Green action will speak louder than words

Watching Prime Minister’s questions last week, you couldn’t help but be struck how important action (or perhaps inaction) and behaviour is.

Green action will speak louder than words

Sebastian Murphy is head of mortgage finance and Rory Joseph is director at JLM Mortgage Services

Watching Prime Minister’s questions last week, you couldn’t help but be struck how important action (or perhaps inaction) and behaviour is.

This is not really meant to be a political point but it seems somewhat self-evident at present that words and actions matter, and whatever walk of life you’re in, you’re going to be judged by them.

That feels like an important point to make at an important juncture. We’ve written a lot in recent months about ‘green’ issues, cutting carbon emissions, whether ‘green mortgages’ as they are currently presented really do enough – they don’t by the way – and what we perhaps should all be doing as individuals, businesses and an industry as a whole.

It’s clear to us however that the time for talking is almost behind us. COP26 proved that. We are essentially peering over the cliff-edge that scientists have been warning us about for decades – if we continue as we are, then the consequences are likely to be devastating for the planet, its habitats and therefore its inhabitants.

Now, this is a big issue, of that there is no doubt. Individual action will help but it is governments that will have the biggest say, and it is industry and businesses within all our industries which will make the biggest difference.

Our business might not be in the ‘top’ tier of those whose carbon emissions are causing the most damage, but we are undoubtedly an industry which deals in the buying/selling and refinancing of properties which contribute a significant amount to the carbon being pumped into our atmosphere.

Again, we’re not suggesting that our, or your, action is going to instigate and be responsible for the healing of the Earth, but well, it all helps, doesn’t it?

It’s why we’ve decided to act and our suggestion is that it won’t be difficult for you to do the same. What we have done is make all our purchase completions carbon neutral – we’ve done that by working with Carbon Neutral Britain and essentially estimating all the emissions involved per purchase completed.

This isn’t just the emissions coming from us as advisers and the firm though, it really is tracking everything through the entire process, from the time the client clicks on a mouse to look at properties to the time the removal company closes the van door when they get back to the depot after moving the client in. And then some.

We believe this works out as 0.338kg CO²e (Carbon Dioxide Equivalent) per purchase completed, but we are offsetting 1000kg in order to ensure every purchase mortgage application we complete is Carbon Positive.

Now, in a world in which many individuals might be wondering what more they can do, and how they can ensure they themselves are (at the least) Carbon Neutral, we believe this will appeal to clients.

Plus, it’s completely free of charge for them, they’ll get a certificate to show what has been achieved at the end of the transaction and they’ll also be able to see all the projects that are being supported by this initiative.

At the same time, we’ll be Carbon Neutral as a business which means we’ll effectively be reversing our own Carbon Footprint not just this year but in the years ahead.

This isn’t meant to come across as ‘holier than thou’. We struggled to understand where we could make the most difference and what we could actually do to help, especially in a sector where, for example, a lot of travel is involved, a lot of electricity is used, essentially a lot of carbon is emitted. Now we know pretty much how much, and we can therefore offset far more than we emit during the course of the work we do.

There may be more we can do – we will continue to look at this – but at the moment the important point is that we’re doing something and it will support organisations that are putting this into practice. Actions, when it comes to the planet, do speak louder than words.