Archive for November, 2021

Political Insider: The Labour Reshuffle

Posted on: November 30th, 2021 by Tomas White

However, until now, Sir Keir hasn’t had the opportunity to stamp his authority on the party and shape the Shadow Cabinet in his own image. That changed with yesterday’s wide-ranging and much more extensive than expected reshuffle; the ultimate outcome of which was to promote Labour’s strongest Parliamentary and media performers, almost exclusively moderates, to senior positions.

Learning from the botched reshuffle in May – which was more widely known for the power struggle that emerged with his Deputy, Angela Rayner – yesterday’s reshuffle showed that Starmer is emboldened in his position and is no longer nervous about making some of the necessary changes required to make the Labour Party electable again.

No more is this evident than the very timing of the announcement, with news of the reshuffle leaking out just as Angela Rayner was preparing to deliver a keynote speech on standards in public life. While initially blindsided by the news, Rayner publicly approached the reshuffle with good grace – although today’s papers are well-briefed that she expected to be part of any reshuffle discussion…

Ed Miliband’s demotion from Shadow Business to a slimmed down Shadow Climate Change position was a shot across the bows for the former Leader who ruffled feathers with his recent book outlining a policy prescription to ‘go big’ and who clashed with the incumbent during party conference. Jonathan Reynolds, well-liked by business leaders in his previous Shadow Treasury position, replaces him.

The most prominent appointment is the return of Yvette Cooper to frontbench politics as Shadow Home Secretary. As one of Labour’s most formidable performers, Cooper brings necessary heft to Labour’s top team and is an importantly recognisable figure to the general public.

Meanwhile, Lisa Nandy was technically demoted from Shadow Foreign Secretary to shadow Michael Gove at the Levelling Up Department, but it is hard to find anybody in Westminster who doesn’t agree that this is a better use of her talents. Needless to say, this role will encompass one of the key policy battlegrounds of the next election. David Lammy, another Commons top performer, replaces her at Shadow FCO.

Yesterday’s promotions weren’t just for seasoned veterans. Wes Streeting and Bridget Phillipson were both promoted from junior shadow ministerial positions to Shadow Health and Shadow Education, respectively – suggesting that Starmer has an eye on the next generation. Expect both to be prominent media spokespeople for Labour in the years to come.

We are potentially only eighteen months away from a general election. Starmer has decided to put in place the team he wants to present to the country as the next government. Yesterday’s reshuffle went a long way to demonstrating that a more competent, moderate, and dare I say, new Labour Party is emerging from a torrid few years for the official opposition.

Nobody doubts that Labour still has a long way to go. Starmer’s dismissal of the left of the party and continued battles over matters such as the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn could cause him serious internal headaches in the future. His assessment, however, is that now is the time to turn away from these internal issues and face the public. With the government’s poll lead faltering, a series of by-elections in the offing and significant policy challenges ramping up, yesterday’s reshuffle may in the future be seen as a decisive moment on Labour’s path back to power.

MHP Mischief and Kiyan Prince Foundation announce new strategic partnership

Posted on: November 29th, 2021 by Tomas White

The Kiyan Prince Foundation works to promote social mobility and thriving communities and reduce violent crime, by inspiring and coaching young people across the UK.

The pro-bono agreement means that MHP Mischief will develop the charity’s brand strategy and creative campaigns, while providing media and partner relations support.

Established by former boxer Dr Mark Prince OBE in honour of his son Kiyan, who was tragically killed while trying to break up a fight at his school, the Foundation helps thousands of young people to achieve their potential. The partnership with MHP Mischief will help the Foundation with its mission to find a permanent site from which it can run its outreach and support programmes.

As part of the agreement, Dr Prince will support MHP Mischief’s talent outreach programmes, helping to attract next generation talent into the communications industry.

MHP Mischief’s 2021 campaign for the Kiyan Prince Foundation, #LongLiveThePrince, imagined what Kiyan’s life and career as a professional footballer would have been like, 15 years after his death, aged 30.

