5 June 2019

Lawrence Jones MBE - environment and climate change

Lawrence Jones MBE – environment and climate change

There has never been a more crucial time to acknowledge World Environment Day, and to use it as an opportunity for change.

We are at a crunch point in climate change. Unless we make systemic change soon, extreme weather events are likely to increase and temperatures could rise as much as 2C.  Beyond this the effects are likely to be irreversible and catastrophic for our planet.

It is a stark reality but one that we must all face and do our utmost to work to prevent it.


In business, this means accepting the responsibility that we all have to balance growth and success, with sustainability and care for the environment. Yes, it may be cheaper to stick with fossil fuels but is it better in the long run? Is it the right thing to do?

This was one of the questions that Gail and I had to ask some years ago. Running data centres is power intensive, there are no two ways about it. So with that comes the responsibility to ensure that we are offsetting and limiting any negative impact that this has on the environment.

It’s a responsibility that we take seriously. At UKFast we use only green energy and are a 100% carbon neutral company. I am proud of this and we’re always looking as to how we can further reduce our impact on the environment. We have removed hundreds of unused servers from our data centres to reduce energy consumption for example.

At the Farinet hotel that we own in Switzerland, we have replaced the traditional plastic cups with 100% recyclable cups. We go through thousands and thousands of these in the season, so it’s a big improvement. However that’s only possible because someone somewhere took the time to innovate to find an alternative option.

Ultimately, that’s what it comes down to. Each of us taking the time and initiative to make a change however we can. That change could come in the form of innovating a new alternative to the products we currently use, or it could be a change in your own personal habits.

Small changes to big change

I overheard a conversation the other day in which someone said that cutting out plastics straws, bottles and coffee cups was pointless; it’s one person making a tiny change, it’s the big corporates that need to change for there to be any real impact. Whilst there is some truth here, I do disagree. It is the 1% changes that we all make that collectively add up to huge change.

Cutting out plastics straws and coffee cups forces change in the bigger ‘corporates’. If it means people are drinking less coffee, I’ve no doubt that Starbucks and co will find a way around it to make more sustainable, recyclable alternatives.

When we choose to be more conscious about the way we consume the planet’s resource, we can make a real change. Climate activism is growing, people are making their voices heard and soon the businesses that are not up to scratch when it comes to the environment will inevitably find themselves falling out of favour with consumers.

So this World Environment Day, take the time to look at the practices you could change in both your business and personal life to reduce your impact on the environment, not just because it makes business sense, but simply because it is the right thing to do.



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