Out of the ashes of this pandemic, Guernsey will emerge faster and stronger than almost any other European nation. This is the opportunity of a generation to redefine and readjust our island to the place we want it and need it to be, says Fred Betley, sustainability advisor, at ESI Monitor
Sustainability is the issue that will define our future ambitions as a society. We have profited amazingly from our developments; technologically, industrially, and infrastructure-wise but they have been built with little regard for their long-term effects on the environment, the economy, or our society.
If we cannot create a world that lives harmoniously with nature, allows for equal opportunity for every individual, and creates prosperity for all, then we cannot expect to inhabit our world for much longer.
For those of us that have been lucky enough to enjoy the island at its most quiet and undisturbed we have developed a new perspective and love for our island’s natural beauty and serenity.
Life will return to ‘normal’, but attitudes will no doubt change. As the world has witnessed Venetian waters clear, so we will see them murk over; as we have breathed cleaner air, we will begin see it smog; and as we have watched wildlife return, so too could we see it leave. We have been removed from normal life, and when we return we will see it with a fresh pair of eyes.
We can see our island for how beautiful it is, and in this time of solidarity, we can see our community for how beautiful it is. So let’s use this knowledge and pride to build the best version of Guernsey.
Guernsey has a unique set of circumstances that allows us to benefit, almost immediately from embracing sustainability. Guernsey Post transitioned to an all-electric delivery fleet primarily for the cost-benefits; our recycling system is one of the best in the world because we are organised and responsible as a community; and Guernsey Finance want to define Guernsey as the centre of sustainable finance because we have the industry to support it. The only thing that is stopping our island from being a driving force for local and global good is a lack of coordinated ambitions.
During this pandemic we have acted as one, working together for the safety and prosperity of the Island, so we know that we are able to define our ambitions as an island to fulfil our goals. So it’s time to create goals as an island, supported by people, businesses, and government to help achieve ambitious targets of sustainability.
By what year do we want to be carbon-neutral as an island (meaning our net output of CO2 is 0)? What opportunities do we want to give to every child? How can we best support those whose mental or physical health has been weakened? How can we inspire diversity and equality of gender, race, and class? How can we protect our island’s biodiversity? And how can we inspire economic opportunity and innovation?
The best place for Guernsey to start is by committing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These are 17 goals that have been agreed upon by all 196 UN member states. They range from 1. No poverty, to 3. Good Health and Wellbeing, to 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, and 13. Climate Action.
Committing also means measuring and managing businesses and governments’ environmental impacts, this is what we do at ESI Monitor, because you can’t manage what you can’t measure and it’s time to act not just virtue signal.
If Guernsey government, schools, shops, businesses, and individuals can work together on achieving these goals then we truly can make Guernsey the best place in the world to live. The most significant action we can make is coordinating our ambitions as an island, so they can be achieved in harmony and collaboration. Whatever we put our minds and passion to can be achieved- we just need to work together to achieve it.
Guernsey’s Lieutenant-Governor has backed the Channel Island’s first carbon offsetting scheme which aims to raise more than £100,000 for local biodiversity projects.
The project has been launched by ESI Monitor, who are a local environmental and social standards business, and has been sponsored by The Channel Islands Co- operative Society.
Islanders will be encouraged to input how many miles they drive annually and what type of car they have online. Their carbon will then be calculated and islanders will pay to offset it. The money will be split between ‘green’ projects both worldwide and in Guernsey.
The Lieutenant-Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder was one of the first to use the scheme by offsetting emissions from Government House road vehicles.
He said “We are blessed with a beautiful natural environment here in the Bailiwick, so I’m pleased to be able to do something that directly helps to protect it for future generations. I’m also delighted to support a local initiative that is working to internationally recognised standards to help build Guernsey’s reputation as an environmentally responsible jurisdiction.”
Kenny McDonald, head of retail operations for The Channel Islands Co-operative Society, said: ‘The Society are delighted to be the main sponsors of ESI’s Carbon Offset scheme. As a responsible retailer we are committed to doing as much as we can to lessen our impact on the environment, and this is a fantastic green incentive we can encourage both our colleagues and members to get on-board with.’
ESI Monitor hope the scheme will encourage islanders to reduce their carbon footprint as much as they can in daily life. Normal carbon offsetting schemes work by calculating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by things like cars, motorbikes and boats and spending money to sequester an equivalent amount of CO2e or stop it being emitted. Harmful emissions include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, water vapour, and nitrous oxide. These are all ‘natural’ gases, but due to human activity they are being emitted at extremely unnatural rates. These are commonly calculated as ‘CO2e’, or carbon dioxide and equivalents.
ESI Monitor’s Carbon Offset Plus supports projects that absorb CO2e or prevent CO2e from being produced in the future. 80% of the projects are certified, such as from WWF Gold Standard, and 20% are non-certified projects that deserve support.
