A climate for change.

We are certainly a solar powered industry but can you have too much of a good thing and should we be investing in a better future?

It’s been true for as long as I have worked in this industry that a good summer weather-wise means a good summer for business. We hope the summer is hot and dry and when that weather arrives we all hope that it lasts, we all wish it to get hotter and drier. Well, as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Last July was the world’s hottest month since records began 142 years ago.

Some parts of the world have just enjoyed unusually good weather but in many places it has been rather more extreme. There have been heatwaves and wildfires all around the world, from California to Canada and from Greece to Turkey. Sicily recorded a high of 48.8C, Europe’s hottest temperature on record. Glaciers and permafrost melt. Sea levels rise. Warmer air can carry more moisture and that has led to flooding across the UK and all around the globe.

For a long time scientists warning us of climate change had to point to figures on a chart or points on a graph. Now we can see the effects of carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses as life-changing events that are happening across the world.

But I already recycle!

Like a lot of people, I think I already do my bit.

I buy locally grown food and carry it home in a reusable carrier bag. I try and make fewer journeys but when I do go somewhere I ride my bike or take my electric car. I buy energy efficient products to put in my well-insulated home and when I am at work I’m extolling the virtues of heat pumps and solar powered pool covers.

And I’m starting to wonder if that’s enough.

Earlier this year Sir David Attenborough said, “There is no going back. No matter what we do now, it’s too late to avoid climate change and the poorest, the most vulnerable, those with the least security, are now certain to suffer.”

Many scientists believe that we can still slow down the rate of change and in some instances, even reverse it but to achieve that there needs to be huge changes in the oil and gas industry, in travel, transport and agriculture and I wonder if it was about time our industry did a bit more to play its part.

But we already do that.

Our industry is now full of products designed to save energy, save water and use less chemicals but in many ways we are shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. The inescapable truth is that many of our industry’s products are made from unrecyclable plastic created through the use of fossil fuels.

Should we start to do something about that?

Since 2008, houses have come with an energy efficiency rating as do do all domestic appliances but our products, our spas and saunas and pools, don’t. If they did, would people choose the most energy efficient? Would it encourage manufacturers to make more eco-friendly products?

It’s worked in other industries. Perhaps it would work in ours.

Invest in the future.

Whatever it’s effects in the long term, this change in the climate has brought our industry a couple of very good seasons. Business has been good; in fact it’s been excellent.

While we have all been busy making hay while the sun shines we shouldn’t forget to invest in our businesses and plough some of those hard earned profits back into our companies, ensuring equipment, software and people are all up to scratch and firing on all cylinders.

Investing pays dividends in the long run.

There are lots of examples of this from businesses big and small but my favourite example of just what can be achieved with the right investment isn’t about business.

In the 1996 Olympics Great Britain finished with a solitary gold in the rowing, won by Matthew Pinsent and Steve Redgrave. The nation was despondent. Then Prime Minister, John Major, made a decision to properly fund Olympic sports and upped spending from £5M to £54M. That increase in funding continued and in 2021 elite sport received £345M.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Team GB’s tally of wins increased to 65 medals, including 22 gold,

I’m sure you get where I’m coming from.