Harnessing the power of ‘generation S’

11th February 2016


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Management ,
  • Corporate governance ,
  • Employee engagement ,
  • Engagement

Author

IEMA

Ethical considerations are high on the list for younger members when deciding who to work for.

Our annual practitioner survey closed last month and we immediately examined the data for new trends. One of the most pressing and encouraging changes is coming from younger members or those with fewer than five years’ experience in the environment and sustainability profession, which we have named ‘generation S’ – with ‘S’ standing for sustainability. More than half of survey respondents in this group said they would refuse to work for an organisation with a bad reputation on environment, sustainability, ethical and human rights issues.

Although there is always the argument that these are the very organisations that most need the help of zealous professionals, poor reputation alone is enough to prevent younger IEMA members from taking a sullied salary. Rather, they said they wanted much more from a career than a wage packet – though from my experience that is typical of our entire IEMA membership.

This group tends to have a lifelong interest in environment, sustainability and nature and has deliberately sought a role that reflects this. There’s a real concern here about protection – of the planet, of people, of economies – that is unique to the environment and sustainability profession. I think this is what makes our profession special and is evidence of the kind of disruptive innovation that our membership needs to embrace and nurture. It is the motivation to reject norms, demand better performance and be fearless in the face of convention.

What we are seeing is a new generation of workers with fire in their bellies, and our membership is the cradle of this kind of practitioner. They’ve seen what more experienced professionals have achieved and changed, and they want to build on that momentum. The only challenge that deters them is flagrant disregard for the life of, and life on, the planet.

Raw talent alone can of course be disruptive, but not in the way that will achieve change and make businesses worldwide sit up and take notice. This ardour needs to be matched with the ability to talk the language of business and to articulate a compelling business case. That’s where IEMA and its more senior members have a clear role to play: coaching and nurturing those new to the profession to harness the power of their passion without suppressing it. Achieving the goals set by COP21 will need the very best from all of us, and I’m massively encouraged that the IEMA membership contains people with huge passion and good business sense.

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

How much is too much?

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

A project promoter’s perspective on the environmental challenges facing new subsea power cables

3rd April 2024

Read more

Senior consultant, EcoAct

3rd April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close