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Turning climate ambition into action at the National Trust: a multi-faceted case study (recording available)
February 15 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm GMT
A case study on driving transformational climate action in a diverse and complex business with multiple stakeholders
The National Trust is as big and complex as many FTSE250 companies, with 10,000 staff, £600 million of annual turnover and an endowment of £1.5 billion. It hosts approximately 20 million visits per year to its mansions and gardens, and runs hundreds of cafes and shops as well as thousands of residential and holiday rental properties. Its 600,000 acres include farmland (much of it tenanted), woodlands and wild landscapes.
This case study focused on driving transformational climate action across this diverse and complex entity. After deciding to divest from fossil fuels in 2019, the National Trust set an ambitious target of transforming its estates and operations to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.
Orna NiChionna, experienced non-executive director, Chapter Zero Fellow and Deputy Chair of the National Trust discussed what progress has been made so far and the challenges involved with Peter Vermeulen, Chief Financial Officer, Lizzie Carlyle, Head of Climate and Environment, and Alice Bordini Staden, Investment Committee Member and Stewardship Lead at the National Trust.
Orna NiChionna, Deputy Chair of the National Trust
Orna NiChionna is Chair of the Remuneration Committee at Burberry plc and is the Senior Independent Director at Saga plc. She is Deputy Chair of the National Trust, and a Trustee of Sir John Soane’s Museum. She was Chair of digital innovation consultancy Founders Intelligence until its recent sale to Accenture. She is a Trustee of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
She spent 18 years at McKinsey and Company’s London office, where she was the first woman to be elected Partner. Since leaving McKinsey she has served on the boards of major UK companies including Royal Mail, Bupa, Northern Foods, HMV and Bank of Ireland UK; she has also been an advisor to Apax Partners LLP. She was Chair of environmental charity the Soil Association for six years.
Peter Vermeulen, Chief Financial Officer of the National Trust
Peter is responsible for all aspects of IT and Finance including Procurement, Risk and Assurance and Pensions.
Peter joined the Trust in April 2016 after working for more than 7 years at Middlesex University where he was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Finance. Before that he held positions with the School of Oriental and African Studies, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and PwC. He has broad financial experience including commercial audit and investment banking, as well as working with charitable trusts. He was also a longstanding trustee of a highly successful grass roots charity in east London.
Lizzy Carlyle, Head of Climate and Environment of the National Trust
Lizzy is the National Trust’s Head of Climate and Environment, leading the Trust’s response to climate change, including developing the carbon policy and putting in place appropriate adaptive measures for current and future climate impacts. She also heads the environmental management team, which works to minimise the environmental footprint of the National Trust’s many places and activities through reducing energy and water use, ensuring a more sustainable approach to resource use, and preventing pollution. Lizzy’s work plays an important role in ensuring the National Trust can deliver its purpose – to care for, and provide access to, beauty, history and nature, for everyone, for ever.
Lizzy has a long career in the environmental field, starting in the paper mills in Scotland before joining the civil service, first in Scottish Natural Heritage, and then in Defra. She joined the National Trust in 2004 as a regional environmental adviser, and took up her current role 10 years ago.
Alice Bordini Staden, Investment Committee Member and Stewardship Lead at the National Trust
Alice Bordini Staden has nearly 25 years’ experience in investment management, stewardship and climate policy. She held CIO and PM roles of innovative multi-strategy, multi-manager portfolios, investing in over 500 funds before focusing entirely on ESG investing, stewardship, climate finance and policy. Alice is an Investment Committee Member and Stewardship Lead at the National Trust, Europe’s largest conservation charity, running its activities in shareholder engagement and investor practices with invested companies and other market participants.
Alice is also an Advisory Panel Member of the Financial Reporting Council, the UK regulator for audit, reporting and governance, on stewardship and investment management matters. She is an advisor in shareholder engagement for the non-profit environmental law organisation ClientEarth, consulting on climate-related corporate legal strategies in Asia, and an Advisory Council Member for the All-Party Parliamentary Group in Sustainable Finance at the House of Commons, UK Parliament.