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Project intern: measuring sustainability at MFA

During the summer of 2023, Benjamin Long, a student at the University of Leeds, started his internship at Martyn Fiddler Aviation. His mission was to review MFA’s current sustainability in terms of ESG, what improvements could be made and if there were sustainable projects in the Isle of Man and further afield which MFA could become involved in. Ben, who is studying for a BA hons in Environment and Business, completed the project after 2 months of hard work.

At the end of his time with us, we asked Ben about the project, here is what he had to say:

What is ESG and why do some consider it controversial?

The term ESG (meaning environmental, social, governance) originated in 2004 with the commissioning of the UN’s ‘Who Cares Wins’ report. The original purpose of ESG was to connect financial performance to sustainable development, since then the concept has been catapulted into mainstream business, politics and media.

According to PwC’s Asset and Wealth Management Revolution report (2022), ESG-related assets are expected to surge at an annual growth rate of 12.9% up to $33.9 trillion by 2026. However, while ESG investing is predicted to yield higher returns, it is widely debated whether such investing creates any real change to social and environmental sustainability. Many critics denounce ESG reporting and investment as attempts to greenwash and avoid the core purposes of business.

Does ESG deserve the bad press?

It is difficult to argue that individuals and businesses reducing their carbon footprint and pollution, minimising waste, improving employee and social rights, volunteering, increasing free education, alongside improved business practices is not positive progress. Equally, it is difficult to argue that long-term investment into businesses actively embracing and promoting ESG is not positive.

The negative image starts when businesses claim to embrace ESG outwardly for increased investment however, are not implementing the processes internally. It is compounded by international scandals and increasingly polarised politics.

Sustainability at MFA 

Martyn Fiddler Aviation asked me to investigate its ESG progress as part of a larger sustainability project it is undertaking. I developed mechanisms and reporting strategies to incorporate internal processes and looked at client interactions which could enhance environmental, and social performance and development.

I measured MFA’s carbon footprint, performed social surveys with the team and reviewed governance processes and policies across the business. Additional director surveys were concluded to assess board priorities and approaches for the medium to long-term future.

Social benefits of internships

The opportunities offered during this process cannot be understated for both personal and professional development. The internship extended beyond the project itself. For me, it has provided an opportunity to network and build relationships with a diverse range of professionals and personalities over eight weeks in a new environment and sector of industry.

Such development extended outside of the office, as I was invited to the MFA Summer Party – venturing into South Barrule plantation to engage in laser warfare and axe throwing. This encapsulates the inclusivity at MFA; incorporating people of all backgrounds together in a team-building environment to develop a strong teamwork ethic and culture.


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About the author

Heather Gordon is Legal Director at Martyn Fiddler Aviation. Heather joined the team in 2013 having previously practiced within a leading Isle of Man law ...

Contact Heather Gordon