Building a Sustainable Rural Economy
16 SEPTEMBER 2021
The rural economy has the power and the will to drive forward the sustainability agenda. We ask what a rural-first economic policy would look like and what it would mean for prosperity now, and for future generations.
In this RED Talk we discuss the need to embed Dynamic ESG in the rural sector and the importance of the UK’s rural businesses in galvanising a more just and sustainable economy in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
As a limit to growth nature – and the rural economy which protects and harnesses natural resources – also has the power to drive sustainable growth and economic resilience. It is often not valued as highly as its urban counterpart, but with such important roles in 1. feeding the nation, 2. producing & harvesting sustainable resources and fuels, 3. environmental stewardship and 4. volume of land mass ownership, it is the foundation stone on which the economy as whole will prosper.
Eight in ten rural businesses have told RPG they want to operate with greater respect for their corporate environment and society at large. An even greater number have told us they are yet to start preparing for green government initiatives such as ELMS. This RED Talk puts rural front and centre in the drive towards sustainability; examining what a rural-first sustainable economic policy would look like, and supporting all those businesses who want to operate with greater ethicacy and respect for the planet translate policy into action.
The talk is timed to support the launch of Rural Policy Group’s latest report, The Interdependency of Sustainable Finance, Food, Health and Environmental Social Governance for a Green Future, which elucidates a systems-thinking approach to human health, environmental health and economic health.
Meet the speakers:
Rt. Hon Sir Richard Needham Kt PC
Sir Richard Needham’s ambition has always been to stand up for business in both Parliament and politics. He founded a packaging design company when he was 23 and went on to grow it into a silk screen, litho printing and laminating business before becoming an MP. From 1985-1992 Richard Needham was the Conservative Minister for Northern Ireland and is widely recognised throughout the region as the man responsible for turning round and regenerating both the North’s infrastructure and its economic base. In 1992 Richard Needham was promoted to Minister of Trade and became Michael Heseltine’s Deputy. Over three years he overhauled and reinvigorated the whole of Britain’s export strategy. He is accepted in Whitehall as Britain’s most successful Minister of Trade since the the Second World War. In recognition of his work in Northern Ireland and at the DTI he was made a Privy Counsellor in 1994 and knighted in ’97.
Since leaving politics he has become involved in a number of businesses both large and small. He was international Director at GEC plc from 1995-1997, Meggitt plc from 1997-2002, Dyson from 1995-2011, Chairman of the London Heart Hospital for five years and Biocompatibles Plc for six years together with a number of other public companies. He is currently the Chairman of Kaelo and a non-executive director of the NEC Group.
Sarah Hendry CBE
Director General, CLA
Sarah Hendry is responsible for the strategic direction, organisation and smooth running of the Country Land and Business Association, an organisation which champions the rural economy, environment and way of life. Before joining the CLA in 2018, she spent nearly 30 years as a UK government official working across national, EU and international policy. A senior Director in Defra and the Department of Health for twelve years, her experience covers a wide range of areas interests, including farming, environment, rural development, climate change, forestry, water and floods.
Head of Sustainable Finance, HSBC
Robert King is Head of Sustainable Finance and is responsible for promoting and developing HSBC UK’s Sustainable Finance proposition, supporting corporate clients in their transition to a low carbon economy. Robert has over 15 years’ experience in structured, asset and project finance. Prior to banking, Robert was a financial analyst and a physicist.
Managing Partner & Chairman of MHA MacIntyre Hudson and MHA
Rakesh is the Managing Partner and Group Chairman of MHA MacIntyre Hudson and MHA, as well as Chairman of the firm’s London Head Office and the Southern Region. In addition to his governance role, much of his time is devoted to business advisory work with a diverse portfolio of clients. Rakesh is Head of Financial Services and lead Partner of Baker Tilly’s global financial sector team. Rakesh also leads on the firm’s work in natural resources industry and with listed companies and Public Interest Entities. Rakesh is the Reporting and Relationship Partner for two listed companies, a number of Public Interest Entities, seven UK banks and the European arm of one of the largest banks in the world. As a senior director of Baker Tilly International, Rakesh is proactively leading collaborative working between Baker Tilly International global offices. Rakesh is a non-executive director of a listed Real Estate Investment Trust and Chairman of the Audit, Risk & Compliance Committee.
President of the Marden Fruit Society and BBC broadcaster
Teresa has over twenty eight years’ experience of managing and developing complex areas of business, primarily in food, agribusiness and the retail industry, including as a board level corporate responsibility advisor to a major supermarket. She has served on a number of Boards as a non Executive Director, including Covent Garden Market Authority, and partners with her husband in a fruit farm. Teresa co-founded the Women’s Farming Union was made a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society in 1988 in recognition of her contibution to agriculture and the food industry. She is a regular braodcaster on BBC business programmes on retail and consumer issues.
CEO and COO; Independent Non Executive Board Director; Transformation & Turnaround Specialist
Although Anna grew up in a farming family her career has been spent in the corporate world, giving her a unique viewpoint on tackling the challenges currently facing industry. Anna has 30 years expertise in leading businesses through complex change internationally as an Independent Advisor and COO for turnaround, digital change, mergers & acquisitions and transformation. She has a C-suite track record for delivery and performance growth and is recognised as a leader in setting the pace in industry changes and new business models. Anna was formerly the Director General of The Institute of Directors and amongst her current roles, is a Board Director for the International Governance & Compliance Association (IGCA).