Beth – Senior Sustainability Advisor

Working within our Safe, Sustainable and Wellbeing department, Beth knows our culture better than most. Find out how she’s shaped our sustainability strategy and our team’s attitudes towards mental health, wellbeing and making a difference.

Career background and journey at VVB

I joined VVB in 2018 as a Graduate Sustainability Advisor, after graduating from Loughborough University with a BSc in Geography with Economics.

During this time, I’ve completed my IEMA Foundation Certificate in Environmental Management and my Certificate in Environmental Association, enabling me to become a Practitioner with the Institute of Environmental Management Association (PIEMA). I’m also a qualified Mental Health First Aider which is extremely rewarding.

My favourite project is the partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities. While maybe not central to our operations, it’s allowed VVB to make a real difference to so many families’ lives whose children are receiving hospital care. Giving our employees the chance to escape their everyday work and volunteer with a charity that does such wonderful things, while talking to other team members they don’t usually interact with, is such a lovely part of the job.

A typical day in the life of a Senior Sustainability Advisor

No two days are the same in the world of sustainability. It could involve liaising with clients over carbon data and environmental impact, or talking to the site teams about all things sustainability. It might be working with charities, going out volunteering, or setting up these community engagement partnerships. I could also be in the office writing equality diversity and inclusion strategies, rolling these out across the business, or supporting HR or work-winning by writing tender responses. I also regularly attend careers fairs or events to support our recruitment drives, deliver mental health toolbox talks or create content for wellbeing events throughout the year.

You need to be able to communicate well and openly, so you’re someone people can relate to. It’s also valuable to be skilled in data analysis and data entry. Days can change at the drop of a hat, so flexibility is important. The perception of sustainability has changed massively over the last year, so sharing the excitement around sustainability is a massive part of the job.

Why VVB?

My favourite culture moment is from a mental health campaign we did in 2019 for Suicide Prevention Day. Mental health had never really been spoken about and I wanted to create a video that was hard-hitting and made people think without being too bleak. After I’d come up with the concept, I asked the directors and others from across the business to participate, and not one person hesitated – regardless of seniority, everyone wanted to make a difference, even if it only helped one person. The response from the video was incredible – people wanted to speak up, talk about mental health and were much more open. To me, that moment demonstrated our culture of care better than any.

It’s really the people that make VVB. My team and colleagues are supportive, encouraging, open and want to be here. Everyone has the right attitude, wants to make a difference, encourages you to do and be the best you can, and they’re open to change. My opinion is listened to, whether I’m right or wrong, so I can challenge openly and always feel 100% valued as part of the company. There aren’t many companies where interaction between the directors and those at the most junior positions is so  open, and it really shapes you to think differently. In my work, I get to make a difference every day and get pushed to make more of a difference than I might’ve thought possible.

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