Neutral by name but not by nature
By David Penney
You will often read that a company stands for something – indeed you will find it written on our own website.
But what does it actually mean?
The expression “what a company stands for” often relates to its core values and brand – for Penney Financial Partners these include trust, integrity, passion and innovation, ideals that underpin how we do business and all essential in delivering the service that our clients expect.
However, I am not sure that is what we actually stand for. For me, standing for something is more fundamental than what we do or how we treat our customers.
Standing for something is about aspiring to make a positive impact that reaches beyond the expected, that transcends a business’s natural sphere of influence.
In our mission statement we state our commitment to helping families achieve more with their resources, creating a better future in a world worth living in.
This is a mission that that has successfully guided us over the past 20 years although it is the final part of that statement that is the most important and the part that truly expresses what we really stand for – and what has driven us to make a key decision about our business for 2021.
The recent pandemic has been hugely disruptive to all of our lives, but it is climate change that is the great crisis of our age and will eventually have the greatest impact on all of our lives.
It is an issue that has to be everybody’s responsibility, particularly businesses that currently account for half of all carbon emissions in the UK. It is for this reason that we have committed in 2021 to become a carbon neutral business.
In simple terms this means that as a business we will take responsibility for absorbing as much carbon as we emit.
Ultimately this will mean investing in technologies and mechanisms that offset the amount of carbon that we produce at Penney Financial Partners, but our commitment has to be greater if we are truly committed to creating a better future in a world worth living in.
Becoming a carbon neutral business is not just about offsetting but about behaviour. Our goal is not to emit the same amount of carbon and then use the profits we generate to offset that carbon but ultimately to reduce our carbon footprint itself.
This means reviewing our energy use in our offices and switching to sustainable sources, reducing commuting by supporting a more flexible approach to office working and developing a best practice culture where colleagues are encouraged to question and challenge the sustainability of all our business activity.
There is no doubt that it is an approach that is good for business as fewer costs means better efficiency and what business doesn’t want that - but it is about so much more.
At the heart of the service we provide for our clients is to help them manage their wealth for today, for their future but also for future generations – if we don’t stand for taking clear action to provide a better future for all of us then supporting our clients pass on their wealth to the next generation becomes somewhat moot.
Of course, we understand that our contribution to reducing overall emissions will be small but this is also about creating a platform to meet the information demands of our clients.
After all, it is our clients who are our partners in delivering our mission and if we can support them in considering a more sustainable future, then we will know that this was something that was really worth standing for.