Our comment: Reflections from Tim Haywood, SWM Chair

I began chairing SWM at a time of great change in my personal and professional life, as I was transitioning from corporate life as CFO and Head of Sustainability at Interserve Plc to “retirement” as owner and agricultural labourer at Astley Vineyard.

I finish my three year term in November, at a time of huge uncertainty for the whole world, with pandemic-driven social and economic upheaval on an unprecedented scale.

Throughout this period, one thing has remained constant: the ever-present and increasing threat of climate change, a threat which is greater and more important than any pandemic or individual life event.

Sustainability West Midlands has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that key influencers in our region remain focussed on this existential crisis, notwithstanding the many competing distractions for attention. Over the last three years SWM has punched well above its weight, leading debate, shaping policy, and recruiting influential change makers across the spectrum of civic and corporate life.

Of particular note to me have been our projects with the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Committee on Climate Change; our new roadmap for a sustainable future; and our increasing network membership, particularly in the corporate sector. Reflecting these successes, it was heartwarming to hear recently that our inspirational Chief Executive, Anna Bright, had been most deservedly shortlisted for the IEMA impact award for sustainability leader of the year.

My time at SWM has been rewarding and uplifting. Surrounded by a group of (mainly young) dynamic, driven people with a common purpose, I have been able to believe that, despite the severity of the challenges facing us, we can and will succeed. Our work is not easy, and is far from complete, but I am confident that my successor as Chair has an excellent foundation upon which to build.

I wish Anna and the team all the success they so richly deserve.

Tim Haywood, Chair of SWM (November 2017 – November 2020)

Details of our search for a new Chair are available here, including the recruitment pack. The closing date for application is the 16 October 2020.

We are also recruiting for a Young Director.