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Doing Business Sustainably – feat. ClimateCare

We caught up with Vaughan Lindsay, CEO of ClimateCare, which has recently merged with Natural Capital Partners. ClimateCare are dedicated to tackling climate change and improving lives.

The purpose of our series “Doing Business Sustainably” is to feature experts, thought leaders and influencers within Sustainability. We capture and share their expertise. Peer to peer, whilst educating businesses and enabling the next generation of professionals.

ADLIB: Could you please introduce yourself, your company, and your role?

Vaughan: I am Vaughan Lindsay, CEO of ClimateCare and Natural Capital Partners. Earlier this year our two companies merged to form a world-leading solutions provider for companies and organisations looking to meet ambitious climate goals.

Together we are dedicated to working with our clients and our project partners all over the world to take action on climate change, delivering positive results and impact on carbon emissions, communities and our planet. We help organisations take responsibility for their climate impact by financing, developing, and managing carbon reduction projects across the world.

Back in the day, ClimateCare and Natural Capital Partners helped create the voluntary carbon market and pioneered the establishment of quality standards and the use of carbon finance for community development projects. Since then, we have (and indeed continue to) deliver some of the largest carbon offsetting programmes in the world.

It’s a very exciting time for us at the moment, with the voluntary carbon market growing at an extraordinary rate as companies increasingly step up and make commitments to carbon neutrality and Net Zero.

ADLIB: Can you share the story behind the origin of the company and what its mission is?

Vaughan: ClimateCare is a profit with purpose Certified B Corporation and has been recognised as setting the highest standards in our industry. Values and integrity are at the heart of all we do and that aligns us closely with Natural Capital Partners – it’s one of the many reasons we are such a good fit.

Both businesses were founded in 1997 and have a proud record of delivering outstanding results for our clients. We have long been the trusted provider for organisations who are committed to taking climate action.  

We support organisations who want to turn their climate responsibilities into positive outcomes. Working with our global network of project partners, companies are able to take responsibility for their residual emissions by funding emission reductions elsewhere, while also improving lives and addressing multiple Sustainable Development Goals. This approach has attracted a great deal of interest from organisations across the globe who want to find practical ways to ensure the transformation of our economy is truly global through projects which deliver measured, monitored and independently verified positive impacts.

ADLIB: What has been your inspiration to work within Sustainability and what is your take on the importance of Doing Business Sustainably?

Vaughan: For my part, having worked in the profit with purpose sector for many years, I am passionate about delivering sustainable, scalable social change through business solutions. Prior to working at ClimateCare, I worked for LeapFrog Investments, a leading Impact Investor. I have also worked at a number of social enterprises in the UK, including as CEO of The Dartington Hall Trust, one of the largest Social Enterprises in the UK. I also chair both New Philanthropy Capital and the investment committee of Big Issue Invest. Working within a purpose-led business has always been important to me, and it is why I love what I do.

Why do business sustainably? Because I believe it delivers a range of business benefit that cannot otherwise be achieved. Taking action on climate is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it is critical to building customer confidence in your brand, meeting the increasing expectations of your staff and investors, building resilience in supply chains, supporting growth in key markets and helping to launch new products and services.

As Mark Carney has previously stated, “firms that align their business models to the transition to a carbon-neutral world will be rewarded handsomely; those that fail to adapt will cease to exist.

ADLIB: Could you share any challenges, barriers or preconceptions that you’ve come across and had to overcome regarding Sustainability?

Vaughan: There is a perception that doing business sustainably is expensive, but as with many things, this really depends on what that firm’s ambitions are. Businesses are increasing putting significant capital behind sustainability initiatives as they see both the environmental and social imperative, but also the commercial opportunity. But not all sustainability programmes have to be expensive. The key to success is measurement, so you know what you’re trying to manage and can see how your programmes are working, setting goals that are meaningful and credible, and transparently communicating your progress.

Climate strategy is a journey with multiple milestones which include increasing insight, ambition and, of course, taking action.

We believe that being a sustainable business is a real opportunity, and not a challenge. It’s an opportunity for responsible businesses to showcase and standout in areas which have not historically been at the forefront and in short, demonstrate a competitive advantage.

ADLIB: Would you be able to share some of the wisdom that you have gathered around doing business sustainably?

Vaughan: To do business sustainably, an organisation will need to stand for something it believes in. It will need to have a purpose. This business will need to go beyond a singular focus on profit and will need to strive towards positively impacting society and the climate.

Being purpose-led as opposed to being purely profit-minded has been (up until the pandemic) a hard sell in the business world. Like everything; it’s a balance. Many in business have a trade-off mentality – if we make more profit, we must trade off purpose, or if you demonstrate more purpose you will need to discount returns.

However, this trade-off mentality is increasingly being challenged and we have seen the pandemic really flip this on its head. Firms can balance both, and in doing so, they can achieve important business synergies – improved customer acquisition, better customer retention, improved staff engagement, lower costs, as well as identifying new opportunities that others may overlook. And it’s those firms focusing on both profit and purpose, who will have the best opportunity to thrive in the future – and indeed benefit the planet whilst they do so.