At the beginning of last week I went to the Institute of Directors to see various “think-tanks” congratulate each other on their thinking- typically carried out in plush Mayfair offices at the expense of a Foundation set up by a grandee. It was hard to tell one thinker from another , especially as the thinkers seemed to swap tanks every couple of years before heading off into a career in politics or public relations. In this world, the best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with a passionate intensity.
At the end of the week I went to an empty shop in Brick Lane where Share Action had assembled a very large number of people to recognise who had been helping them over the past twelve months and to drink some cold beers out of an iced-up dustbin!
The kind of people who get active with share action are various. I enjoyed the company of an elderly couple from Yorkshire who have been leaning on North and East Yorkshire Pension Schemes to pay attention to where their pensions were invested. Elderly people form a phalanx of the voluntary activists that Share Action co-ordinate. It was great to think I might be useful in a few years!
Also at the event were many Millennials, some Share Action staff, some committed interns and one or two little Howarths passing round the bagels!
David Pitt-Watson made the point to me “how do these guys do so much on so little?” It didn’t need an answer, we just had to look around the room and the pavement outside. Catherine Howarth, Share Action’s CEO brings an energy to the proceedings which permeates.
It was good to see familiar faces – well done Jon and Steph for recognition of your work with Professional Pensions. The jelly moulds they were presented with are featured in the non-official photo on the left
It was good to meet again inspirational people like John Gray (who took the “official” photo on the right and has published his own thank you blog) – oh and Tony Filbin – who is hanging his head in shame for flying away on holiday (what’s wrong with rowing to the US Open?)
But best of all, it was great to celebrate that the Share Action agenda is winning.
If you want to know what that agenda is, I urge you to spend some time on Share Action’s brilliant website.
If you don’t have the time to be involved directly but want to contribute to the work they’re doing , you can donate.
A winning Agenda
I sort of top and tailed my Thursday by going to the CSFI sustainable finance breakfast in the morning. There I found that Standard and Poors, Moodys and Fitch talking about how a public company’s credit rating could be affected by its positive or negative behaviour with regards ESG (Environmental Social and Governance).
There was a lot of talk about how to make companies take action and then a bloke stood up and handed round a leaflet on how the Thames was being polluted by Thames Water. I know the spots in the photos (Bourne End Marina) as Lady Lucy uses that marina a lot.
In return for being caught dumping the equivalent of 120 Olympic swimming pool’s worth of sewage into the Thames, Thames Water have been downgraded for their debt, now have to pay more to service and have a lot of pissed-off bondholders. That shows that The Share Action agenda is also a Bond Action agenda – and it’s winning!
The great news from the Environment Agency Pension Fund (EAAPF) surplus. May they not be the last! Here is an excellent infographic c/o Pensions Expert/Morgan Stanley showing how ESG is catching on.
While Thames Water are polluting our waters , the Environment Agency and their pension scheme are cleaning up! A lesson for D Trump and others!
Almost everything we do has a consequence in terms of sustainability. The kids know it, those elderly people from Yorkshire know it and the City knows it. That CSFI Sustainable Finance breakfast was standing room only.
Having the courage to stand up in your workplace
After the Sustainable Breakfast, I was late for a morning with the Pensions Regulator at an event they put on to talk with their Stakeholders about what they were up to. I look back at this as a wasted opportunity. I should have had the courage to ask tPR what it intends to do ensuring the 40,000 Pension Schemes they oversee to ensure the money invested is invested with a view to the sustainability of our planet.
Instead I flunked my question and asked something else. This was a case of my share inaction! Infact, if I put down I’ve been to Share Action on my weekly briefings to colleagues, I get a metaphorical kick up the arse by my boss and I’m accused of being “tangential” by another!
This is another sign of Share Action winning. The antipathy to the Green agenda from some of my close friends is a sure sign that it is a winning agenda! So – thanks to my recent interaction’s with the people from Crucifix Lane, I’m only going to get more Active!
So much with so little
While the swanky think-tanks swank it up in Westminster, Mayfair and St James, Share Action gets on with it in Brick Lane and Bermondsey. The evening was great, their people are great and the cause is great! I believe in action and I support Share Action!
Thanks to Catherine Howarth who makes the difference and to all her team who made for such a great evening.