At the IoD Guernsey 2021 Convention, several local and off-island keynote speakers scrutinised how Guernsey can make a big impact on the global issue of sustainability. Our speakers analysed this in the context of Simon Anholt’s Nation Brand model.
The Nation Brand Index ranks a jurisdiction attractiveness and success based on six key areas: people, tourism, exports, governance, investment and heritage.
Matthew Bell and Lindsay de Sausmarez reviewed the people impact when it comes to sustainability, including what we can do from a government level, a corporate perspective and individually what we can achieve.
The key takeaways and discussion points from Matthew and Lindsay included:
Think circular, not linear. The big picture includes how consumption equals cost, and resource efficiency lowers costs. Not being sustainable is no longer commercial, therefore environmental benefits equals business benefits.
The three biggest growing areas of jobs for people right now are digital, healthcare and low carbon sectors.
For some large companies, the only way that they attract younger employees or the best new graduates is by shifting their strategies. The next working generation is looking not just for the salary, but for companies that align better with their social values and their beliefs about the future of the world.
Lindsay quoted Margaret Mead to inspire the audience: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.’
The transition to a more sustainable economy won’t happen of its own accord: it needs people to act; and to act, people need to make decisions; and to make decisions people need to understand what will have the most effect. We can effect change through government actions, business actions and individual actions.
The three main contributors to Guernsey’s carbon footprint are energy, waste, and transport so for people to make a meaningful and measurable difference in the local context, those are the areas to focus on, using the hierarchy approach.
The top priority for energy emissions is to avoid, and this is a simple hierarchy to live by: If you can’t avoid, then reduce your use, and if you can’t reduce it, consider whether you can replace it with greener and cleaner alternatives. The last resort it to offset the energy you use. Businesses don’t have to be experts in all of this: services like ESI Monitor can help.
The waste hierarchy focuses on preventing things from becoming waste in the first place. If you can’t prevent waste, you may be able to reduce it. Next in the hierarchy is repair and reuse, and only after all that is recycling – quite far down the hierarchy, so better than disposal, but not nearly as good as not using the resources in the first place, or making them last longer.
There’s plenty of scope for households to reduce food waste in particular: for example, we throw out 20,000 slices of bread a day in Guernsey – the weight of two elephants.
The transport hierarchy prioritises active travel (walking and cycling), followed by public transport, then small vehicles, with single occupancy vehicles right at the bottom. This hierarchy works not just for climate change but also for spatial efficiency, pollution, congestion, safety, and economic vibrancy. Creating more liveable, walkable communities is all about good connectivity, convenience and safety. We can all try more sustainable ways of getting round the island – and if nothing else, try an e-bike: they’re absolute game changers.
Each of the segment leads requested three asks from the audience as individuals, business leaders and States of Guernsey members. Lindsay’s asks were:
Build sustainability into your business and upweight it in business decisions.
As senior leaders, buy in, and allocate responsibility for sustainability to others in the organisation.
Use the hierarchy approach to reduce your energy, waste and transport emissions.
We encourage business leaders to share their own sustainable objectives on social media and include the #My3IoD to engage with other likeminded individuals.