In this new 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, Clive Emery, multi-asset fund manager of the Invesco Summit Responsible range, shares how he recharged on his break in Cornwall with his family of seven, including some chilly April dips in the Atlantic.
Where are you holidaying this year and with whom? How will you travel there?
Took advantage of the easing of lockdown rules to have five days in Cornwall with the family. Fortunately, our drive there and back was relatively effortless – a blessing given we were full to the brim with our three children, two babies and our dog! We had intended to stay with family friends but the rules led us to renting a small holiday-let near them so that we could bring our families together for long walks, crabbing, surfing, cliff jumping, garden cricket and general outdoor shenanigans.
How does this differ from your ‘usual’ holidays?
We normally head to France. My sister moved there with her family a decade or so ago, and that enables us to bring our families together and enjoy a slightly more reliable quotient of sunshine – though Cornwall was spectacular for our five days with bright blue if somewhat cold skies every day.
It has been a very tough year. How will this holiday help you reset and refresh?
As I am sure many people have found over the last year, the balance between work and home has dissolved and blended into one. So, it was a treat to have a change of scenery and to close the laptop for a whole week. I did take it with me but was persuaded not to open it – which felt very uncomfortable but in hindsight was an excellent way to refresh, as was jumping into the Atlantic in April. No wetsuit will ever make that experience balmy!
How will you ensure your holiday is environmentally friendly?
We had no electronics all week and we simply let nature be our entertainment.
Share some (sustainable) activities you carried out on your staycation?
We surfed badly, cliff jumped with trepidation, played cricket with smiles, had long walks and spent time rock pooling. It was idyllic and given the nine kids between our two families it was never dull and certainly never quiet!
What’s your holiday reading?
The car ride was softened by listening to one of Anthony Horowitz’s murder mysteries and in the few quiet moments that rarely exist in a family of seven, I swapped between the linguistic heaven of Wolf Hall and the Mission Economy by Mariana Mazzucato.
What’s the verdict? Do you think you will be staycationing more in the future? Or are you looking forward to travelling abroad?
I think it is important to distinguish between staycationing and holidaying in your own country. Personally, I think a change of scenery is a wonderful and much needed reset and whether that be in the Highlands, the South West or in any compass direction in the UK or overseas is of no real consequence as long as it isn’t staying at home. Language and the meanings of words ever changes, and no phrase has had more of a 180 degree reversal of meaning than “homesick”! So as long as I can escape from what has been and remains my living room / office / gym and kids playroom I will be happy regardless of the destination.
How do you think the Covid-19 pandemic will impact business travel long term?
I think travel will be reduced substantially because the technology not only exists but has shown to work to facilitate business. Face to face meetings will remain of importance but that need will be pared down and I hope that this is how the future pans out given the clear benefits of reduced air travel.
What’s on your radar for the ESG investment industry for the rest of the year?
There is so much on the radar and so many themes in focus. There are and will be important developments in the regulatory environments in Europe, UK and the US. We will all be increasingly focused on COP26 as we head into the end of the year but more personally, I will be looking at the broadening of the E from Climate to include Nature as well.