Making it unique, in addition, Carbon Offset Plus also supports environmental conservation and restoration projects in the Islands, both on land and at sea. ESI Monitor hope to become a major funder of restorative biodiversity projects in the islands through this scheme plus a consumer, business and airline versions coming soon. Once all versions are live we hope our funding of local biodiversity projects could exceed £250,000 a year, but to do this we need islanders to embrace the scheme.
“Carbon offsetting is not new,” said ESI Monitor Sustainability Advisor Fred Betley. “However it is not always possible to be reassured that signing up to a scheme will have the impact that you would like. By establishing this scheme, based locally and using certified projects, Carbon Offset Plus will offset 100% of a given activity and additionally provide grants to biodiversity in the islands, giving Channel Islanders the peace of mind they need that they are helping the environment at the point of pollution and further afield.
“We also felt it was important for the scheme to directly benefit our local environment, which is why we will use half of the funds to support local conservation schemes.”
Rising greenhouse gas emissions are accelerating climate change faster than anticipated. A warming climatic system’s effects are felt globally, and for many these effects are expected to impact the availability of basic necessities, including freshwater, food and energy security. We are a long way from limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C in a carbon-neutral world by 2050. By offsetting your carbon emissions and supporting ‘green’ projects both locally and worldwide, you’ll be starting the transition to a more sustainable life.
To sign up, individuals or businesses should visit the www.carbonoffset.com or www.esimonitor.org/carbonoffsetplus website where they can enter the details of the cars, motorbikes or boats they would like to offset, following which an annual charge will be calculated.
Islanders offsetting boat, car or motorcycle emissions will receive a windscreen badge to proudly display, demonstrating that they have made a significant contribution to the mitigation of climate change.
Boat owners can also choose to purchase the Carbon Offset+ flag to proudly fly and encourage others to transition to a local boating community that is creating a more sustainable future.
“We are very grateful to our sponsors the Co-op as well as the Lieutenant-Governor for setting such a good example and encouraging others to consider offsetting their own emissions. We already have a range of individuals and businesses signing up and are keen to hear from more.”
More information: https://carbonoffsetplus.com
Businesses across the world are becoming more conscious of their environmental impact, following growing worldwide concerns about climate change, biodiversity loss, and the unsustainable use of resources. As a result, many companies are making significant investments in mapping, assessing and reducing their environmental and social impacts. Yet bold claims of carbon neutrality, in the absence of independent verification or audit, can simply leave organisations open to accusations of greenwashing. This can result in damage to the brand, business reputation, and the integrity of the sustainability movement.
Investors are also increasingly concerned about the scope and quality of environmental disclosure. This January, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s 2020 letter to CEOs carried the stark phrase – “Climate risk is investment risk”. Moreover, in recent years, the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) has gathered increasing traction in both financial and non-financial companies, while the Climate Action 100+ movement has grown in strength and now represents over 450 investors managing over $40 trillion in assets worldwide. Yet there is still a need for these good practices to become mainstream, a fact recognised in the Global Resource Initiative’s recent call for financial institutions to carry out and publish environmental and social ‘due diligence’ into their lending, investment and advice activities.
ESI Monitor is a Channel Island-based business. Our mission is to instil a consciousness of sustainability through the process of business accreditations; a desire for improvement through comparative data and the social influence of kite-marks; and to provide products and services that feed creative ambition for sustainability to thrive. We support organisations who have a genuine desire to transition toward sustainability today, and we help them work through the following steps on their journey.
It is well known that businesses can’t manage what they can’t measure. It is obviously important to measure impact on the environment, but the most credible businesses will follow a measurement standard (such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol or British Standards). For example, this could mean disclosing not just Scope 1 emissions (direct emissions from a site, building or vehicle), but also Scope 2 & 3 (power purchases and supply-chain emissions). With a business’s environmental footprint measured to a standard, organisations need to be clear on what they have, and have not included. Finally, whatever is measured should be independently audited to ensure it passes scrutiny, and so the organisation can show it is trusted.
Before considering things like carbon offsetting, businesses must develop a practice of minimisation. There are many steps that can be taken to improve environmental performance, and many will also improve an organisation’s profitability. For example, energy and water efficiency practices will save carbon and scarce resources, but also reduce costs. Organisations should aim to minimise emissions as much as possible before considering offsetting, in line with published best practice. Once again, minimisation should be done to a standard and audited.
Having measured and minimised their impact, businesses should embed sustainable practices and culture into all aspects of the business and actively manage incremental ongoing improvement. This goes beyond having a separate ‘sustainability’ manager or function (although this dedicated expertise can also be helpful), and ensures that all employees and stakeholders have a say in building more sustainable and responsible businesses.