The campaign featured a photoreal digital avatar of Kiyan, playable inside the FIFA21 video game. Working with partners including QPR, JD, Framestore and Topps, we secured a dream signing for Kiyan at his childhood club, a boot deal, and billboard advertising in iconic locations.

The work drove a year’s worth of donations to in a single day, allowing the charity to increase its outreach work. Even more importantly, it reached 60% of the target demographic, 78% of whom said it was relevant to their lives and 74% of whom said they would recommend it to a friend. #LongLiveThePrince won five awards at the 2021 PR Week Awards.

Unveiling the partnership, MHP Mischief CEO Alex Bigg said:

“This is a proud moment for our agency: A chance to do work that will change lives for the better and tackle some of the most urgent social issues facing our country. The Kiyan Prince Foundation is an incredible charity and this partnership will help it reach many more young people.”

Dr Mark Prince, CEO and Founder of the Kiyan Prince Foundation, explained:

“MHP Mischief have been incredible partners over the last year and I’m delighted to expand our relationship. Their strategic and creative expertise will help take our organisation to the next level.”

MHP Mischief campaign lead James Rollinson, added:

“We love working with Mark and his team. Their passion and commitment to this vital cause is inspirational. #LongLiveThePrince was an amazing campaign to be part of, and now we have the chance to build on its success and help the Foundation reach thousands more young people around the country.” 

Shared Decision Making — Is Progress Threatened by the Move Towards Remote Consultations?

Posted on: November 22nd, 2021 by Tomas White

The Patient Voice Panel brings together an ethnically diverse group of patients from a variety of demographics, living with different long-term conditions. Our aim is to understand the unique perspectives of lived patient experiences to help shape the decisions and communications strategies of organisations involved in healthcare.

This report sets out the findings from our first Patient Voice Panel meeting in October 2021, which focused on the hotly-debated topic of remote consultations and their role in enabling effective shared decision making for patients. The discussion explored whether remote consultations are enabling or hindering the opportunity for patients to express their values and goals to healthcare professionals in decisions about their treatment options and individual care. With the recent announcement of a £250 million NHS winter access fund for primary care to increase the level of face-to-face appointments, the debate regarding the merits of in person versus remote consultations continues to dominate political and media agendas. While the availability of remote consultations has provided patients with clinical access in unprecedented times, how they are conducted going forward and to what extent, remains a critical focus.

The Panel findings highlighted that remote consultations have the potential to improve some aspects of shared decision making, identifying a clear role for industry to develop targeted digital online tools that provide care and support solutions for patients and clinicians. However, not all patients can engage on equal terms with digital services and there is growing evidence to suggest that remote consultations can act as a barrier to shared decision making if not used correctly.

Industry has a critical role to play in enabling patients to make informed choices about their treatment and care. The solution must lie in working in partnership with patient groups to understand the perspective of real life patient voices from different demographics to help meet the diversity of need.

Our collaboration with the Patients Association to create the Patient Voice Panel is an important step in our ongoing commitment to represent the perspective of the whole patient population, with the ambition of achieving equitable patient centric and sustainable healthcare systems for the future.

 

Shared Decision Making —
Is Progress Threatened by the Move Towards Remote Consultations?

ENGINE-MHP-Patient-Voice-Panel-Shared-Decision-Making-is-Progress-Threatened-by-the-Move-Towards-Remote-Consultations

Headline Insights from our first Patient Voice Panel:

Patients on our Panel valued the flexibility, reduction in travel times and the opportunity to remain in the comfort of their home provided by remote consultations.

They also felt that remote consultations have the potential to improve some aspects of working together with clinicians to agree their treatment goals and gave them the opportunity to speak with and gain the perspectives of more than one clinician. This was seen as a significant benefit that has potential for shared decision making.

However, to enable effective shared decision making, the consultation types offered need to be able to flex to meet the differing needs and preferences of patients. They also need to be in a format that are suitable for the types of issues being discussed. For these reasons, it was felt that there is still some way to go to ensure that all patients are provided with a choice of consultation types that reflects their individual needs.

