This piece is brought to you by our Head of Net Zero, Sarah Legg. She joined this year to nurture and lead our growing Net Zero consultancy team. In her own words, she walks us through the steps that got her to the position she holds today and the values she built along the way.
When I started my academic life at Uni, I immersed myself fully in Environment Management – you know ... soil, waste, water, birds, bees and trees and all. I loved it!
Sure, it was fascinating, but I could also see how I was going to be able to impact the world for the better.
That was over 20 years ago.
In the last 20 years, I have fought the good fight. I feel proud when I hear people talk about Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) nowadays. A lot of these remits now have an “E” element just as important as the "H&S", as opposed to the microscopic "E" from back when I first joined the sector. Just as the "Environment" caught up with "Health and Safety", I've watched carbon and sustainability grow in importance too.
I have a curious nature so I got involved with as many opportunities as I could learn from, whether it was managing the impact of installing water and sewer pipes across East Anglia, reducing the waste footprint of a University, being the go-to person on waste regulations for a large organisation and even managing the environmental impacts of multiple organisations in an international construction group.
I never imagined that I would end up in Carbon Management.
But here I am, the Head of Net Zero in a consultancy with a mission to help the UK transition to Net Zero, and my skills and experience have made me uniquely suited to this role – we are all unique, remember!
And here's one of my biggest lessons I want to share - even though Carbon Management has grown out of Energy Management (a logical progression), there is one element that isn’t always addressed.
The “softer” carbon, the non-energy carbon, the interpretative dance of carbon.
Energy Management is vitally important and having those skills massively enhances the process of carbon management.
Understanding energy balances, technological improvement and speaking the language of engineers is invaluable. But I bring a nuanced understanding of scope 3 emissions, the challenges faced by the heavy involvement of procurement, design, waste management, water management and, chiefly, behaviour change. This is what I have been training for my whole life, I just didn’t realise it until it all came together one day.
If you think Carbon is important, and if you crave making a difference, you can.
If the strength of your skills lie in accounting, you could consider carbon accounting.
Are you a procurement lead? Sustainable and ethical procurement could be an obvious career choice.
Work in HR? There is a growing number of roles needed in behaviour change and benefits-led change.
If you gained experience in the management of anything really, I can see how you could adapt to management of carbon too.
As we speak, as I reflect and I look back on my career to date, I am happy I love my job and I love the impact I have.
I want to extend the invitation to you now to join our revolution and be a leader in the world-saving project we are playing our part in.