A refreshing perspective
I regularly hear from our members that being an organisation’s lone environment and sustainability professional is a tricky place to be. I’m sure you wouldn’t expect IEMA’s technical experts to encounter this, and largely they do benefit from working with colleagues who understand the nature of their work. However, we are at our best when we all keep learning about what you do every day.
Last month, I, along with around one third of the IEMA team, completed the new five-day IEMA Foundation Certificate in Environmental Management course. I wanted everyone in IEMA to take the Foundation Certificate, They’re marketers, finance staff, sales managers, or (in my case) gas engineer turned CEO. Given that we all work at IEMA, my team were already knowledgeable about environment and sustainability principles. But being sympathetic to our purpose isn’t enough; I want my team to contribute to the development of IEMA, not just leave it to the environment and sustainability professionals.
During the course, I enjoyed listening to my team debate varying perspectives and learning points. I realised quite early on that what they were learning about was really nudging the team to think differently. It gave them new knowledge plus permission to challenge and embrace new ideas. So as well as upskilling our team, and investing in our people, we’ve also changed mindsets and empowered people with knowledge and permission to use it.
Since the training, I’ve really noticed that team members are approaching projects differently, building in environment and sustainability at the design stage, and the language they previously knew as technical terminology has new relevance.
I’m also very glad to say everyone who took the course passed, and all are very proud of their new AIEMA status. The rest of my team will complete the training before the end of this year, and I can’t wait to see how much of a difference this will make.
I am really interested to hear about ways in which you have engaged your colleagues to think more about sustainability. After all, we all learn from each other in this profession.