mccglc and Sustainability: Staying True

Katy Renwick

Head of Sustainability

Returning to MCCGLC last month I was re-enrolled back into their pension scheme and after a little digging, I was pleased to find I had some options for where this slither of my hard earned savings could sit, including an ‘Ethical Fund’ that I could shift my pension pot into with the provider. After a few quick clicks, my money was now speeding its way into a new greener, cleaner piggy bank. I felt excited to be supporting companies “with a positive record on issues such as fair trade, human rights or pollution” and to be one of those “who want to make sure that their money isn’t being used to support organisations, products, policies or practices that concern them.” A small step I could take towards a more sustainable planet. And as a bonus, the fund was also doing very well – the second best performer in their portfolio.

“After a few quick clicks, my money was now speeding its way into a new greener, cleaner piggy bank.”

If, like some no doubt will, I had boldly trusted the over-generous title of the fund, I’d be none the wiser.

However, a week later I dug into some reports from the provider a little deeper. The top two shareholdings of my new fund were two tech giants, neither of which sprang to mind when I thought ‘ethical’. The first has come under considerable public scrutiny for their supply chain’s use of child labour in dangerous mines (amongst other human rights violations), and the second for competing for lucrative partnerships with the fossil fuel industry.

All of a sudden I felt a little duped by my pension fund’s title and a little less excited about my decision. With a little more research around the web, it does seem my pension provider is rated in the top 5 for ethical pensions, so it didn’t seem that a much better option may be found. But it left me pondering my findings. While I imagine a fair amount of progress has had to be made to get a major pension fund to the point of making any kind of ethical investments, the discovery left me, as a conscious-consumer, with a sour taste. I felt a little less trust for the organisation managing my money. Particularly as it took some digging around their website to find the details of my shareholdings. If, like some no doubt will, I had boldly trusted the over-generous title of the fund, I’d be none the wiser.

My takeaway feeling is that businesses simply must do better. We must be upfront and honest with customers. We should all be aware by now that business must deliver bolder and more radical changes in order to answer the pressing environmental needs of our generation. There is a huge amount for the business world to deliver on if we are to collectively meet our Paris Climate goals of 2030, even 2050. And importantly we must set ambitious targets, communicating our progress transparently and holding ourselves to account, as increasingly others will too.

“My takeaway feeling is that businesses simply must do better. We must be upfront and honest with customers.”

“In 2020 there is no point in having sustainability programmes unless a belief in their value is rooted at our core, allowing it to guide and inform decisions right across the business.”

Millennials (who are now expected to make up 50% of the UK workforce) care about sustainability and are asking more questions of companies and their claims. We are looking for transparency and we’re shown to be hugely loyal to those brands offering it. No longer are consumers so content to buy into a headline.

At MCCGLC we’re only just starting to pick apart our business model and address how more sustainable solutions can be adopted in every corner of our work and operations. There’s a lot to do. And I’m excited to set ambitious goals as well as a roadmap for how we will achieve these over the next 10 years. We want to play our part in driving change within what is an industry littered with difficulties when it comes to sustainability.

But most importantly I want us to be transparent and honest on our progress in this work. In 2020 there is no point in having sustainability programmes unless a belief in their value is rooted at our core, allowing it to guide and inform decisions right across the business. Sustainability must be a guiding principle, and one to which you stay true. Not just a headline.

Our Work

>

Analytics

>

Brand Refresh

>

Ocean
Photography
Awards

Next
Previous