Keep calm and carry on

It has been an exciting couple of months for IEMA, not least because we’ve welcomed Paul Leinster as our new chair of the board of directors. 

We have enjoyed superb guidance from Diana Montgomery and are now looking forward to taking full advantage of the extensive expertise and experience that Paul, together with his colleagues on the board, offer in developing IEMA further. Transform’s full interview with both can be found here.

We also celebrated our very first IEMA Sustainability Impact Awards – a great success, with more than 420 professionals joining us for the celebratory lunch. The innovative efforts demonstrated by the awards submissions highlights just how much work there is to be done, and how many opportunities there are, to address the climate and environmental emergency at hand. 

The growing evidence showing the scale of the emergency, and the gap between what science demands and what policy is delivering, prompted us to reaffirm our commitment by formally declaring that there is a climate and environmental emergency. Systemic change is now required to address not just climate change, but also the devastation of the biosphere.  

We have been highlighting and encouraging change for 20 years, but the level of profile now afforded this narrative is new, and we should be mindful of the urgency of what we do. However, in order to create considered and meaningful change, it’s imperative that we remain calm and professional. Although IEMA’s ‘business as usual’ activity continues to support and inform our membership, we need to step it up a level – especially when it comes to the critically relevant leadership our influential body of membership can bring. In calling for professional urgency in response to the climate and environmental emergency, we appeal to every organisation to effect critical and transformational change, now.  

Our climate change declaration carries with it a programme of action that has been carefully crafted, with input from members of our climate change committee. Most importantly, IEMA’s board is bringing in changes within our governance structures so that our ‘business as usual’ is even more impactful. Our Sustainability Impact Awards powerfully demonstrated how the organisations shortlisted have been dealing with the issues raised by the climate and environmental emergency. We need to keep upping our game, and our professional response continues to be: ‘working together for change’. There’s a challenge for us all to find a way through this emergency and strive for calm, rational thinking to achieve the change required. 


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