REnvP Blog: Career change – making a difference in my first year as a sustainability professional
By Anastasia Kireeva REnvP
Anastasia is a Sustainable Practitioner at Marble - a brand experience event agency.
On the 27th of September 2023, I celebrated my one-year anniversary as a sustainability practitioner at a brand experience event agency called Marble. Before this, I tried several different jobs in various industries in a span of around 10 years, and for the first time my choice of a profession feels right: this is the most meaningful career I have ever had.
I believe that in the foreseeable future, all jobs will have to be green jobs. Being a sustainability professional is rewarding and can bring a sense of fulfilment and purpose. Given the rapid growth and importance of sustainability in today’s world, it is essential to stay proactively informed, to be part of the solution.
Sustainable working in the creative industry
An observation I have come to is that sustainability has applications in many different sectors and you will achieve the best results and feel the happiest in a field where you feel comfortable. For me, it is without a doubt a creative industry. Event delivery is a dynamic, creative environment that has the potential to spread sustainability awareness through its work. I am constantly learning new things from my colleagues: how to think commercially, copywriting, new AI trends and tools, DEI, wellbeing and so on.
Being surrounded by like-minded peers allows your ideas to flourish and get the support you need to grow professionally. Marble is the kind of place that has a “Culture Club” that makes sure our people are happy at work and “Team Green” whose purpose is to take care of the environment, and when both come together it can turn into a fun passion project like organising a clothes swap for Earth Day in our office building.
Variety of projects
What I love about my sustainability job is the diverse nature of the projects I’m working on, because I get to learn so much in the process and work with people from every department. The projects include: making our events sustainable, applying for the agency to become a B Corp, carbon tracking, supply chain auditing, writing an ESG plan and policies related to it, organising workshops and introducing environmental initiatives together with Team Green.
Top tips for maximising your impact as a sustainability professional
1. Get registered
This year I also became a Practitioner Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and a Registered Environmental Practitioner of the Society for the Environment. Both milestones allow me to be part of a growing network of environmental professionals – whose goal is to contribute to a sustainable resilient future – and benefit from their knowledge, experience and support.
2. Attend Conferences
This year I had a chance to attend a few conferences that I found inspirational and thought-provoking:
- Innovation Zero at Kensington Olympia presented a few brilliant speakers and innovators who emphasised that even though the window of opportunity to fix our climate is rapidly closing, there is still time to act. The conversation should be shifted from the terrible state of affairs to how we can work together and what solutions we can bring across all sectors: including energy, transport, industry, finance and the built environment.
- The State of Creativity event at the BFI highlighted the fundamental role of the creative industry in tackling climate change, as it has the capacity for inventiveness, ideas, creativity, and the power to express meaning in alternative ways. Creatives can bring fun and joy into serious conversations and translate a message in a way that attracts the attention of people with busy day-to-day lives.
- From Sustainability Live at the Business Design Centre, I learnt that a good sustainability strategy is one that is relatable and digestible and can bring profit to your organisation. A lot of conversations were also about the impact of supply chains. In particular, how crucial it is to bring suppliers on your “sustainability journey” by engaging them and providing support instead of simply demanding they meet certain criteria.
- From the online IEMA Connect conference my favourite takeaways were these three lessons: firstly, always find time to reconnect with nature; secondly, be an actor of change – brainstorm with your team, bring in experts who spark ideas, partner with local organisations who make a positive impact; and thirdly, ally with tech – it is already powering our world and shaping our future.
3. Carry out ongoing CPD
The sustainability field is developing quickly and it’s impossible to know everything, however, it is important to stay up-to-date. The public’s attention is getting increasingly focused on sustainable development and the role of net zero, biodiversity, climate tech, new or updated legislation and frameworks etc.
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