Dr Eva Gkenakou, FIEMA CEnv Founder, Prosperia Consulting

21st September 2022


Web p34 IEMA Profile Dr Eva Gkenakou

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IEMA

Why did you become an environment/sustainability professional?

To work towards making the world a safer place through tackling the climate and biodiversity crisis.

What was your first job in this field?

I worked for a specialist UK business, with the support of the University of Southampton, to come up with an innovative commercial solution for making contaminated sludge from harbour dredging safe for disposal.

How did you get your first role?

Through applying to become an associate in the government co-funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership, which funds business innovation.

What does your current role involve?

Working with businesses on meeting challenging sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements and turning them into business opportunities. This means creating strategies and action plans on climate action and net-zero, as well as broader ESG action on supply chain management and corporate sustainability reporting and disclosures.

How has your role changed/progressed over the past few years?

Awareness and legislative requirements on sustainability issues have increased, with organisations increasingly seeking expertise on sustainable business growth. After almost two decades leading the sustainability function in large corporate environments, I started Prosperia Consulting to apply my expertise and experience to a broader segment of the market, helping organisations to develop impactful strategies.

What’s the best part of your work?

Supporting businesses that are transitioning to more sustainable operations and becoming a force for good.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Despite the red alert climate warning that scientists are issuing, it is important to maintain clarity of mind.

What was the last development event you attended?

Green finance-related events are a current focus, as this is becoming a game-changer in facilitating the large green investments necessary to reach net-zero.

What did you bring back to your job?

Foresight. I can advise businesses on steps they need to take to continue to attract customers, investment and talent.

What is/are the most important skill(s) for your job?

Empathy, for understanding each business’s opportunities and barriers. Keeping up to date, to be able to pick the solution that will serve each business’s specific needs. Effective communication, to be able to bring those solutions to life.

Where do you see the profession going?

Sustainability requirements and solutions will be constantly changing, so we will play a role in translating them into action.

Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

Witnessing the positive change that society has made in tackling sustainability issues.

What advice would you give to someone entering the profession?

People entering our profession often do so out of a moral duty and enthusiasm to help their fellow humans. The ability to stay focused on that, despite everyday hurdles, will serve them well.

How do you use the IEMA Skills Map?

It can be useful in many different scenarios, for example helping set work-related goals.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Curious, effective and forward-thinking.

What motivates you?

Making a positive difference in the world.

“I started my consultancy to apply my expertise to a broader segment of the market”

What would be your personal motto?

Healthy planet, happy people, prosperous world.

Greatest risk you have ever taken?

Leaving the corporate world to start my own consultancy. It has been scary and exciting at the same time.

If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet?

One of the founders of a global movement, such as a large religion, to witness their way of thinking – how did they inspire millions of people, bringing about sweeping changes?

Image credit | Shutterstock | iStock

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