Victoria Bryan

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“Too Much Stuff”

March 19, 2010

Pass the rose-tinted glasses please. A utilities conference took a more philosophical route recently  when the chief executive of one of the UK’s largest energy suppliers took a stand against modern consumerism.

“We all have too much stuff, it gets in the way of enjoying life,” Ian Marchant, Chief Executive of Scottish & Southern Energy told the Future of Utilities conference in London.

Marchant, standing out from the other executives at the conference by his lack of a necktie and unbuttoned shirt, also took a rather whimsical look back at Britain in the 1970s, when Edison Lighthouse topped the charts and Britain’s homes weren’t stuffed with TVs, DVD players, iPods, games consoles.

He even suggested the sheer amount of possessions most Britons own was preventing them from getting loft insulation and thus making their homes more environmentally friendly and energy efficient.

“The biggest obstacle is the fact people realise they’ll need to spend a weekend emptying out the loft of all their stuff,” he said, emphasising the last few words.

Philip Green, chief executive of water firm United Utilities also got in on the anti-consumerism act, sharing his experiences from having twice climbed Kilimanjaro.

CLIMATE-TANZANIA/KILIMANJARO

“At the bottom of Kilimanjaro you will find some of the poorest but some of the happiest people in the world. But one mile from here, you will find some of the richest, but the most unhappy,” he said, referring to the conference venue’s location in the heart of London’s exclusive St Katharine’s Docks area, close to Tower Bridge.

For some this may seem a commendable philosophy, but there is always the problem that along with bestowing upon us too much stuff, modern living leaves all too little time to sort it out. The loft will have to wait.

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  • About Victoria

    "Based in Frankfurt, covering German companies in the retail, travel and leisure sectors. In my previous Reuters incarnation in London, I focused on green tech firms, utilities and an array of smallcaps that came my way on the Breaking News team. I started my career as a translator with the Financial Times in London before switching into journalism."
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