To discuss the findings of our first panel report, we brought together leading experts from the Patients Association, professional bodies and Industry, together with patients who participated in the MHP Mischief/ Patients Association Patient Voice Panel:

  • Rachel Power – CEO, The Patients Association
  • Victoria Bates – Patient Engagement Lead, ABPI
  • Hannah Saul – Global Director Oncology Patient Affairs, AstraZeneca
  • Mo Hafeez – Patient, MHP Mischief Patient Voice Panel
  • Heather Devey – Patient, MHP Mischief Patient Voice Panel
  • Dr Stephen Allen – Patient Representative, Tackle Prostate Cancer
  • Alison Dunlop – Senior Director (Patient Advocacy), MHP Mischief

ESG Insight: COP26 round up

Posted on: November 19th, 2021 by Tomas White

Glasgow breakthroughs

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched an international pact signed by 40 countries and organisations including the EU, China, US, India to make clean technologies the most affordable, accessible, and attractive choice globally by 2030. The agenda takes a sectoral focus on ‘Glasgow Breakthroughs’, with annual global reviews in each sector starting in 2022:

  • Power – clean power the most affordable and reliable option for all countries to meet their energy needs efficiently by 2030
  • Transport – zero emission vehicles to be more accessible, affordable, and sustainable in all regions by 2030
  • Steel – near-zero emissions steel production in every region by 2030
  • Hydrogen – affordable renewable and low carbon hydrogen to become globally available by 2030
  • Agriculture – climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture to be the most attractive and widely adopted option for farmers everywhere by 2030

A notable new supporting initiative is ‘The Breakthrough Energy Catalyst’ programme, which aims to raise $3bn in concessional capital to catalyse $30bn of investments to reduce clean technology costs and create markets for green products for green hydrogen, Direct Air Capture, long-duration energy storage, and sustainable aviation fuel.

The detail

Climate Finance

There are a whirlwind of new alliances, pacts and taskforces to navigate in the world of climate finance targets, standards and capital. We’ve broken down the key takeaways from the last two week’s announcements below.

Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ)

  • Former Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney declared the initiative had been backed by more than 450 financial institutions across 45 countries and had leveraged up to $130 trillion of private finance to help global economy’s transition to net zero, in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5oC

  • The commitment provides a targeted framework through which signatories can reduce carbon emissions from their lending and investment portfolios and achieve net zero by 2050
  • Investors must disclose five-year decarbonisation plans within the next 12-18 months under the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance
  • Under the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, signatories commit to rigorous transparency and accountability, publishing Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) reporting annually, complete with climate action plans
  • Annual reporting against PCAF Standards uses the low/no overshot 1.5 oC scenarios consistent with the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Paris Aligned Investment Initiative

Climate Transition Taskforce

  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out ambitions for the UK to become the world’s first net zero financial centre
  • A science-based ‘gold standard’ for transition plans will be drawn up by a Transition Plan Taskforce by the end of 2022, with firms expected to start publishing transition plans in 2023
  • The UK also committed a total package of £576m to mobilise finance into emerging markets and developing economies to fund their green transition

Deforestation

On Tuesday 2 November, over 100 countries signed up to the pledge to end deforestation by 2030. Backed by £7.2bn of new private funding, the pledge increases the committed amount to a £14bn mix of public and private finance. Key signatories include Brazil, Indonesia, Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which together contain 85% of the world’s forests.

28 countries also committed to remove deforestation from the global food trade, and over 30 financial institutions, including Schroders and Axa, pledged to end investment in deforestation-linked activities.

Methane

The US and EU announced a global pledge to limit methane emissions by 30% compared to 2020 levels. The Global Methane Pledge now has 110 signatories, and accounts for over 50% of anthropogenic methane emissions and 70% of the global economy.

Leading emitters include natural gas production, cattle, and agricultural farming industries. While no specific funding amounts or sectoral policies have been confirmed, we can expect greater detail to come.

Coal

More than 40 countries and 22 organisations including HSBC, NatWest, and Lloyds Banking Group, signed up for the UK’s pledge to end all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally.

Major economies committed to phase out coal power in the 2030s while poorer nations agreed to follow suit by the 2040s. However, there was significant disappointment that major coal producers and consumers including the US, Australia, India, and China (which made a related pledge in September) are not party to the deal.

