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      An Environmentally Conscious Approach to the Arc

      Four part Q&A with Peter Bachmann, Managing Director, Sustainable Infrastructure, Gresham House

      20 Feb 2022 Peter Bachmann, Managing Director, Gresham House

      1. What does sustainable land management mean to you and your team at Gresham House?

      The principles of land management in the UK are changing rapidly and at Gresham House we are aiming to be at the forefront of implementing sustainable land management practices with our focus on the deployment of real assets (forestry, housing, renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure) and our ambition to provide permanent solutions for societal or environmental issues, whilst protecting and enhancing the multiple services and functions provided by land.

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      2. Are we missing a trick in respect of innovative approaches to accelerating decarbonisation and maximising environmental productivity?

      Innovation is driven by the need for change. At Gresham House, accelerating the decarbonisation of business and society begins with understanding the problem, be it social or environmental. The trick is to find the innovative solutions that answer the problems we are trying to solve.

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      We are also hyper-focused on the role that nature-based solutions will have on accelerating decarbonisation and maximising environmental productivity.

      3. What does the future of agriculture look like within the Oxford-Cambridge Arc?

      Clearly land use will change in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc as a result of proposed new development, including infrastructure, and through the transitioning away from agricultural basic payment scheme funding.

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      4. How do these innovations collectively enhance and improve upon the natural environment?

      Firstly, we need a rapid move away from intensified farming and development that disregards environmental impacts that has caused so much damage to the extent and distribution of habitat and wildlife species in the UK.

      The innovative solutions we have highlighted above are just a snapshot of some of the things we are doing at Gresham House. As a team, we implement a strict ESG decisioning framework that assesses the positive and negative environmental impacts of our investments. We then have detailed reporting at a portfolio level to track the tangible benefits for the natural environment we create. To give a few real-world examples of our investee businesses and their impacts:

      • Fischer Farms - For every single acre of land that a vertical farm occupies, you would need over 250 acres of conventional farmland to produce the same amount of food – a staggering increase in land productivity.

      • Environment Bank - 40m birds have vanished from the UK’s skies in the last 50 years. Aggregating biodiversity creation in large habitat banks creates a much bigger conservation impact due to biodiversity multiplier benefits compared to small pockets. Lack of biodiversity is a World Economic Risk Report top five risk in terms of likelihood and impact.

      • Waste Knot - Saves 668,000 tonnes of CO2 per year by converting c.300k tonnes a year of commercial and industrial waste into pellets that can replace coal in heat intensive industries such as cement and steel production. To get the equivalent benefit, one would need to install over 3GW of solar which would require over 12,000 acres of land.

      We think these benefits are pretty powerful.


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