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Sustainability in Enterprise - Cockburn Lucas

Green financial advisers on track to supercharge their sustainability strategy with support from NTU.

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Cockburn Lucas Logo

Cockburn Lucas Independent Financial Consulting Ltd provides fully independent financial planning advice to over 950 individuals, companies and Trusts, around the East Midlands and beyond. The West Bridgford-based company was founded in 1997 and has gone on to become an award-winning financial consultancy, known for its relationship-based approach to financial planning.

For the last five years, Cockburn Lucas has provided a Positive Impact Investment Service in partnership with EQ Investors, giving their clients the opportunity to benefit from impact investing – an approach that aims to make a positive contribution to society or the environment, alongside an attractive financial return. Around 20% of the company’s client assets, totalling over £25 million, are currently invested in sustainable and ethical investments. The carbon footprint of this responsible investment portfolio is nearly half of EQ Investors’ worldwide equity index.

Now, Cockburn Lucas is working towards becoming more sustainable as a business. Through NTU’s Sustainability in Enterprise project, which is part-funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the company has been working closely with NTU’s qualified and experienced Sustainability Consultants to calculate their carbon impact and turn their sustainability strategy into an action plan to reduce emissions.

Mike - Cockburn Lucas

Mike Horseman, Managing Director at Cockburn Lucas

We spoke to the company’s Sustainability Champion, Callum Tindall to find out how they have benefited from the support on offer.

“Our Managing Director, Mike Horseman saw an article about NTU’s free sustainability consultancy and how it’s helping local businesses and thought ‘wow’. We were already on our way to becoming more sustainable, but we knew we needed help and advice to reduce our carbon footprint.

We’ve recently launched a sustainability plan based on five pillars – increasing our clients’ responsible and sustainable investment options, improving our office practices for the benefit of society, greening our supply chain, encouraging employees to make more environmentally-friendly travel choices, and taking the company’s sustainable ethos into our personal lives. However, we knew there were gaps in our understanding, especially around how best to implement the changes we need to make.

Working with NTU’s Sustainability Consultant, Rose Playle has helped us fill in those gaps and given us our first ever baseline carbon footprint, along with 31 recommendations for reducing our operational carbon emissions and improving our environmental performance. If all the recommendations were implemented, they could cut our carbon footprint by 20.61%.”

Rose explained: “As part of the Sustainability Consultancy support, I calculated Cockburn Lucas’ carbon footprint using a range of data spanning several areas of the business, followed by a site visit to their premises to identify recommendations.

Taking into account their existing sustainability plan, we developed a list of actions to reduce carbon emissions and promote environmental best practice within the business.

Cockburn Lucas were engaged throughout the Consultancy process and are focussed on embedding sustainability throughout their operations and service offer.”

The consultancy identified that Cockburn Lucas’s biggest carbon generator was transport, accounting for 62% of the company’s carbon footprint. Callum explained:

“Traditionally, our financial advisers go out and see clients, who can be just down the road or further afield, across the East Midlands and beyond. We knew that travel was an issue but seeing the scale of our travel impact has been really important for us as a business. Financial advisers deal in figures, so seeing the impact in numbers will help to change our company culture and how we behave.”

What we’re doing now

Callum - Cockburn Lucas

Callum Tindall, Sustainability Champion at Cockburn Lucas

“One of the key things for us is to move our advisers towards electric vehicles and Rose provided us with advice on incentives including electric vehicle salary sacrifice schemes. Rose’s recommendations also included implementing a travel hierarchy to eliminate travel wherever we can, for example, by using video conferencing, and when it can’t be avoided, using the lowest carbon intensity form of travel possible. To encourage this, we’re incentivising our employees to walk, cycle and use public transport, alongside switching to electric vehicles, by offering free employee benefits like the Cycle to Work scheme.”

Cockburn Lucas is currently based in an old, rented building but is moving to new leased premises later this year. Callum believes the consultancy will help them bring their new offices up to scratch.

“Many of the recommendations Rose has given us will be really helpful including switching to energy efficient lightbulbs and insulating radiators. We’re in the process of verifying that our electricity is supplied from renewable sources and we’re continuing to make small changes in the office too, such as using digital solutions like DocuSign™ rather than putting paper documents in the post, and encouraging everyone to recycle as much as possible.”

The worm has turned

It appears that Rose has made an impact at Cockburn Lucas in more ways than one...

Mike Horseman is also a member of the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and a Community Biodiversity officer for his local area, the Nottingham Park estate. As part of a wildlife enhancement plan for the Park, Mike is setting up a wormery and naming a worm in Rose’s honour!

The impact

Callum concludes: “The consultancy has recommended both the macro and micro changes we can make to reduce our carbon footprint, and shown us how it all adds up. It’s there in black and white.

Understanding our carbon footprint is fundamental as we work towards becoming carbon neutral. Alongside reducing our emissions, we’re also investigating the possibility of using carbon offsetting in the short term, so knowing our current carbon impact means we can work out what we need to offset.

The support we’ve had has been fantastic and so worthwhile. Above all, it’s given us the tools, know-how and motivation to supercharge our approach and implement our sustainability strategy deep into our company culture. Now, we’re keen to sign up to Carbon Neutral Nottingham 2028 and put ourselves forward for industry-based sustainability awards.

As a company, we see green investing as a growth avenue for our business, and it’s becoming increasingly popular, especially among younger generations. Research by Make My Money Matter suggests switching to a green pension provider is the most powerful thing you can do as an individual to protect the planet, cutting your carbon 21 times more than going vegetarian, giving up flying, or switching energy provider. If we can encourage investors to move their money into greener, more impactful ways of investing, then we can help to be part of a much bigger change, alongside becoming carbon neutral as a business.”

How to access the support available

Find out more about the broad range of support that NTU is providing to local businesses: