Jordan Gerrard shares his thoughts after joining SWM as our Young Director in 2022:
I am very excited to be appointed Sustainability West Midlands’ Young Director for 2022. SWM are an asset for the West Midlands on its journey to a more sustainable future, and its innovative work in areas such as climate adaptation, shows how the organisation is helping to put the West Midlands on the cutting edge of climate policy in the UK.
Sustainability is for everyone, and SWM should be commended for ensuring that their governance structures reflect this, by guaranteeing a space on their board for younger people, giving a voice to under 30s in the youngest region in Europe. Making space for a Young Director also helps people like myself to gain experience of working at a more senior level. I’m looking forward to learning about how finance, governance, and business planning operates at a strategic level, an experience I wouldn’t normally achieve as someone in the early stages of their career. However, the journey to making careers in sustainability more inclusive and reflective of our communities is far from over. Recent studies have suggested that just 3.1% of sustainability professionals identify as from a minority group, and I’m looking forward to supporting SWM in making the profession more inclusive through projects such SWM’s updated EDI action plan which emphasises the need for the profession to better reflect the communities we serve.
On a more practical side, no one person or organisation has all the answers, and working towards making the West Midlands, and the whole UK, more sustainable will require significant partnership working. It is here that SWM shows its best asset, its members. With over 140 members, and counting, across the public, private, and third sectors, as well as universities and government, at its core, SWM is a fantastically diverse network of people passionate about sustainability. Through my time on the SWM Board I hope to leverage this network to facilitate my own work, where I lead on circular economy policy for the West Midlands Combined Authority, as well as playing my own small part in enhancing the membership, and promoting the role of the circular economy and materials efficiency to its members.
I am incredibly grateful to SWM for appointing me to its Board, and I look forward to being part of the SWM story moving forwards.