The year of transition!

In this blog I am going to try and pull together a few of the themes I have been writing about over the past two years.  For context, those themes have been :

  • Approaches to sustainability in controversial sectors, such as coal and palm oil
  • Getting more political, specifically writing to policy makers
  • Adapting my own approach, particularly at work

2020 is proving to be an exciting year for climate change and sustainability.  It is only the third week of January and we have already seen a Larry Fink Blackrock letter stressing the importance of this issue, a Davos World Economic Forum focused on sustainability and huge public attention on the disastrous bush fires in Australia.  I have encountered a noticeable uptick in interest, both professionally and personally.

Transition toward the low carbon economy will be a focus for 2020, leading up to the COP in Glasgow in November.  More and more companies are making public announcements, such as Credit Suisse, limiting the financing of new coal-fired power stations or Microsoft aiming to be climate negative.  This is to be welcomed, progress but a lot more to do.  Government policy is also moving in a similar direction, with one notable exception.  Although 2020 could potentially be a year of transition in the White House too! 

Given business and government action, I expect the controversial sectors to come under increasing pressure.  Overall this is welcome, but there is a balancing act to achieve sustainable development, particularly where greater economic prosperity is required.

It is great to see the momentum in sustainability and I have been thinking carefully about my own role in this context.  Progress has been made in my role and a foundation created for more action in the future.  I have been mindful to think of my legacy in my organisation, while working over the past 3 years on Sustainable Finance.  2020 will be a year of transition for me too.  I have made a decision to move to a new role, to a small consultancy entirely focused on climate change.  This will include moving as the company is based in the Netherlands.

I feel really excited for this change.  I am looking forward to being in an organisation where sustainability is so fundamental and part of the values.  In the Finance sector, the Netherlands is at the forefront of thinking on sustainability – with both the central bank and financial services companies taking action.  It will be really interesting to be part of this leading edge.

Here’s to transition!  Wishing you the best of luck in your own 😊


2 thoughts on “The year of transition!

  1. Wow. No longer “Canary in the Wharf”, this is a major, exciting career change for you! I applaud your brave move. Quite a transition from a global banking giant to a small consultancy. As you say, the Dutch banks, regulators and asset managers are leaders in sustainability. I sometimes joke that we would be too if 30% of our country was below sea level.

    On climate change, one aspect I’ve been thinking of is the reporting of countries’ carbon emissions. While some countries report low direct emissions, shouldn’t we move to a consumption-based model, where their imports of oil, steel, cement, cars, food etc are captured in their country emissions? As it stands, their suppliers (often emerging markets?) report the emissions, which distorts the ‘user’ picture.



    1. Hello there,

      Yes, it is going to be quite a change! I am excited, my current experience during year-end reporting prep is definitely reminding me it is time to leave 🙂

      I agree the hard to abate sectors, such as steel and cement, should be a key focus for transition and consistency in reporting is important. There are so many methodologies for calculating scope 3 emissions and associated pathways. The Transition Pathways Initiative has interesting work in this area. Disclosing basis of prep / assumptions is key for these sectors.

      Scope 3 can be misleading for some countries, as you allude to, as emissions are offshored. One to watch in the run up to the next COP in Glasgow….


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