We all know the phrase “Rags to rags in three generations”.

This cliché encapsulates the challenge for wealthy families in getting the next generation to engage with the family assets, whether they be a business, a property portfolio, an art collection or something else. Other challenges include showing them how to steward them responsibly so that they are maintained and increased for the benefit not just of the current family, but also of future generations.  This should be part of the normal process of succession planning, but obstacles often get in the way, such as conflicts within the family or between generations, a reluctance to divulge information or a desire in the older generation to cling onto control. 

It is a given that each family member will have his or her personal viewpoint and priorities which are a potential source of conflict with the others.  What can be done to bring them together and give them a common purpose?  It’s not just about making money; it’s about how to make a meaningful contribution.  Three useful steps to consider would be:

  1. Agree what the family stands for in its business, its local community and in broader society;
  2. Agree what the family would like to give back;
  3. Enshrine the family ethos in a visionary set of principles and objectives that everyone can support.

One of the successful US family companies is S C Johnson & Son Inc, the makers of Johnsons Wax, which has grown from local roots in Illinois to become a worldwide business.  The company has been guided by certain basic principles since its foundation in 1886, essentially based on earning loyalty and goodwill amongst its staff and customers and contributing to its communities.  These principles were formally stated in a comprehensive mission statement called “This we believe” which has been communicated both within and without the Johnson Group. 

If the family can articulate what it stands for, it can plan how to use some of its wealth to promote philanthropic projects in which, incidentally, the next generation can become involved. 

Philanthropic projects, which are detached from the family business, are being used as vehicles for encouraging communication within families and fostering discussion and collaboration between the generations.  Nobody should be threatened by a good cause:  the next generation can be given roles in which they will learn the skills they will need later if they join the family business;  and there is undoubtedly a role for the older generation too when the time comes for them to retire from the business. 

If you would like advice on articulating your family’s values and how to promote them, please speak with Stephen Morrall or your usual contact at MEUM.

MEUM supports Action for Children, a charity whose mission is to protect and support children and young people.  It has a Family Philanthropy program through which it unites families over shared values and inspires the next generation to help vulnerable children in the UK.  If this is of interest to you, you can find out more about how you can work with Action for Children by following this link:   Family Philanthropy | Action For Children


Ushering in a new era of sustainability: The UK’s 2027 carbon tax, poised to revolutionise industries, incentivise green practices, and reshape the business landscape.


In recent years, sustainable finance has become pivotal for global businesses, aiming to harmonise financial systems with environmental objectives. A major forthcoming legislative change is the UK’s 2027 carbon tax, intended to spur reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and foster sustainable business practices.

This tax framework will also include a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CRAM), impacting imports of carbon-intensive products across sectors like iron and steel, aluminium, fertiliser, hydrogen, ceramics, glass, and cement.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY

Expected to affect industries reliant on fossil fuels and with high emissions, such as manufacturing, energy, transportation, and agriculture, the tax seeks to incentivise carbon reduction efforts. However, its implementation may pose challenges for businesses, especially Tax advisors, CFO’s and company accountants adapting to these shifts.

This legislative move is part or the UK’s broader strategy to meet its net zero emissions target by 2050.

Understanding the 2027 Carbon Tax Legislation

The 2027 carbon tax legislation will impose a fee on carbon emissions, compelling businesses to internalise the environmental costs of their operations. The tax is structured to gradually increase over time, encouraging companies to invest in cleaner technologies and reduce their carbon footprint.

What can businesses do to Prepare?

1. Assess Current Emissions: The first step for any SME is to conduct a thorough assessment of their current carbon footprint. This includes identifying major sources of emissions within their operations.

2. Invest in Energy Efficiency: SMEs should explore ways to improve energy efficiency. Simple measures like upgrading to energy-efficient lighting, optimising heating and cooling systems, and investing in modern, efficient machinery can significantly reduce emissions.

3. Adopt Renewable Energy: Transitioning to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or biomass can help SMEs reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and lower their carbon tax liability.

4. Engage with Supply Chains: SMEs should work closely with their supply chains to encourage sustainable practices. This might involve choosing suppliers with lower carbon footprints or collaborating on joint sustainability projects.

    5. Stay Informed and Seek Support: Keeping abreast of legislative changes and seeking support from government programs or industry associations can provide SMEs with the guidance and resources needed to comply with new regulations. 

    6. Consider mitigating carbon impact: While reducing emissions should be the primary goal, SMEs can also explore carbon R nature initiatives to compensate for unavoidable emissions. Investing in projects that remove or reduce carbon from the atmosphere or redistribute negative impacts to nature projects can be a viable strategy.

    7. Sustainability Reporting: Whether at the outset of your journey, navigating challenges, or refining your goals, robust sustainability reporting enhances the confidence of regulators, investors, and stakeholders affirming your business’s forward-thinking approach.


      The 2027 carbon tax legislation marks a significant shift in the UK’s approach to combating climate change. For all UK businesses, this presents both a challenge and an opportunity to innovate and lead in sustainable business practices. By taking proactive steps to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency, companies can not only comply with the new regulations but also position themselves for long term success in a greener economy.

      Companies should start preparing for the UK carbon tax to prepare costs related to a business sustainability strategy budget so that they can start understanding specific compliance relating to their industry. This will allow business to set clearer goals specific to Environment, Social & Government topics which will support ‘business future proofing’ & help mitigate risks.

      Take early action to align your strategy with the current climate crisis as well as enhance your reputation, attract investors and build confidence with consumers.

      Contact Scarlett Nash for further information and advice on:

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