Our climate is changing, temperatures are rising and we are seeing more extreme weather events across the globe. Many countries and organisations are joining the race to net zero 2050 to limit global warming. All eyes are on the global climate conference COP26 in Glasgow in Nov 2021 to put climate pledges into practice. We are currently far off track when it comes to keeping warming to well below 2C, the goal of the famous Paris Agreement.

The main focus of this talk will be to assess the outcome of COP26 and explore how our choices can help make a difference, with a specific focus on the important role of finance in helping to decarbonise the planet. As Head of Climate Change Strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments, Eva will bring practical examples of how climate change risks and opportunities should be incorporated into investment decisions and why this should matter to everyone with savings.
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    Melvyn Roffe
    Principal, George Watson's College
    Melvyn has been Principal of George Watson’s College in Edinburgh since August 2014.

    Melvyn graduated in English from the University of York and trained to be a teacher at the University of Durham. He began his career in Northamptonshire, teaching at Oundle School and enjoying a short and not massively successful political career which culminated in being elected Mayor of Oundle in 1993. He also served very briefly as an election observer for the Council of Europe before moving to Monmouth School as Head of English and being promoted as Director of Studies there in 1997. In 2001 he transferred into the state sector as Headmaster of Old Swinford Hospital in Stourbridge, serving for six years and subsequently moving to Norfolk as Principal of Wymondham College.

    Melvyn was a member of the National Executive of the Boarding Schools’ Association (2004-2010) and was Chair of the Association in 2008-09. He has undertaken a number of governance roles in schools, academies and the FE sector. He has served as a Director of the Scottish Council for Independent Schools (SCIS) and of Connect - the Scottish Parent Teacher Council. He is currently a member of the Council of School Leaders Scotland. Melvyn is a Burgess of the City of Edinburgh and also an Honorary Life Fellow of the College of Optometrists, a distinction awarded in recognition of his service to the profession as a Lay Member of College Council.

    Melvyn will become Chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) for the 2022/23 Session. HMC represents the Heads of 296 leading independent schools in the UK, Ireland and around the world, which between them are responsible for educating over 240,000 young people. The organisation has an important voice in the development of education policy and good practice, provides training, induction and professional development for Heads and the staff of HMC schools and provides a quality “kite mark” for British education internationally. This will be only the third time in over 150 years that this prestigious position will have been held by the Head of a Scottish school, and Melvyn will be following in the footsteps of former GWC Principal, Sir Roger Young, who was Chairman of HMC in 1976.

    Melvyn is married to Catherine Stratford and they have two adult children. Melvyn retains a personal interest in politics as well as cultural pursuits and vintage transport. His articles on educational and related themes are published from time to time in the TES Scotland and elsewhere.
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    Eva Cairns
    Head of Climate Change Strategy, Aberdeen Standard Investments
    Eva Cairns is the Head of Climate Change Strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments and
    responsible for leading ASI’s climate change agenda to ensure a consistent and rigorous climate change approach is applied to investments, solutions and communications. Eva has published a number of climate related papers including ‘Investing in a changing climate’, ‘Climate change – Our approach Investments’ and more recently, she co-authored ASI’s climate scenario analysis white paper. Eva is also a guest lecturer at the University of Edinburgh MSc in carbon finance.

    Before focusing her efforts on the climate agenda, Eva managed a team of Business Analysts, focused on projects related to the investment process, risk and research. Eva joined Standard Life Investmentsin 2010 from Halcrow Group Ltd (now CH2M Hill), a global engineering consultancy, where she worked as an Economist focused on environmental and socio-economic impact assessment of energy and transport projects.

    Eva graduated with an MSc in Economics with Distinction from the University of Edinburgh where her dissertation focused on the social cost of carbon. She also obtained the Professional Risk Management (PRM) certification in 2014.