Maxwell Stephens

Reasons to be cheerful – FM insights from Elliott Chase

wellness in facilities management

There are plenty of reasons not to be cheerful these days; if you are anything less than a determined optimist, you’ll have your own list. But even the most sceptical can see promise in some recent events.

Let’s leave aside epidemics and politics and focus on the really big issue that has long been with us, the one that is increasingly referred to as an emergency and even existential – climate change. Long-term, and unremedied, ‘existential’ seems the right word. But before that, from now right through to the mid-term and beyond, climate change has all kinds of implications – including for politics, economics, health and much more.

In the past six months or so, though, we’ve seen some lines being drawn in the sand.  Calls to stand up, take notice and – more importantly – take action. The test of how real these lines are should be pretty clear pretty soon.

Some positive signs that we may be turning a corner – all drawn from within and around our own sector over recent months:

Interestingly, these promises of action are all on the private sector side.  On the public sector side, the UK government has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050. There are other commitments one could cite; but probably equal in number are the expressions of concern that Whitehall is not moving fast enough or with sufficient focus to prevent, or at least mitigate, climate change impacts. One great test of the political will is scheduled for November: the UK will be hosting COP26, the next major international review of the climate challenge, policies and actions. How that is managed and what comes out of it will tell us volumes about government commitment. And by way of a little background, just last week the UN secretary general declared that the world is “way off track” in dealin g with what is no less than an emergency.

Of course we are greatly diverted at the moment. But the climate crisis is not going to go away, and we can at least be encouraged by the growing list of professions and companies in the UK that see the need to act and are willing to state this openly in ways that can be monitored over the coming months and years. This sits comfortably within the broader ‘do the right thing’ trend that seems to be creeping into FM, taking in wellness, social value and our environment – and that’s something to be cheerful about.


Elliott Chase
Managing Editor, i-FM