CEO comment: Raising our voice

 Exciting times ahead for IEMA, as Sarah Mukherjee, formerly an award-winning environmental journalist for the BBC and currently chief executive of the Crop Protection Association, will be taking over as CEO in June, bringing communication skills and access to channels that have never previously been open to IEMA. 

As if the year wasn’t set to be impactful enough, what with the Environment Bill, COP26, and the task of delivering on climate and environmental emergency declarations, Sarah can give us the profile to amplify our voice and ensure it is acted upon in the halls of power. I am very much looking forward to working with Sarah when she takes over in June.

As I write this column, there is strong evidence of the growing value we are delivering to our members and partners, and the great year that lies ahead. IEMA Impact Assessment Network steering group member David Hoare’s webinar ‘Environmental Impact Assessment: Back to Basics’ set a new record, with more than 700 people attending. We welcomed HMRC, Scania, Interserve, One Peterson, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the Liverpool NHS Trust as new partner organisations. Internationally, there is evidence that our work to raise our profile in Scandinavia is starting to put down roots, with policy lead Marc Jourdan invited to present on ‘Circular Economy and Sustainable Procurement’ by the Research Institutes of Sweden. When it comes to our training courses, 32% are now delivered abroad – and this proportion is growing. Furthermore, regional member engagement activity in the UK continues to build; the Solent region is leading the way into 2020, with four events in January alone. My appreciation and thanks go out to the team at Head Office for their hard work making this happen.

“There is strong evidence of the growing value we are delivering to our members and partners”

Going forward, the agenda remains full – you will have seen that we have now launched our Sustainability Impact Awards 2020 and we look forward to the same phenomenal industry response that we saw last year. In addition, watch this space for the announcement of an IEMA Members’ Conference, planned for June – full information coming soon!

I want to close by echoing Jamie Agombar, executive director at Students Organising for Sustainability, whose article on p9 deals with the fact that the UK environmental sustainability sector has a racial diversity problem, with organisations not being representative of the communities they serve. This is an issue we have to face, and it will be an active part of the agenda for IEMA in the year ahead.  

Toby Robins, interim CEO of IEMA

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