Dealing with change

8th June 2017

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Politics & Economics ,
  • England ,
  • EU ,
  • Global ,
  • Northern Ireland


Nick Berry

We cannot allow governmental short-sightedness to prevail.

The environment and sustainability profession is subjected to repeated short-term change. Some changes are popular, others less so, but largely it is clear that short term, short-sighted decisions are unhelpful. Every change of government, introduction of a regulation or withdrawal of a policy can significantly alter the shape of our day-to-day work.

By the time you read this, there will be a new parliament in the UK, possibly a new government. This will result in changes for our profession. At the time of writing, the rumours were that President Trump would withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. There will always be political to-ing and fro-ing, but it leads me to think that we need to look to ourselves and peers to provide certainty.

Rolling with the punches is fine, and being resilient is what this profession is all about, but piece by piece, short-term changes add up to long-term uncertainty. Successful economies do not run on insecurity. It impacts investment and shakes corporate confidence. The unstructured rhythm of constant review often means a substandard result for the environment.

As the profession with a larger responsibility for ensuring long-term sustainability, we cannot allow governmental or regulatory short-sightedness to prevail. We’re the ones with the day-to-day duty for making the right changes. We can do our jobs better if we don’t have to spend valuable time dealing with ill-thought out legislation, and which diverts the focus away from creating sustainable outcomes.

A group of members, formed to examine the likely impacts of Brexit, are working together to ensure we get the right long-term result for the environment and sustainability. This is exactly what member collaboration should do; come together to challenge ideas, aggregate expertise and use combined influence to drive the right long-term solutions.

It’s powerful stuff when done right, and I’m keen to see much more of it. We are also helping members deal with change. Just in the past month, we’ve created two new guides on EIA and one on getting to grips with ISO 20400. It is also why IEMA is bringing back the popular The Practitioner series later in the year.

My point is that change will happen around us, and we should always do what we can to shape the policies and laws that affect our work. But, as long as we share our successes and help to guide each other, we’ll achieve even better outcomes.


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