“Carbon Conversations” Global Social Event

26 October 2021

As part of the Firm’s ESG agenda, Spencer West colleagues met virtually and in person for a global social event, themed around climate change. 

We were joined for the Global Social by Special Guests Sonnedix, a solar independent power producer (IPP) with over 4.7GW of capacity across eight countries. Spencer West and Sonnedix have been working closely together on projects ranging from Sonnedix’s Advisory Panel to the Sonnedix Sustainability Academy, an international education initiative on which Spencer West and Sonnedix are currently collaborating.

The conversation was kicked off by Senior Partner Simeon Spencer, who asked about the impact of population growth on climate change. From the Sonnedix side, Beth England and Irune Elorz acknowledged that population growth is a major contributory factor. 

Attendees then split into smaller groups, and came back with a range of further questions for Sonnedix, including questions around:

  • the compatibility of climate change awareness with commercial approaches; 
  • the importance of linking carbon reduction to a broader business strategy; and 
  • the difficulty presented by climate change sceptics and deniers 

Beth and Irune provided helpful and enlightening responses to these questions. Both agreed that a commercial approach, with climate and sustainability strategies firmly embedded in the broader business strategy, was essential to make carbon reduction truly sustainable. Nowadays, customer power is key and companies need to harness it to their commercial advantage by projecting an authentic commitment to climate action. ‘Walking the talk’ is, therefore, a must to avoid greenwashing and to ensure long-term customer engagement

As for the challenge of climate scepticism, as Irune pointed out, the latest IPCC report had said for the very first time that the climate crisis is  ‘unequivocally’ caused by human activities. Where people don’t want to listen to reason, Beth suggested, the best strategy is to calmly stick to the facts, clearly undisputable at this stage. 

The discussion came to an exciting conclusion: if consumer habits can be changed, and the whole model of power consumption shifted, consumer power would weigh powerfully for climate stabilisation, creating a powerful new alliance between the scientific and the commercial. 

Future Spencer West Global Socials this year will include a virtual visit to the Caribbean, where Spencer West Partner Shan Greer will speak about her provision of free legal support to groups of entrepreneurial women in St Lucia selling their agricultural products on the mainland USA. 

Ian McDowell
ESG Director
Ian McDowell is the Community Engagement Director at Spencer West.