We were delighted to be recognised as winners in the Green Team Network and Global Action Plan Ireland Funds Industry Climate Challenge in the Manager category. Here Peter Clinton, Head of Fund Risk at GemCap shares his thoughts on the challenge and some of the initiatives we’ve got planned this year.
It was a great pleasure to attend the Irish Funds conference in Dublin and accept the award for Best Manager at the inaugural Irish Fund Climate Challenge on behalf of GemCap.
This was a fantastic initiative set up by Green Team Network and Global Action Plan Ireland to help inform people as to how their daily activities are contributing to their carbon footprint. This was achieved by having each participant log their daily activities over a two-week period on the “Ducky” app, where each activity had a CO2 saving associated with it. For good measure this was made into a competition to see which firm could make the most savings.
At GemCap, we fully embraced the challenge with every employee taking part and it resulted in some great initiatives being created – my favourite being the GemCap Library. We realised that there are a lot of shared interests across the company in terms of reading material, and so instead of each of us going out to purchase the latest best-seller, we set up a company library that we can all contribute to and borrow from.
It was also quite eye-opening to see how a small change to your daily routine could result in large savings of greenhouse gases. Most of these changes are already well known, from switching off lights and electrical items when not in use to reducing the amount of water waste through being more efficient with clothes washing, showers and washing dishes. What is interesting to see is the impact that these small changes can make. The one statistic that stood out for me was that based on our average per-person CO2 saving, if everyone in the UK were to implement these changes, it would amount to a 48% reduction in the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions which is quite astonishing.
It was little nuggets of information like that which made this challenge so effective.
As the year rolls on, we at GemCap will continue to look for ways to improve the sustainability of the company. Some of the initiatives that we have begun or plan to do before the end of the year include:
- Planting wildflowers and hanging bee hotels in the office garden which was completed in early spring. We also hope that our apple and pear trees produce as good a yield as last year when we used them when cooking for families at Ronald McDonald House. Fingers crossed they make it into this year’s dishes.
- The Platts Wood Community Woodland project is an initiative very close to the heart of our group CEO and founder Stuart Alexander, and it continues to be an important part of our sustainability program.
- We have also decided to engage with St Michaels House who do some incredible work for men, women and children with intellectual disabilities, and we look forward to assisting them in any way we can over the coming months.
Overall, we found the experience to be a great learning opportunity and we look forward to continuing the positive changes we put in place throughout the duration of the challenge.