The Sustainable Summer series gives investment professionals from the responsible investment space an opportunity share their habits and summer activities that are contributing to a more sustainable world.
For these light-hearted pieces, we ask about summer plans and holidays, and charitable work.
Here, Louisiana Salge, senior sustainability specialist at EQ Investors, tells us about community gardening, B Corps and industry collaboration.
To view the full Sustainable Summer series click here.
How has your year been so far? Have you stuck to any sustainable New Year’s Resolutions?
This year started with a cancelled New Year’s trip due to changing Covid-19 restrictions in Germany (where I am from), but it is great to feel we have somewhat returned to “normal” now.
Although the war in Ukraine and the climate crisis imposing record heat waves on us has really got me down at times, I have enjoyed being active in my job to make some (albeit small) positive impact on the world.
I am proud to say I have kept to my New Year’s resolutions to cook a lot more vegan food!
How are you connecting with nature this summer or protecting biodiversity near to where you live or work?
I live in London and have no outside space to my flat, but I grew up helping my parents and grandparents in their gardens and allotments – growing a huge colourful diversity from wild flowers to berries. As I have missed this, I have just joined my local community garden as a volunteer to get back into it.
What do you find are the benefits of spending more time in the great outdoors?
When I have a particularly stressful week or day, getting out into nature (even if it is just the local park) helps me a lot. Soaking in a few rays of sunshine and getting your body moving can be a quick mental health booster.
Are you planning a holiday? How will you make it ESG-friendly?
I have just recently returned from a road trip to Germany via Belgium and the Netherlands. My boyfriend and I took a leisurely route, with lots of little stops, to go see my family that still lives across Germany. We avoided the short-haul flights, which of course is a benefit on the climate front, and I really enjoyed soaking in the pretty landscapes on the way. We mainly hopped from one family member to another, the most sustainable holiday accommodation I can think of. My favourite activity included swimming in the natural lakes, surrounded by forest, near my home town Kassel.
Are you taking part in any charity events or initiatives benefitting the climate or society?
This summer our charitable arm, The EQ Foundation, has been a Pine Champion for the latest Green Match Fund organised by The Big Give. The Green Match Fund is a match funding campaign for charities that are working on environmental issues as part of their core mission.
EQ provided matched funding for the following charities:
- Action for Conservation: Educates school children about environmental issues and is seeking funding for its youth environment ambassador programme.
- Blue Marine Foundation: Raising funds for their project in the Solent to help restore seagrass, saltmarsh, and oysters.
- Hubbub Foundation: Raising funds for Food Connect – a zero-carbon food distribution service in Southwark and Milton Keynes.
- Rainforest Trust UK: Aiming to protect 80,000 acres of swamp forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Solar Aid: Helps to establish enduring distribution of solar powered lights for people in Africa, helping to transform quality of life and reduce carbon emissions.
- The Sustainable Food Trust: Raising awareness and improving understanding amongst the public, food producers and key influencers, about the central components of sustainable, healthy food systems and diets, so that more informed choices can be made about what to eat and how to farm.
Does your employer have any sustainable activities planned this summer? What are does it do in the workplace to ensure it mitigates its impact on the environment?
As a B Corp, we have just been named a 2022 Best for the World™ B Corp. Every year, Best for the World recognises the top-performing B Corps creating the greatest positive impact through their businesses.
Earlier in the year we recertified for a third time, achieving an all-time high score of 151 (out of 200) on our B Impact Assessment. To achieve certification, all B Corps must complete a detailed impact assessment every three years. This looks at how we treat each of our main stakeholder groups (our clients, employees, suppliers, the communities where we operate, the environment) in detail.
What would you like to see more of in the investment industry from a sustainability perspective?
I would like to see more genuine collaboration between investment industry professionals, sharing best practices around genuine sustainability integration, creating real-world change and solving common problems together. I have been co-chairing a group of certified B Corp finance firms in the last year, which was a very refreshing start to what needs to be replicated more widely.