change.

What is on your radar for the ESG investment industry for the rest of the year?

Working on the commercial side for ESG Clarity and with the best editorial team in the business, has been a fantastic opportunity during this period of massive growth within the investment industry. We are continually looking to enhance and grow our products and have several exciting developments in the pipeline, all of which will be revealed later in the year. 

You can view the full Staycation series by clicking here.


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...