We are acutely aware that slowing the rate of global warming over the next ten years is crucial for the future of our planet. There is more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere today than at any time in human history1, average wildlife populations have dropped by 60% in just over 40 years2 and scientists warn of “severe, widespread and irreversible” climate change effects unless emissions reach net zero by 2030. Without radical action, our lives – including our resources, economies and businesses – are going to be profoundly impacted. Hg is taking our responsibility to be part of that action very seriously.

In addition to our efforts of being carbon neutral as a firm and contributing towards the Sustainable Development Goals as part of our offsetting, Hg has a number of firm-wide initiatives to decrease our environmental impact and engage our staff and clients in environmental causes. Currently, many of these initiatives are related to the office environment as we acknowledge that it’s harder to influence our colleagues’ home working choices related to energy consumption, recycling and general consumption in their homes.

1 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

2 World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Hg’s Forest

In partnership with Tree Nation, an international organisation that fosters re‑foresting throughout the world, Hg established its own forest as a way of thanking the attendees at our AGM in an eco-friendly way. We planted 27 trees per attendee which totals 27,000 for the 1,000 clients that attended our AGM. 70% of our forest can be found in Nepal and 30% in Madagascar, both covering a total of 21.6ha. The trees will capture almost 6,000 tonnes of CO2. To put this in context, this is the equivalent of almost 9,000 transatlantic passenger flights. You can find more information about Hg’s forest here.

Business travel reduction

The dawn of Covid-19 forced a radical re-think for Hg, as was the case for companies and individuals around the globe. One of the upsides of the pandemic is the large decrease in Hg’s business travel carbon footprint. Business travel normally accounts for ~90% of Hg’s total carbon footprint, with flights being the key emitter. The number of flights taken by our colleagues in the UK office fell from 1,763 in FY2019/20 to just 203 in FY2020/21 and our US office did not travel at all in the past financial year. Hg’s 2020/21 carbon footprint will be reassessed in Q2 2021 and the results will be shared on our website.

Virtual fund-raising

However, lack of travel has not impacted Hg most recent fundraise. In 2020, we raised three funds partly virtually; Hg Saturn 2, closing on $5 billion, Hg Genesis 9, closing on €4.4 billion; and Hg Mercury 3 closing on €1.3 billion. The funds were fully allocated only three months after launch, receiving robust support from Hg’s existing investor base and attracting significant commitments from notable new global investors. The success of this virtual fund-raising points to a lower carbon future for Hg.