Glasgow Climate Pact

After two weeks of intense negotiations, in the eleventh hour, intervention by India and China blunted a commitment by 197 countries to end the use of coal. The key compromise was to change the commitment’s wording from “phase-out” to “phase-down”, arguably placing far less urgency on the intensity and timeline with which signatories will reduce coal use.

Nevertheless, the pact represents historic global governmental consensus on the imperative to reduce coal use, the first COP agreement to do so, with countries also compelled to strengthen their unilateral carbon-cutting targets by the end of 2022.

Carbon Markets

Negotiations surrounding the historically contentious issue of international carbon trading markets under Article 6 of the agreement made good, although somewhat compromised, progress in Glasgow.

New comprehensive accounting rules for the international transfer of carbon market units – crucially, the introduction of “corresponding adjustments” – will help shut down the notorious problem of emissions ‘double-counting’, whereby the buyer and seller both claim a carbon offset to buttress their net zero credentials. Now, only the buyer can use transferred emission reductions.

Autos

Alongside many governments, financial institutions, and local governments/metropolitan areas globally, 11 automotive manufacturers including Volvo, Ford, General Motors, and Jaguar signed a declaration on accelerating the transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans by 2035 in leading markets and 2040 globally.

To achieve this, governments committed to adopt policies to enable, accelerate, and incentivise the transition, automotive manufacturers committed to align their business strategies and build consumer demand, and financial institutions agreed to make capital and financial products available to enable the transition for consumers, businesses, charging infrastructure and manufacturers.

Further regulatory developments in and around COP26

  • Britain to be the first G20 country to make the TCFD recommendations mandatory – the government confirmed just ahead of COP26 that from April 6, 2022, over 1,300 of the largest UK-registered companies and financial institutions will be required to apply the TCFD recommendations. It follows the FCA who, in December 2020, introduced a rule for companies with a UK premium listing to disclose, on a comply or explain basis, against the recommendations of the TCFD. This new rule applies for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2021
  • FCA set to require intermediaries to take into account sustainability issues when advising clients – in a discussion paper published on 3rd November to coincide with COP26 Finance Day, the FCA said it is introducing Sustainability Disclosure Requirements for firms involved in investment management and decision-making processes
  • IFRS announces global sustainability standards board – efforts to establish a global consensus for climate and sustainability disclosures took a major step forward as the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS) announced the new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) on 3rd November. The ISSB will consolidate with the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) and the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF) by June 2022, resulting in the formation of a new global standards setter. The ISSB is expected to come out with a first set of ‘baseline’ global standards on climate-related disclosures in mid-2022, which would build on the TCFD recommendations

A step in the right direction, but is it enough?

The COP26 summit in Glasgow may have ended on a sombre note, with many seeing the “phase-down” commitment as a watered-down pledge indicative of the difficulties in leveraging global consensus on the urgency required to tackle the climate crisis. For the UK, Natasha Clark, Political and Environment Correspondent at the Sun, told MHP Mischief,

“for the PM the further headache is how he sells green policies to voters, many of whom care about the environment and climate change, but don’t want it to hit them in the pocket.”

Mark Babington, Executive Director of Regulatory Standards at the FRC commented,

“there is a real focus on ensuring COP26 delivers tangible outcomes, and therefore yes, I think there is real commitment, and real buy-in [from Government] to do that”

Mark Landler, the New York Times London Bureau Chief said,

“if we emerge from this COP with some sense of how climate finance works, how emissions reduction targets are measured [then] I think it will be seen as a successful COP”

See our full interviews with Mr Babington and Mr Landler here!

All in all, the summit laid bare the tensions in global efforts to tackle global warming, with many debating whether it is fair to expect developing countries with fewer financial resources to make the same pledges as more developed nations, and whether developed nations need to do even more on climate finance to alleviate historic injustices in the global climate agenda.

Nevertheless, progress has been made. Building global consensus on the need for greater and faster action is a challenging process and whilst this COP may have concluded with an unsatisfactory climate act, through such an intensely public process, the summit has escalated the narrative on fossil fuel use, biodiversity, and Global South engagement and support to an unprecedented degree.

Sustainability – the non-negotiable requirement

Posted on: November 2nd, 2021 by Tomas White

Whether it’s how you travel, how you shop or how you invest, seemingly every activity is considered with regards to its carbon footprint and ethicality. This is no bad thing, given scientists’ warning that if we raise global temperatures by more than 2°C (which is likely in the next 13 – 31 years), the world will become uninhabitable.

With more and more of us mindful of our own impact, so too are businesses acutely aware of the need to disclose their sustainability measures and demonstrate they are actively playing a role in lessening the impact of climate change, whilst still offering a stellar service.

In the investment industry, the move to “green” appears to have taken place almost overnight. In the last quarter of 2020, 215 new sustainable funds were launched, swiftly followed by a further 169 new sustainable funds in Q1 this year. This has been supported by 128 asset managers, collectively managing $43trillion in assets, signing up to reach net zero emissions by 2050; all fund managers active in Europe pledging to adhere to the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulations (SFDRs) and the industry as a whole moving to reach the Paris Agreement Goals.

While such a push is to be applauded, the speed of this change is such that there is an overwhelming amount of confusion around what any of these assurances and claims actually mean.

SFDR, CMIP6, IPCC, WTF?

The unintended consequences of this phenomenal shift towards sustainability are far-reaching:

1) End investors, already often overwhelmed by swathes of information about their funds have not been fully updated on what new terms and rules mean to their investments, resulting in a wealth of misunderstanding;

2) Regulation and enforcements surrounding what is considered sustainable are somewhat lacking, creating a murky land of supposed transparency;

3) Every fund manager now appears to be doing the same thing – and greenwashing is rife.

The vast majority of sustainable funds adhere to relevant sector regulation and cite the use of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria to evaluate investments or assess their societal impact. But what this really means is rarely explained, meaning consumers either have to blindly trust that their investments are truly being used in a sustainable manner, or undergo a huge amount of due diligence (requiring an impressive amount of prior knowledge) to really look under the hood of a fund. The fact remains that with most consumers unaware of the difference between E, S or G, this level of examination is unrealistic.

This lack of transparent information, driven, in part by a lack of relevant data, is often coupled with the dearth of stringent regulation around the area. Pledges to reach net zero are never investigated, commitments to consider ESG criteria are rarely probed and, more often than not, new sustainable funds are simply existing funds with a different, colourful, wrapper. The end issue for investors being that sorting the wheat from the chaff is a thankless and near impossible task; and for fund managers who really are investing sustainably, their voices and actions are often drowned out amongst the market noise.

How to stand out in a sea of green

Fortunately, all is not lost. While the industry is far from perfect, the opportunity to improve is within touching distance. Starting by supporting the consumer, there is huge scope to provide clear information on what sustainability is – educating the end investor on why they should care and clearly explaining how asset managers are making their investments work hard for them – in a truly sustainable manner.

Where regulation falls short, the industry has the opportunity to fix itself from the inside out – calling out good and bad practices; celebrating transparency and recognising where more needs to be done. There are several firms already doing just this, and the results in terms of market inflows, speak for themselves.

Finally, consumers are becoming increasingly engaged and discerning. A recent report from data analytics firm, Kantar, predicts that by 2029, over half of the global population will be “Eco Actives” –those who care about the environment and the role they play in protecting it. This in turn means that they will seek out businesses who share their values, fund managers who not only invest sustainably but who encourage and strive for a more sustainable and transparent industry.

We have all seen the rise in consumers voting with their feet and when faced with such an emotive and important subject, this behaviour is likely to be exacerbated. With so much noise about investing sustainably, this topic is becoming a hugely polarising issue – resulting in even more tribal and demonstrative actions and driving consumers to make the move from being vocal about what they want to taking physical steps to achieve it.

The net result being that industry players who clearly and proactively demonstrate their sustainable credentials, and those who provide consumers with the level of information and clarity they require, will not only help with the survival of our planet, but will also be those reaping those rewards.