26 June 2024 Story Finance and Capital Markets

Ten questions with Catherine Howarth

Laudes Foundation works with leading practitioners across industries to champion the acceleration to a green, fair and inclusive economy. We asked Catherine Howarth from ShareAction what her work in the finance and capital markets field means to her, and how it contributes to the transition, in ten questions. 


When did you know you wanted to work in the climate narratives field?

I’ve been aware of the power of stories since working as a community organiser in my twenties. Stories allow people to understand the world and to imagine changing it. 


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

​“Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.”, which is a quote by Samuel Beckett that my mum introduced me to.


Education or practical experience – what do you value more? 

It has to be practical experience since that has lent me some confidence as well some skills. Having said that, several of the most exhilarating moments of my life have been in classrooms.


What book last changed your thinking? 

The Earth Transformed by Peter Frankopan; it’s a mind opening read.


What do you find most fulfilling in your work? 

One to one meetings with people where you achieve a meeting of minds.


What is the biggest hurdle you have faced in the past year and how did you overcome it?

Living in a building site at home. But it’s going to be worth it! 


At Laudes we know that we need to work collectively to change the systems that affect all of us. What is one way you’ve achieved impact or moved the needle in collaboration with another organisation?

ShareAction’s best work is invariably undertaken with others. Once again this year, we’re using shareholder resolutions to press some of the largest companies in the world to operate more sustainably. This can’t happen without first building long-term relationships with investors who own shares in the companies we’re challenging. It’s not easy work but those partnerships deliver vastly more impact than we could ever achieve on our own.


How has your vision changed since you first started the organisation? 

My vision has changed very little over the years. I’ve only accomplished a small part of what I envisaged when I started in this field but I do feel quite proud of that small part, even if there is so, so much more to do.


What is one thing your organisation needs most to be successful?

Relational power


If you had to choose one challenge you [and your team] need to tackle to accelerate this transition, what would that be?

Communicating the benefit of this transition more imaginatively.


About Catherine Howarth

Catherine Howarth has led ShareAction as Chief Executive since 2008, working to harness the positive potential of the financial system to support our planet and its people. She was named as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2014, recognised on the BBC Woman’s Hour Power List in 2020, and awarded an OBE by King Charles III for ‘services to sustainability’ in 2022.

  • Catherine Howarth

    By Catherine Howarth

    Chief Executive, ShareAction