Meet the climate team

Cathy Li

Sustainable finance consultant and youth champion
Cathy Li

Climate change is complicated. But that’s not stopping people around the world from making a difference. We’re lucky to have some brilliant people leading our climate work across the firm. In this series, we help you get to know them, their areas of expertise and why they’re passionate about sustainability.

Today we chat to Cathy Li from our Sustainable Finance team, who tells us how she has managed to combine her role at Deloitte with her passion for climate action.

It’s all connected

I grew up on the east coast of China before moving to Wales when I was 17, so I feel a natural affinity with the ocean and nature.

Unlike for generations before us, climate change has always been part of life for people my age. We’ve always known that it’s happening, and so we’ve taken it seriously.

My conscious move to actively work in climate happened quietly, in little ways. I was very lucky to have started my journey by representing young people in a UN meeting about climate technology. After that my interests soon expanded to many other fields and I now represent women and youth stakeholders in UN Climate Change meetings with a focus on technology, finance, adaptation, and capacity-building.

These activities may sound very technical, but I consider myself more of a generalist. Everything I know I learnt from surrounding myself with inspirational people who are motivated to make a change, such as UN colleagues, country negotiators, civil society stakeholders, and Deloitte colleagues. Climate, finance and technology are all connected, and generalists like me can help connect the dots for the civil society stakeholders that I represent.

“Everything I know I learnt from surrounding myself with inspirational people who are motivated to make a change.”
Cathy Li

Work meets passion

I started at Deloitte as an intern and picked M&A tax because I just love figures. Now joining the Sustainable Finance team, I look forward to supporting various financial institutions on their way to reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In addition to my day-to-day role, I support the Deloitte Green Advisory Group in Tax & Legal where we aim to explore the nexus between ESG and tax. In addition to this, I also support our climate teams across the world with various projects.

An unforgettable moment

Supporting our climate teams at COP26 was thrilling. I had an amazing time meeting the CEOs and colleagues of organisations that I advise outside of work and it was encouraging to see progress being made.

I really appreciate the efforts made by colleagues from the UK COP26 Presidency, especially their dedication on finalising the Paris Rulebook, and I look forward to further supporting the Presidency as a OneStepGreener Ambassador of COP26.

One of my personal focuses at COP26 was to secure seats for representatives of women, youth, and indigenous peoples at the UN Climate Change’s advisory board on technology. I have been working on this since I was 19 and so I’m very proud to have made this happen together with civil society representatives and with the firm support of many countries. It was an unforgettable moment.

Cathy supporting our climate teams at COP26, Glasgow

Inspired by boundless dedication

I’m reading a sci-fi dystopia called The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson at the moment. The book features on our Lightbulb List of recommended reads on climate and is set in a future that sees many of us living in 40-degree heat. It’s certainly not a world I want to live in and reminds me of the importance of holding tightly to our goal of preventing global heating from exceeding 1.5 degrees.

I take a lot of inspiration from UN colleagues, country negotiators, civil society representatives, and Deloitte colleagues. Their hard work and dedication seem boundless, and their enthusiasm to keep pushing forwards is what motivates me the most.

Keeping 1.5 alive and reaching it!

More than anything, I hope we can stay within 1.5 degrees – there’s a lot of work to do to ensure we do. This is not just for the sake of our climate. All the Sustainable Development Goals – biodiversity, economic growth and gender equality – are so closely linked. They all need to succeed for humanity to succeed.

If there’s one piece of advice I would give, it would be to use your spare time to volunteer for your passion project. I’ve just started using my voluntary days as a Relationship Manager with one of our new charity partners, the Soil Association. They are an NGO that shines a light on sustainable agriculture and food systems. I’m also looking forward to visiting their farm and getting muddy!

I believe that collaboration is key. I want to see civil society stakeholders and the private sector joining forces with governments and the UN, because the more we support each other and share good practices across sectors, the greater hope we have for our future.

Meet the others

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Cathy and what makes her tick. Our climate team are here to help, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to find out more. And if you want to meet the others, just keep reading below. We’ll introduce you to new people every month.

Jess O'Neal

Jess O'Neal

Climate change consultant and escape room designer
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Viv Raval

Viv Raval

Net zero champion and ocean explorer
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Veronica Poole

Veronica Poole

Corporate reporting leader and transparency advocate
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