For more than 20 years Ethical Screening has been providing research to individuals and institutions to enable their investments to make more positive and sustainable impacts on people and our planet.
Since the 1990's we have discussed global warming, read report after report on climate change and espoused the power of finance to shift the dial towards sustainable solutions. In 2015, we were one of the first investment screening providers to offer a fossil fuel divestment tool, giving clients the ability to screen out different levels of involvement in the exploration, extraction, production and use of fossil fuels. In 2018, we created our Positive Themes and UN SDG tools, enabling investment in the solutions to climate breakdown. It is clear that the shift required has not happened soon enough, and now in 2019, we stand at a turning point for humanity.
Ethical Screening has a reputation for being independent and neutral on the issues we research; however, climate change is unlike all other issues we cover. Climate breakdown threatens economic systems, increases the likelihood of human rights abuses through conflict and environmental disasters and will make many parts of the world uninhabitable for humans and wildlife. There is nothing controversial in accepting climate science, there is no ethical debate on addressing climate change, even if there is a wider conversation needed about how we ensure a fair and just transition.
Based on the science, it would be a breach of our duty as directors and employees of the company and as custodians of our stakeholders’ interests to continue as though there is not a Climate Emergency. We therefore declare a Climate Emergency and commit to doing all we can to address it within our spheres of influence.
As a business we have sourced renewable energy for some time, ensuring other businesses based in our rented building have also had access to 100% clean energy. We spoke with the building management during refurbishment to ensure solar PV was added to the roof here at Formal House and we have a range of other policies including supporting cycling to work and recycling on site. We use thoroughly researched carbon offsetting and reforestation schemes in order to mitigate the impacts of unavoidable business travel. However, we acknowledge that our own internal efforts towards low carbon living and working are dwarfed by the impact we have been able to have with investment and fund managers who have used our tools to create lower carbon and solution-supporting portfolios. In declaring a Climate Emergency, we acknowledge that we must continue to talk about climate breakdown with our clients and potential clients and further enable them not only to avoid climate damaging industries but also to support net-positive and regenerative activities using our Positive Themes and UN SDG tools.
We support our staff who wish to attend demonstrations and protest government and industry inaction, where this is lawful and peaceful protest. Working on the issues around climate destruction can be stressful and emotionally difficult; we support voluntary work and enable staff to choose charities each year for donations to causes they believe in, which have in the past included climate focused organisations.
We must seek to maximise the interests of all stakeholders - shareholders, employees, suppliers, customers and our wider community - in the context of a total commitment to doing what is required by the Climate Emergency.