Is ESG a waste of time?


Like many others, the COVID-19 lock-downs were an opportunity to develop new hobbies. One of my new hobbies was to join a film club. A few months ago, we watched ‘The Graduate’ starring a young Dustin Hoffman as the eponymous graduate ‘Benjamin’. A key moment in the film involves a friend of Benjamin’s parents advising him to get into plastics because “there’s going to be a great future in plastics.”  Read more …

Code Red from the IPCC


Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the latest report from its first Working Group.[1] There are three Working Groups and Working Group 1 focuses on the physical science of climate change, while the other two look at adaptation and mitigation.  So this report gives us the state of play on the science itself.

Even by the standards of climate change news, it made for sobering reading. Read more …

The price of civilisation


A disappointing roadshow lunch

In 2016, I attended a roadshow lunch for an upcoming initial public offering (IPO).  This was of course in the “good old days” before the pandemic.  It was a biggish launch, so maybe 100 of us crammed into a room in a grand West London hotel.

As we juggled laptops with dinnerplates, the CEO stepped up to the lectern.  He was leading a global business with over £1bn in revenues and over 9,000 employees.  The first thing he wanted to talk to his potential investors about?  The company’s clever tax structuring. Read more …

Delivering carbon reductions – moving beyond the targets


 

Much ink has been spilt announcing net-zero carbon (NZC) targets over the past few months, with WHEB no doubt contributing more than our fair share. A recent survey of UK businesses, for example, found that 52% of respondents worked for businesses that had already set a NZC target.[1] A proportion of these announcements will doubtless amount to rather little. Greenpeace believes that we are currently living in ‘a golden age of greenwash’.[2] Certainly, some companies have been more focused on setting ‘aims’ rather than ‘commitments’ and have been pilloried by NGOs and investors alike.[3] Read more …

Is Amazon really a sustainable investment?


The WHEB investment strategy has evolved considerably over the past fifteen years. But the core has always been quite simple. We invest in companies that provide solutions to sustainability challenges.  The companies’ products and services are good for society or the environment, and because of that, they have the potential to grow profits and generate strong investment returns. Read more …

What is the best way to tackle plastic waste?


Love them, or hate them, Greenpeace know how to produce a good campaign video. Personally, I love them, but even for me their ‘kitkat video’ was quite hard to watch.[i] Their latest offering stars the British Prime Minister and illustrates the huge challenge in reducing plastic waste.[ii] Read more …

Deliveroo – bad timing, bad ESG, or just a bad idea?


Deliveroo has been dubbed London’s ‘worst IPO in history’ after its shares fell 26% in the first day of trading, which was the last day in March.  Some say it was just bad timing as investors don’t like stocks that IPO at the end of the quarter. Read more …

Kingspan and the Grenfell tower fire


In 2007, McKinsey & Co. the consulting firm, published an article entitled ‘A cost curve for greenhouse gas reduction’[1]. In it the authors ranked technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions according to the cost of abating one ton of carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO2e). The stand-out technology – by some margin – was building insulation. Read more …

Greenwashing, regulation and sustainable investment


A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited to an event hosted by the Rothschild Foundation at the family’s estate at Waddesdon Manor[1]. Wim Leereveld, the founder of the Access to Medicine Foundation, was taking questions from assembled guests. He was asked about the growing prevalence of ‘greenwashing[2]’ in the market for financial products and what should be done about it. His response was rather unexpected. He said – and I am paraphrasing – that he was reasonably relaxed about it. He saw it as evidence that there was real underlying demand for sustainable financial products. The market, he anticipated would quickly evolve to unmask any greenwashing. Read more …

Sign up to receive our lastest news & views

Archive

  • September 2021 (1)
  • August 2021 (2)
  • July 2021 (3)
  • June 2021 (1)
  • May 2021 (1)
  • April 2021 (3)
  • March 2021 (1)
  • February 2021 (1)
  • January 2021 (3)
  • December 2020 (1)
  • November 2020 (2)
  • October 2020 (3)
  • September 2020 (1)
  • August 2020 (2)
  • July 2020 (3)
  • June 2020 (2)
  • May 2020 (1)
  • April 2020 (3)
  • March 2020 (1)
  • February 2020 (2)
  • January 2020 (1)
  • December 2019 (1)
  • November 2019 (2)
  • October 2019 (3)
  • September 2019 (1)
  • August 2019 (2)
  • July 2019 (3)
  • June 2019 (2)
  • May 2019 (3)
  • April 2019 (1)
  • March 2019 (1)
  • February 2019 (2)
  • January 2019 (3)
  • December 2018 (1)
  • November 2018 (2)
  • October 2018 (4)
  • September 2018 (2)
  • August 2018 (4)
  • July 2018 (1)
  • June 2018 (1)
  • May 2018 (1)
  • April 2018 (2)
  • March 2018 (2)
  • February 2018 (1)
  • January 2018 (1)
  • December 2017 (3)
  • November 2017 (1)
  • July 2017 (3)
  • June 2017 (1)
  • May 2017 (1)
  • April 2017 (1)
  • February 2017 (2)
  • November 2016 (1)
  • August 2016 (1)
  • July 2016 (1)
  • June 2016 (1)
  • May 2016 (1)
  • April 2016 (2)
  • February 2016 (1)
  • December 2015 (1)
  • November 2015 (3)
  • October 2015 (1)
  • September 2015 (1)
  • July 2015 (2)
  • April 2015 (2)
  • February 2015 (2)
  • December 2014 (2)
  • November 2014 (3)
  • October 2014 (4)
  • August 2014 (1)
  • July 2014 (3)
  • June 2014 (1)
  • April 2014 (2)
  • March 2014 (2)
  • February 2014 (3)
  • January 2014 (4)
  • December 2013 (4)
  • October 2013 (5)
  • September 2013 (3)
  • July 2013 (4)
  • June 2013 (2)
  • May 2013 (4)
  • April 2013 (2)
  • March 2013 (4)
  • February 2013 (6)
  • January 2013 (2)
  • December 2012 (3)
  • November 2012 (1)
  • October 2012 (4)
  • September 2012 (2)
  • August 2012 (1)
  • July 2012 (3)
  • June 2012 (3)
  • May 2012 (6)
  • April 2012 (4)
  • March 2012 (5)