Residual Carbon & Offsetting
Having taken the steps above, an organisation will still have a residual carbon footprint. At this point, carbon offsetting becomes a real option. Organisations considering carbon offsetting should look for quality schemes and consider getting guidance on options. Different schemes offer different benefits, such as the location, type and timescale of offsetting projects sponsored. When deciding how much to offset, make an allowance for the carbon you have not been able to measure and look to estimate that and add to the known number. Then you are ready to offset – or at least you were pre Covid-19.
Life will return to ‘normal’, but attitudes will no doubt change. As we have witnessed Venetian waters clear, so we will see them murk over; as we have breathed cleaner air, we will begin see it smog; and as we have watched wildlife return, so too could we see it leave. We have been removed from normal life, and when we return we will see it with a fresh pair of eyes. We must ask ourselves if simply carbon offsetting is enough given the threats. What about cumulative carbon footprints from centuries of emissions? What about the environment where you are based – how are you supporting or restoring this? What positive action are you taking to help endangered species our actions have jeopardised from consumption and supply-chains overseas?
So what does good look like? All the above – but, in the future, even more. Setting out on the journey and carrying out part of the above is a great first step, but be cautious about overstating your commitment and carbon neutrality. If claims do not stand scrutiny, then reputational damage and accusations of greenwashing are sure to follow.
Written by Ian Corder & Fred Betley
Hilary brings’ over 17 years’ experience working as a campaigner, policy advisor, manager, and consultant for international organisations, United Nations agencies, governments, NGO networks and community based organisations.
Hilary has worked on diverse legislation and policy areas including development finance, migration, global health, gender, environment, security, agriculture, unfair trading practices, public procurement and trade as well as international norms including sustainable development goals, development effectiveness principles and the practices and modalities employed.
She has coordinated campaigns and advocacy towards the United Nations, World Bank Group, OECD DAC, G7, G20, European Union, International Finance Institutions and bilateral development banks, bringing in-depth knowledge of policies and processes of these multilateral institutions. She has led the development of and authored a range of thematic evidence-based research and analysis. She has extensive experience in developing trainings and facilitation. She holds a number of Directorships, including Value Metrix consultancy.
Focusing more locally, Hilary is a trustee of several foundations, member of the Jersey Soroptimists International, committee member of the Whitley’s Association and the editor of St John’s Parish Magazine.
Environmental Lawyer and Legal Counsel Claire Smith
ESI Monitor is delighted to announce the appointment of Claire Smith to the board as a non-executive director. Claire has over 20 years’ experience in environmental law and is a committed sustainability advocate. After graduating from Cardiff University Wales and Amiens University France in English and French law, Claire worked in London, Birmingham and Cardiff advising on environmental law during the emergence of carbon trading, sustainability standards and green leases. Claire has been at the sharp end of significant environmental projects and seen the best and worst that the world has to offer in terms of carbon off-setting and reforestation projects.
After moving to Guernsey, Claire was a Senior Associate at law firm Ogier’s, before taking up the role of legal Counsel at Investec Bank (Channel Islands) Limited who are current holders of the ESI Monitor Silver accreditation for their environmental business operations.
Marc Laine the founder of ESI Monitor said “we are so lucky to have Claire’s passion, knowledge and experience in environmental law. This experience will be invaluable as we develop our accreditation standards, our new advisory team and develop new and innovative ways to help businesses and individuals prosper and live more sustainably.
Claire said “I am fully committed to making the world a better place to handover to the next generation. Benchmarked Environmental performance is becoming the key success differentiator between those businesses that say the right things and those that disclose their action and also do the right things.”
Economist and sustainable finance expert Dr Andy Sloan
Andy is an expert reviewer for the International Panel on Climate Change’s (‘IPCC’) Assessment Round Six, he established and chairs Guernsey’s green finance initiative, and represents Guernsey at the United Nations’ Finance Centres for Sustainability network. Andy is passionate about the natural environment and is a champion of green finance as a route for Guernsey to prosper economically and play its proper part in funding the transition to a global low carbon economy.
Andy is presently Deputy CEO at Guernsey Finance and was previously Director of Financial Stability & International Policy Advisor at the GFSC and the States of Guernsey Economist. Andy graduated Birmingham, Cambridge and Hull Universities and holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Engineering and Economics as well as a PhD in Economics.
Marc Laine founder of ESI Monitor said. “We are so pleased to be able to announce Andy’s appointment. We recognise his environmental passion and drive to develop sustainable finance in Guernsey. Andy’s appointment also sends a message similar to that of Mark Carney’s appointment as UK Government climate change adviser. Both demonstrate that sustainability is now mainstream in finance for businesses that wish to survive and prosper. “In October Mark Carney said “Companies that don’t adapt will go bankrupt without question.”
