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..if not now, when?

Publication date:

20 July 2021

Last updated:

20 July 2021


Esther Dijkstra, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Lloyds Banking Group

'Double Jabbed', 'freedoms', 'mental health impact' 'furlough scheme' are all phrases and words now spoken without a pause ..from the very youngest in any household to world leaders alike. The past 18 months have been synonymous with change, loss and fear. However, it has also been an apocalyptic time for strength, resilience and transformation. With the H1 stamp duty milestones in the rear view and as the nation states collective sporting roar gently flows towards Japan, the summer softening period begins.

‘Virtual fatigue’, 'return to office' 'hybrid models' ‘the rise of digital technology’ are the new buzz words on the block for us. And, as each business takes this summer pause of breath, the nation can reset and consider how we will move forward with our finances, home and health regimes. The FCA has also run, paused, reflected and laid out their focus for consumer protection and so have providers and advisers alike. ‘Sustainability, vulnerability, inclusivity and societal support’ are the themes emerging on trend. I won't wax lyrical on the economy....Interest rates, unemployment, Inflation and GDP...since all of us economists would love a working crystal ball right now! However, the recovery of the health, finance and the nations economy are critical in our future and as the politicians can contest, striking the balance of each, is hard.

What I would like you to indulge my thoughts on for a moment, is the part we all have to play in our own and the society’s recovery. We all have a role in looking for ways to act sustainably and build a greener future. Whether that be correctly recycling our home waste, using less plastic in the office, decarbonising our homes, investing in greener transport or in the investing of funds in sustainable business. All these ideals have their challenges, 'green retrofit' being one I am personally wrestling with, as I weigh up the initial outlay cost running into thousands in order to gain the protracted benefit of c£250 a year in energy efficiency. It all feels very difficult, despite knowing that decarbonising the average home, would save c8.3 tonnes in CO2 production every year. With around one fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions coming from our homes, we need to consider the implications of not doing anything to effect this.

However, there is a distinct lack of infrastructure to support this idealistic endeavour and this is the challenge presented to our home financial ecosystem. We need to take up the mantle of both protagonist, manufacturer and lobby in order to establish a new behavioural social norm of thinking ‘green’ first. There is a cost to everything that's worth it, but surely this investment is worth the world we live in today and for the world of tomorrow?

Is there also some regulatory change needed to aide sustainable advice? Would it be deemed 'best advice' for a client to champion this course of financial action? Whilst costs play catch up in can we help advisers to support their customers green aspirations or start the conversation as to their benefit.
As a lender we’re working on answering our own set of questions. Are EPC ratings the best tool to assess the green credentials of a home? How can we support landlords improving the quality of their stock? Plenty to keep me busy!

The home is where the heart is at the end of the day and even I, as a Dutch national, have been caught recently humming 'it's coming home'... swept up in the buzz of national hope. With the spirit of our respective nations willing them on, both the Dutch and the English teams brave efforts were thwarted, despite skill, valour and resilience demonstrated in spades. There was also cause for more disappointment, as the racial abuse that followed the England result, highlighted that we really must continue to focus dialogue and awareness and to educate further, in this subject. A recent twitter post by Oprah Winfrey transcends;
“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude”

What I do know is that unless change is enabled this period of recovery and the words of a most topical leader…. 'if not now...when?'.

This document is believed to be accurate but is not intended as a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Neither the author (personal or corporate), the CII group, local institute or Society, or any of the officers or employees of those organisations accept any responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the data or opinions included in this material. Opinions expressed are those of the author or authors and not necessarily those of the CII group, local institutes, or Societies.