2021 has been quite a year for White Marble’s sustainability practice. We started the year as a team of four, growing to seven over the summer with members of the team completing both the CFA ESG Investing Certificate and courses through the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership. Benjie Elston also took on the role of Head of Sustainability.
This growth was partly driven by our internal goals to make sustainability a more established and integrated practice at White Marble, and also in response to growing client demand for expertise in the field across a wide range of consultancy projects. Increasingly, we are engaging with clients to help them resolve fundamental questions on what they stand for from a sustainability perspective at a corporate level, and how that interacts with their ESG integration processes at an investment level.
We have also been busy developing our first fully on-demand course - focused on responsible investing - which launched in September. Designed to offer marketers of all levels a foundational understanding of the fundamentals of the responsible investing landscape, it provides an overview of products and regulation in market, the tools and approaches to effectively articulate, build and integrate a sustainable brand and communicate it to key target audiences, and establishes the role marketing can play as a change agent towards more sustainable business practices.
Our ongoing client work gives us unique insight into the challenges and questions asset managers are contemplating across the board. The research initiatives we launched in 2021 - including the Leaders in Sustainability report, research on the Ethnicity Pay Gap in conjunction with City Hive and our annual CMO Exchange – sought to shed some light on those key areas of interest. We have continued to work hard to offer the industry relevant and insightful content and events through our virtual Expert Speaker Series and where possible in-person roundtable events.
Internally we are proud to celebrate 15 months of being a climate positive workforce, having planted over 7,500 trees so far and removed over 417 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.
Looking to next year, we have our eyes firmly set on continuing to grow and develop our sustainability offering, ensuring we can assist our clients in their sustainability journeys, whatever stage they may be at. We have several exciting initiatives and industry partnerships in the pipeline and are looking forward to 2022’s iterations of the Leaders in Sustainability report and associated events. We also plan to expand the scope of the research to cover the US market and will soon be launching a North American iteration of the Responsible Investing Marketing Certificate. This will allow us to bring more regionally specific insight to our clients and colleagues across the pond.
Last but certainly not least, we are committed to continue evolving our own business to be more sustainable and purpose-driven. We have ambitious plans in place to expand our CSR activities, including more targeted team volunteering initiatives and the continuation of our carbon offsetting programme. We are excited to announce we are formally seeking B-Corp certification in the new year, a rigorous undertaking that has already taught us a lot about ourselves. We look forward to sharing more about that journey in the not-too-distant future.