Dr Andy Sloan commented “In post COVID 19 times, fighting climate change is not an optional extra and whilst green finance is a major opportunity to develop our economy, it’s vital that all firms do everything reasonably possible to support this goal. To be successful, island businesses need to demonstrate that they operate to the highest standards aligned to green finance and environmental principles. Guernsey businesses need to have benchmarked environmental accreditation and prepare to disclose their environmental impact publicly in the future. Marc’s demonstrated real leadership and achieved so much progress already with ESI Monitor, moving Guernsey’ business forward with their environment and social credentials, in a short time. I’m delighted to join his Board and looking forward to bringing my climate change expertise to ESI Monitor to help continue to fight the good fight locally.”
ESI Monitor are delighted to announce that Jon Buckland has joined the team at ESI Monitor as an associate consultant. As well as advisory work, Jon also leads the verification process and site visits to business that have submitted applications for our Community Champion Award.
Marc Laine, founder of ESI Monitor said “ Jon has been a great addition to our team, he is highly respected in the business, environment and voluntary sector.”
Jon is also the Founder of Unleashing Potential which is a boutique consultancy committed to creating futures where people, businesses and organisations flourish. He is passionate about encouraging the growth of conscious capitalism and supports business leaders to understand the benefits that flow from having a purpose beyond profits, developing conscious leadership and culture throughout their business, well-being of their staff and focusing on the long term by prioritising stakeholder orientation.
ESI Monitor is delighted to announce the appointment of ISO14001 Lead Auditor, Sheena Brockie. Sheena joins as a senior associate consultant to advise clients on sustainability, ISO14001 accreditation and lead on the accreditation of ESI Monitor Environmental Business Operations award accreditation.
Marc Laine, founder of ESI Monitor said “Sheena is a sustainability consultant and a qualified ISO14001:2015 Lead Auditor. Sheena’s expertise will enhance our award standing and allow us to support clients on the path to ISO14001 or EMAS accreditation.
Based in Jersey, Sheena works predominantly with local businesses and charities to assess environmental footprint and help build environmental management systems.
Leaning on her 25+ years experience in the Finance Industry (15 years as a Compliance Professional for regulated businesses) Sheena has transferred her skill set to enable businesses to adhere to environmental legislation.
Sheena is the founder of The Good Jersey Life, a local interest blog with a focus on eco-friendly living.”
As co founder of Plastic Free Jersey, and as a recipient of the JEP Environmentalist of the Year Award, Sheena often speaks at local events and delivers training and workshops on sustainability.
We are very excited to welcome her onto the team. Congratulations Sheena!
Environmental and Social Impact Monitor are delighted to announce the appointment of Senior Associate Environmental Consultant Ian Corder. Ian has previously worked for WWF and the UK Environment Agency.
Marc Laine the founder of ESI Monitor said “Ian is an enthusiastic Chartered Environmental Manager with the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. He brings together strategic management ability with strong technical and digital skills and is equally comfortable building a strategic vision or drilling into the detail, with particular experience in modelling, forecasting, metrics and audit/improvement.”
Ian has worked across a range of sectors including infrastructure, engineering and agri-food, on life-cycle cost and carbon modelling, value-chain management and business sustainability and productivity improvement.
We will be building our strategic advisory capability to advise businesses, governments and other organisations on environmental and sustainability matters.
Ian is a member of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management, and also holds qualifications in project management and accounting from the Association for Project Management and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants respectively. He has an MSc in Environmental Management from the University of Nottingham and a BA in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge.”
We are thrilled to welcome Ian onto the team.
Congratulations to Trust Corporation International for becoming the first dedicated trust company to enrol in the ESI Monitor Community Champion Award!
This demonstrates a commitment that reaches beyond just stakeholders and clients to the local community. This is quickly becoming expected of businesses, and by Trust Corporation making this first step, they will no doubt be rewarded for beginning to take account of their local actions, for supporting their community at large, for an attitude of self-improvement, and for embarking on the sustainable transition.
Community Champion Award
ESI Monitor has developed a simple and effective way for businesses to demonstrate their commitment, and the contribution they make, to the community they operate in. Accredited businesses are listed in our directory as having surpassed our threshold. They will receive the award and quarterly benchmarking data on their performance compared to other businesses in their own industry, as well as interesting comparisons to other industries.
The aim of the award is to reward those businesses that contribute most and encourage other businesses to attain higher standards. Major adoption will see a significant increase in contributions from the business community to the third sector.
Private data, as shown in the table below, is be provided quarterly for individual businesses to judge their performance and make choices about future contributions. If required, the data can be used to provide regulatory, government, suppliers, customers, staff and relevant parties with independently verified data on their contribution to the community.
To enter your business into the Community Champion scheme, simply fill in the online form at https://esimonitor.org/community-champion-rating/. Once we have received your submission, we will arrange a site assessment visit, where our assessor will assist with categorising any items and validate the data provided. Once the assessor has completed the onsite assessment, they will make their recommendation to ESI Monitor regarding your Community Champion award eligibility.