My Story, My Mission, My Vision
On this World Environment Day, I wanted to share my story.
Much environmental messaging comes across as (slightly) negative – we’ve got to stop doing / reduce / prevent XYZ or it’ll devastating for us / the planet / wildlife / oceans. And yes, this is true. It is important to change. But negativity & fear don’t motivate most people. It can be much more inspiring to focus on the positive… to have something wonderful to aim for.
So, I thought I’d share how I got involved in environmental management (My Story), what I’m trying to achieve (My Vision) and how I go about this (My Mission).
My Story begins with me, aged 10, sitting on the floor in front of the TV watching the wonderful David Attenborough’s Life on Earth. This series was so inspirational to me, seeing the beautiful world around us, its diversity & fragility. We are so lucky to live here & benefit from its wonder. It helped me develop my ideas for what I wanted to do with my life.
A few years ago I read Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start with Why’ – I often recommend it to friends & business contacts, as it’s important to know what you want to do… and enjoy doing it!
I’m lucky as I’ve always known My Why – although it’s only recently that I’ve been able to summarise it – My Mission is to make environmental management the business norm. This is not an add-on, it’s not a hassle – it’s ingrained within the organisation so it becomes business-as-usual, bring all the commercial benefits plus the wider, collective environmental improvements.
I’ve had over 25 years in environmental management and it’s clear that I love what I do!
On leaving the University of Sussex (with a BSc in Geography with biological sciences) I was trying to find my niche. When, in 1996, the environmental management standard ISO 14001 was released, I was hooked – this was the tool I needed to get businesses involved (I followed with an MSc in Environmental Management & Auditing).
I’ve built my career over the years: I led communications for an environmental charity, I headed up a local authority’s Environment Unit, then on to a London carbon consultancy, before deciding to go it alone & founding the award-winning consultancy Eshcon. Exciting times.
I am a passionate environmentalist! But unusually, I am a bit of a petrol head (one adventure saw me riding a vintage motorbike over the Himalayas). I am not an activist. I am not a placard waving protester. This puts many people off so, instead, I appeal as a business person (e.g. I am Chair of membership organisation Gatwick Diamond Business).
I don’t want to turn you into the greenest company in the world. But I do want you to know that we all have a part to play and, cumulatively, we can make a fantastic difference!
My approach is to make your business more efficient, cost-effective and attractive to your customers by putting in ISO 14001.
This systems approach is straightforward and not scary, therefore you are more likely to start and then, when you see the commercial benefits, you’ll continue. Instead of diving into the unknown, this ‘nudge technique’ gives cumulative improvements.
I’ve worked with organisations, from micros to multinationals, in a range of sectors including finance, hospitality, manufacturing, higher education, public, retail and service industry. I think they appreciate that I provide expert advice and a pragmatic approach & engaging enthusiasm.
The benefits are great: cost savings, reductions in carbon emissions, managing risk, improving efficiency, engaging staff and winning business. Why wouldn’t you??
So I want your next steps to be:
- Understand your organisation’s impacts – energy, waste, materials etc, the cost of energy, miles driven, carbon emissions etc.
- Set targets to reduce them.
- Develop an action plan and systems to achieve this.
But let’s think bigger than just your business.
Much like Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, let’s imagine a better future – a clean, just and prosperous world, better for us, our children, the people we love the most. Clean air, diverse species, healthy people, a thriving economy, an inclusive society.
This is My Vision & it’s the positive that is so motivating.
I have a part to play in this. You have a part to play – you need to be confident how to start. Let me help you now.
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