Skip to main content

Climate Assets monthly update: Personal and planetary health

Date: 07 July 2023

3 minute read

The mantra of a psychologist who recently spoke at my daughter’s school was “happy parents, happy children”, making managing stress vital for a happy home.  In our busy lives, our heightened and more frequent ‘fight or flight’ responses deplete the vitamins needed to make our stress hormones, chiefly cortisol and adrenaline. This coupled with making poor food choices in stress, causes a downward spiral.

In the UK, processed food has become ubiquitous, a worrying situation for our bodies’ reserves.

We are also highly dependent on imported food. In the winter months the UK imports around 95% of its tomatoes and 90% of its lettuces, according to the British Retail Consortium. Recently the UK faced a shortage of some fruit and vegetables caused by bad weather in Europe and Africa. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers were rationed at leading supermarkets.

Encouragingly, there are many potential solutions to food sustainability challenges. From an investment perspective area such as food safety and testing, climate control and refrigeration systems are clearly of growing importance and already offering several attractive opportunities. 

It is harder to find ways to invest in sustainable agricultural systems but there are promising new technologies emerging. We need ways to grow more with less, like using green energy for irrigation and desalination techniques that make it possible to grow crops in deserts. Graphene promises huge advances in desalination efficiency while solar provides the power. We are watching new technologies evolve like indoor vertical plant farming using solar panels and algorithms optimised for nutritional monitoring. Laboratory meat is coming of age too. For further information on this investment theme please read our food factsheet.

At a personal level, we can reduce our consumption of meat and dairy and keep our fish consumption modest and always from a sustainable source. We can pause to think whether the vegetables we select in the supermarket are air-freighted, hot-housed or grown in natural sunlight? 

We also need to watch our food waste. Around 17% of food is wasted at the consumer level, and that’s on top of roughly 13% lost during harvesting (according to the UN department of economic and social affairs). Taken together, it is not hard to see the scale of this wastage and reductions in the loss seem like relatively easy wins in tackling the broader issue. My children love zero-waste shops which have now sprung up in most towns. Waste reduction apps are also emerging to connect food that needs eating quickly with people who can put it to good use.

‘Fight or flight’ comes from the automatic, animal part of our brains, the amygdala. But we need our “thinking” parts of the brain activated to be more rational, to not just grab a dubiously-sourced sandwich but to think about what we are putting inside ourselves and its impact on the planet.

Yet we can also overthink. When we relax, when we take a walk and reconnect with nature or zone-out in the shower, and turn our attention away from the task, is when we may have a ‘ping’ moment. That’s the idea that tends to stand out and makes a difference. Take time to relax, solving planetary problems is going to need ‘ping’ moments from us all.

This is a marketing communication and is not independent investment research. Financial Instruments referred to are not subject to a prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of marketing communications. Any reference to any securities or instruments is not a personal recommendation and it should not be regarded as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any securities or instruments mentioned. Investors should remember that the value of investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up and that past performance is no guarantee of future returns. You may not recover what you invest.


Caroline Langley

Investment Director

I have over 16 years of experience in the private client industry and 14 of those are with Quilter Cheviot where I have worked since 2006. I manage private client portfolios (taxable accounts, ISAs and JISAs, trusts, SIPPs, small charities and offshore bonds) working with clients directly or alongside advisers. I am also Deputy Fund Manager for the award-winning Climate Assets Balanced Fund and the Climate Assets Growth Fund.

Monthly newsletter

Don’t miss the Climate Assets Funds monthly update – delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe now

Climate Assets Funds

The Climate Asset Funds invests in companies that make a positive contribution to the world, with a strong underpinning of ethical values.

Find out more

The value of your investments and the income from them can fall and you may not recover what you invested.