We are delighted to announce a new appointment to the Turquoise team. With experience across ESG, emerging technologies and clean infrastructure development, Charlie Ramsden joined us this autumn as investment associate.
What has been the most significant technological development of recent years?
The widespread penetration of artificial intelligence, driven by fast advances in machine learning. We already enjoy the benefits of simple AI in everyday life, examples of which include Siri and Alexa. As with all new technologies, some elements of AI are over-hyped but there are promising areas that may help solve more complex issues in the future. This includes driving autonomous vehicles or designing smarter energy systems.
What has been the most influential legislative change in that time?
Net Zero. In 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to legislate for net zero emissions. It is a totally necessary commitment. The legislation creates a legally binding target for the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100%, relative to 1990 levels, by 2050. As it stands, the UK is currently not on track to reach this target, which means that growth of the low-carbon economy will need to accelerate quickly to meet future objectives.
Getting to net zero will require extensive change and new and sustained policy intervention across the economy. Energy will be a foundation, but the majority of emissions now come from other sectors. Some areas will be hard to decarbonise, so this will require negative emissions, in the form of carbon capture and offset, to compensate.
How has the perception of energy, environment and efficiency evolved in your view in recent years? What do you envisage for the future of the sector?
As a core theme, it has become more prominent. In part, this is driven by interest in ESG, but is also reflective of wider structural trends. Post COVID-19, two key factors may come into play. Firstly, the direction of economic recovery may stimulate clean growth and accelerate the transition to a lower carbon economy. Secondly, investors may seek exposure to asset classes uncorrelated to real estate and stock market cycles. Turquoise is well placed to help investors and/or companies take advantage of the opportunities presented.
From an investment point of view, what do you see as the key challenges for emerging technologies? What is needed to overcome these in the coming decades?
Implementing new technologies is disruptive, particularly in incumbent sectors such as energy and transport. It is also costly in time as well as money. This means that any new technology needs to be measurably better than previous solutions and offer a return on investment.
What’s needed? Clear government strategy, corporate & consumer buy-in and financial incentives to support early investors.
From a global point of view, what impact (if any) do you think political change has had on the energy, environment and efficiency sectors? How do you think this will change?
Whereas ten years ago there was arguably more of an international consensus around the threat of climate change, subsequent changes in administrations in countries such as the US and Brazil have produced less supportive policies. From a global standpoint, whilst overall sentiment remains positive, progress has slowed and been replaced by headline-grabbing political stories, government rhetoric followed up with little action and weak responses to global environmental disasters. However, European countries continue to lead on climate action and there is hope that China will deliver on its stated commitments.
Describe your career journey in less than 240 characters
I left the University of Exeter with a BSc in Biological Sciences in 2016, after which I was offered an internship followed by a permanent position in the Infrastructure team at The Ingenious Group. After four years at Ingenious, I am joining Turquoise this autumn with great excitement.
What’s been your biggest business challenge?
Developing a national portfolio of bio-CNG refuelling stations. Natural gas is an alternative fuel for freight transport that offers vehicle operators significant economic and environmental benefits.
What is your proudest business moment?
Supporting the growth and development of cleaner infrastructure in the UK.
Who would you like to have dinner with – and why?
Al Gore. I was fortunate enough to see him present An Inconvenient Truth at the Hay Festival in 2006. He put the climate crisis on the map for me as a school student and it has been the source of much personal interest and motivation since.