Leading Voices in Global Sustainability
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CEO, Simply Sustainable
10 Questions to Change The World
How do you think climate change and the global sustainability agenda will
impact your industry over the next 3-5 years?
We have been providing Sustainability solutions to companies for over twelve years yet we have never been busier. Even prior to COP26, businesses have realised that failing to act on key ESG impacts will lead to significant risks that could threaten the longevity of their businesses. We have seen a massive uptake in organisations wanting to decarbonise through an integrated sustainability strategy which is a significant shift towards a more cohesive approach. The impending mandate of TCFD disclosure has also become a priority for the larger companies we work with, this has meant a positive shift towards greater transparency and a more robust consideration of technical non-financial corporate reporting.
What is one ‘sustainability hack’ you’d recommend to an organisation
wanting to transform into a more sustainable operation?
I would say there is no hack. Any company wanting to take a short cut would be very short sighted. We work with our clients to simplify and demystify the process to becoming a sustainable business. It does involve hard work and commitment, but the results pay back within a short timeframe. We create an easy-to-follow pathway that sets out how you can reach your targets and key milestones. I would also add that Integrating sustainability throughout your value chain is much easier to do from the outset, rather the doing it a little bit at a time.
We have seen a massive uptake in organisations wanting to decarbonise through an integrated sustainability strategy
Why have you embraced sustainability in your professional career?
Growing up in Wales, both my parents were teachers and had an active involvement with various campaigns through their lives, including Greenpeace. Witnessing this during my childhood and adolescence instilled the idea within me that you should strive for accountability to elicit social change.
I spent a lot of time in the university library during my undergraduate degree and one day I came across a book written by a green organisation about the devastating impact the Yangtze dam had on the environment, while the next day I came across an equally well written and comprehensive book about the many thousands of people that has been lifted out of poverty by the creation of the dam. It was this that made me realise there is no one solution to climate issues; that having a balance is vital, and several aspects of a singular scenario must be considered, paralleling the ethos of ESG. It also made me realise that business had the scope and reach to create positive and transformative societal change and that is where I would have the most impact.
What are some of the wins you have achieved in your career to date?
There is no one solution to climate issues; that having a balance is vital, and several aspects of a singular scenario must be considered, paralleling the ethos of ESG.
Working with over 150 global clients including the likes of Spotify, EE, BBC and easyJet, Simply Sustainable has supported clients in their mission to achieve ESG goals while remaining profitable and increasing commerciality. We have experienced exponential success over the last decade, bringing systemic change to the corporate world is our central priority which we refuse to be compromised on.
Expansion is a key aspect of our future business plans. Currently, we’re planning for launch in Amsterdam in May 2022. We’re looking forward to what will be our first expansion into Europe, having chosen Amsterdam based on how it is one of most sustainable cities in the world, especially the transport facilities.
What do you want to have achieved before you retire?
To bring Simply Sustainable to new markets and continue to grow internationally.
What advice would you give for organisations looking to start or advance on their sustainability journey?
Sustainability and ESG Is a vast subject. It covers many aspects such as strategy development, Stakeholder engagement, managing carbon, Reporting and disclosure to name a few! I would suggest you do your research and understand which elements you enjoy, and which are the most interesting to you. In addition, get a feel for the sectors that appeal to you. I would encourage people looking to work In Sustainability to get a mixture of consulting and In house experience - they are different but both teach you a separate skill set.
Who do you go to for inspiration in this space?
I would encourage people looking to work In Sustainability to get a mixture of consulting and In house experience - they are different but both teach you a separate skill set.
Over the past twelve months the most impressive person I've witnessed was Sandra Mason, Barbados's first President. She spoke with such passion and knowledge about climate change and the impact it will have on her country and people. She stood with gravitas and passion in a sea of men In grey suits.
How do you offset your own footprint?
My family has always been conscious of our impact. We were earlier prius drivers and as soon as an EV was available, we moved on to that. We tend to holiday in the UK, mainly ST Ives where we are fortunate enough to have a bolt hole. I’m a big advocate of not offsetting - try and make positive changes that reduce your carbon and only where there is no alternative then its ok to offset.
What is your one ‘guilty / non-eco’ pleasure? (that you can’t live without)
Its not so much of a guilty pleasure but as a busy CEO and Mum, I don’t get the time to purchase the most sustainable Items. For speed, I have to do an online order which gives me a level of choice editing but I would love to be able to choose fresh produce from the market which comes without packaging. Id also love to be able to shop In a loose goods store and bring my glass jars along to fill up. Packaging Is a pet peeve of mine.
If you had to choose one person, organisation or community to lead the world in sustainability, who would it be and why?
With 20 plus years in this Industry It Is truly apparent that no one person Is going to lead the world into sustainability. It Is a collaboration across global markets, jurisdictions, governments and NGOs. If we are all united in a similar approach, we might be able to make the change that needs to happen. There is so much work that needs to be done and governments across the world need to do more than pay lip service to an Issue that becomes more and more pressing each year that passes.
"If working apart we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it. In my lifetime I have witnessed a terrible decline. In yours you could - and should - see a wonderful recovery.”
- Sir David Attenborough