The second seminar for Livery Companies took place on 15th April with a positive introduction and ringing endorsement from the Lord Mayor Alderman William Russell. He thanked the Livery for spearheading this topic which is a high priority for him as the “Green Lord Mayor”. The seminar heard from Dr David Viner and Raphaelle Vallet from the Green Investment Group. They gave a succinct and evidence based description of the impact of Climate Change and an overview of the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals. A large number of livery members attended and a video is available for those who missed out or what to view again or use it for other events. You can view this here https://youtu.be/kuitwFHCB0g
The seminar ended with breakout rooms for everyone to contribute to the discussion as to what Livery Companies are already doing, especially with their respective industry/trade sectors. There was so much to talk about and some comments can be shared here:
-Noted that this varies from company to company, with some having a more direct link eg Gardeners and Horticulture, Architects on UK building regulations, Water Conservators on the UK water industry which is the 4th largest energy industry in the UK. It was suggested that these could be mapped .
-For some companies there is a strong link with their industry through training, grants, research etc. Young engineers drive methodologies to reduce carbon.
-Plans are underway by the Chartered Architects to build a temporary ‘Eco Show Home’ in Paternoster Square. Funding support has been received from Mitsubishi and Savills. This initiative is being driven by a consortium.
-The Engineers have a series of online seminars discussing net zero issues; mostly attended by members but open to others too.
-Awareness in industry has given rise to changes, e.g. The Poseidon Initiative, a global framework for responsible ship finance. One influence is that the more polluting ships must pay a higher insurance premium. Shipping companies and port authorities are highlighting the need to reduce climate change which will hopefully drive behaviour.
-How to double glaze stained glass being considered.
-Promote the use of sustainable materials eg Drapers and wool, Carpenters and supporting woodland
-Conscious that blacksmiths are big users of fossil fuels, although not a large industry, and few of the Blacksmiths Company are practising in the trade. However now promote only using Welsh coal to reduce international miles. Also reviewing alternative energy sources for furnaces.
-As might be expected strong support for education by the liveries. This ranges from Livery Schools Link to supporting specific schools as well as grants prizes studentships, scholarships and lectures projects etc. The need for climate action is woven in here but could probably be extended.
One thing that has absorbed me over the last year is work around the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy coupled with the lead up to COP26.
It was exhilarating to work on both topics as I have had a long involvement with sustainability, green finance and the environment. Ten years ago this was not so popular such that I felt I was pushing the Corporation uphill in trying to get buy-in about the need to consider emissions and the impact of climate on risk and resilience. My determination then led to the setting up and chairing of a subcommittee which was the start of the Corporation’s road to be considered a leading authority. I ensured that the Corporation complied as much as possible (creating a corporate Carbon Descent Plan to net zero carbon by 2050 and being the first local authority to be accredited under the Carbon Trust Standard) as well as linking to the Governmental interest in this topic via the Environmental Audit Committee. I was asked to help lead the Green Finance Initiative that led to the Green Finance Institute where I am a non-exec director.
Working on the City Corporation's preparation for COP26 has been a significant piece of work. When the date was moved to November 2021 it was agreed that the City would host the Green Horizon Summit in November 2020 which reached hundreds of thousands of delegates. This positioned the work of the City with Government on a national and international stage. Now work is progressing towards November 2021, including the legacy thereafter.
The Corporation's Climate Action Strategy was launched in October 2020 with an ambition to create a net zero Square Mile by 2040. https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/assets/Services-Environment/climate-action-strategy-2020-2027-20-10-20.pdf
This was game-changing in the way that the departments in the Corporation worked together to achieve a programme of work that received significant member support. I am leading the engagement with some of the stakeholders across the City and arranged a recent seminar for the Livery Companies which has resulted in a full programme of workstreams to prepare the Livery for net zero; to lead in education on this topic and provide protocols and templates for smaller businesses and charities to achieve net zero and address other areas regarding climate change. https://www.liverycommittee.org/about/city-of-london-corporation/climate-action-strategy/