'Big picture' sustainability challenges discussed on final day of IEMA Connect 2022

26th October 2022

Sarah Mukherjee MBE speaks on final day of IEMA Connect 2022

A compelling panel discussion on tackling ‘big picture’ sustainability challenges concluded this year’s IEMA Connect 2022 – a fitting end to a conference packed full of engaging sessions and speakers.

IEMA members were treated to thought-provoking presentations from Dr Eric Twumm, CEO of the Institute of Environmental Assessment, Ghana, and Ali Hassan, Professor at Ain Shams University, Egypt.

Olivia Whitlam, Head of Sustainability at Siemens, completed the esteemed panel, which touched on a wide-range of critical issues, including education, the link between environmental improvement and economic growth, rapid urbanisation and our relationship with nature, green skills, and much more.

Dr Twumm highlighted how the global sustainability shift can drive vast job creation, while Whitlam warned against neglecting the environment in the pursuit of short-term growth, explaining how the push towards net-zero emissions will be “a huge growth engine” in the long term.

Professor Hassan spoke eloquently about developing green skills among young people in the MENA region, before talking about improving the governance of sustainability initiatives, and how “outside pressures can compel people and governments” to take action in their own countries.

Panel discussion on tackling ‘big picture’ sustainability challenges

The discussion followed a week of equally-absorbing discussions and sessions, as well as some exciting announcements from IEMA yesterday. These included:

Launch of IEMA Careers Hub - a new platform where anybody, from any sector or background, can go to understand how they can play a role in greening the economy

Launch of IEMA Guidance on Sustainability for NHS Non-Executive Directors (NED)

IEMA also published a policy briefing on COP27 during the conference, giving members an overview of what to expect at the climate summit in Egypt next month.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that a full week has passed since COP26 president Alok Sharma kicked off IEMA Connect 2022 by highlighting the central role that sustainability professions will play in “keeping 1.5° alive”.

Each day has included its own unique set of engaging sessions, so it is difficult to single out particular highlights. However, as we prepare for Sharm El-Sheikh next month, last Friday’s session on the sustainability challenges facing Africa was highly topical.

The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe, called for Universal Basic Income to help improve the life chances for young people at IEMA Connect 2022, while a number of experts also shared their insights on starting a career in sustainability.

Sophie Howe calls for Universal Basic Income

Another feature of this year’s conference was the #IEMAChampions campaign, which saw IEMA members nominate any person or organisation going above and beyond for sustainability and the environment. The huge interaction on social media was a testament to the great work so many are doing.

As the curtain closed on IEMA Connect 2022 today, CEO Sarah Mukherjee MBE, spoke of the encouragement she felt seeing so many members networking together, and the honour of attracting such a wide range of experts speaking on major topics from around the world.

She continued: “Something I will personally take from Connect 2022 is the vast variety of areas of work that are represented by our members and speakers, and of course the level of skill and knowledge showcased – evidence of the crucial role that you all play.

“We are already looking ahead to next year, so make sure to watch this space for more information, and the chance to join us again for an unmissable event.”

IEMA members can watch IEMA Connect 2022 on demand here.


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