James is our Group Environmental & Sustainablity Manager. Based in London, he works across the business and with our clients to raise the profile of environmental and sustainability issues within LR.
Tell us more about your role at LR?
I am the Group Environmental & Sustainability Manager and I’ve been at LR since 2010. I work with the leadership across the business to understand and raise the profile of environmental and sustainability issues within LR and assist the promotion of LR’s credentials to clients. I manage our global environment management system, working with our HSES Managers to ensure that we are continually improving our environmental performance, reducing our impacts on the environment, be it through ways that we can be more efficient with the energy we use, conserving water, creating less waste, increasing recycling, eliminating single-use plastics or ways we can reduce the impacts of how we travel for business.
I build the case for LR’s sustainability programme and co-ordinate the corporate programme – ultimately, we want, as an organisation, to do more good than we do harm and for LR that cuts across many sectors and high-impact industries, as well as challenging ourselves about what we can do within our own operations to be more sustainable.
Reporting and transparency is also key to what I do – we have to ensure that we are transparent about our sustainability performance and report appropriately. This includes aligning with the UN's sustainable development goals, to identify which of the 17 global goals we can meaningfully contribute to and then build our strategy, commitments and reporting around them. We are at the start of this journey but are making good progress.
Why did you join?
I joined on a short-term contract to support what was then the quality team with a range of things but mainly analysis of performance and audit data, and helping with the roll-out of the environmental management system. That soon developed into a permanent position and then to leading on the Group's environmental programme. I stayed because of opportunity. LR was at the early stages of its Environmental Management System when I joined and I was at the early stage of my career. I was given the chance to lead the environment programme, complete the global 14001 certification and implement meaningful change. Environmental issues are a personal passion so to be able to work on these in a professional setting is a privilege that I don’t take for granted.
Why did you stay?
I have had a lot of opportunity here. I have worked across the business with colleagues at all levels to develop a vision for environment and developing a vision for sustainability. For me it’s entirely appropriate that LR has a strong position on sustainability issues - recent years have seen the rise of challenges that are coming to define our times and the conversation around climate change, loss of species and inequality is changing. So much so that issues once regarded as a distant threat to a future generation are increasingly considered as immediate and rapidly developing threats and I believe LR has a positive contribution to make to those challenges. It’s important to me that we do take a stance and look for ways that we can do more good than we do harm - I’d like to be part of that contribution.
What qualifications or experience did you need for your role?
I didn’t need qualifications when I started as I was a business analyst in what was the quality team. When I moved into a different role, I needed experience implementing and auditing a management system, having an understanding of legislation, as well as professional membership of the Institute of Envionmental Management and Assessment.
Describe a typical day at LR?
It can be a number of things depending on the priority. If it is about sustainablity, it is about understanding our improvement actions and making contact with some of the senior leaders to help shape the vision of what we want to do. We are planning ahead. It might be about reporting on sustainability so it could be making sure we have the most up to date data on environment, health and safety, diversity and inclusion. If my focus is on the environment management system, it’s more that I own the system but I don’t have the responsibility for implementing it. So I have calls with the guys in different areas for local improvement plans, what can be done better, raising awareness. For external audits it is important where we maintain certificates so I help to plan for that. Legislation is key and I have to keep on top of it, being involved in webinars and updates. I mainly look at the UK stuff with the HSES team looking at it globally.
What is your proudest moment at LR?
Recently becoming a chartered environmentalist has been my proudest moment in my career and the highight of this year because I couldn’t have achieved it without the work I have done at LR. When I was at university, I wanted to do something with the environment and progress in a structured way, and now I have achieved it. I also started writing the sustainability report here which is incorporated into the group annual review.