Robert Fenn gives his personal thoughts and challenges on sustainability.
Describe your role. I’m head of marketing at the British Assessment Bureau. With environmental standards being core to our organization, I came to the 2degrees network looking to gain an appreciation for sustainability trends and the issues organizations of all sizes and sectors are facing.
How did you get into sustainability? What got you interested? As environmental management has become widely accepted as good business practice, it has merged into the arenas of sustainability and CSR. Resourcefulness is in my nature, so the concept of sustainability immediately struck a chord. It’s also not a hard sell, sustainability has no down sides!
What do you love about your job? It’s constantly evolving and always challenging. I’ve enjoyed seeing the green movement has evolved to gain a more realistic outlook; businesses exist to make money, and that has to remain the priority. I see sustainability professionals are now great at achieving a win for all involved, which has increased momentum. The future will be that sustainability becomes integral to how all businesses function; it’s great to see the progress.
What are your biggest challenges at the moment? My ongoing battle is to convince a multi-combat role director that sustainability deserves their intention. With owners of smaller businesses normally entrenched in a variety of day-to-day activities, it’s getting round the cynicism and helping people to realize that there are a wealth of benefits to be had.
How do you see your sector developing in the coming years? The green issue isn’t going to go away. Undoubtedly legislation leads the masses, but as sustainability comes into the mainstream, I’d like to think it won’t just be the FTSE 100 companies taking the first steps. The frustration is seeing a big percentage of the business world not yet taking part.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? Focus the benefits on your audience. Your cleaner isn’t interested in sustainability helping the bottom line, and your manager probably won’t share your delight in those new recycling bins. If you want engagement, your message has to appeal to the individual.
What are your interests outside of work? I’m an avid motorsports fan and am a keen racer, winning the Lotus Cup UK title in 2012. Under the ‘Go Green Motorsport’ banner, it has allowed me a platform to address both the environmental impact of the industry and the unfair negative PR associated with it. It has led to projects including providing input to FIA's Environmentally Sustainable Commission.
What’s your favorite motto? It has to be Nike’s ‘Just Do It’. I’ve never been much of a ponderer or planner, I just like to get stuck in!