IEMA members share their views on the Institute’s future

5th May 2023


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Chris Seekings

IEMA has concluded a series of workshops on its future purpose and identity, and is now asking its members to complete a survey to ensure all their voices are heard.

What should IEMA be most passionate about? How wide should its scope be? Is its name fit for purpose? How should it allocate resources? These were just some of the questions put to members during the workshops earlier this year.

Although opinions were mixed, there was widespread agreement that IEMA should focus on being a professional body and supporting its members, by empowering them to disseminate guidance and information within their organisations.

“IEMA, in the future, should be an environmental knowledge-based powerhouse with the ability, skill or potential to drive environmental sustainability worldwide,” was the view of one member.

The advocacy arm of being a professional body was also important to participants, particularly in influencing government policy – though they wanted this to be done through dissemination of information, rather than active campaigning.

Members based in Africa wanted to see this remit extended further, by IEMA becoming a regulatory power.

Workshop participants also discussed IEMA’s role in developing green skills in non-specialist areas, like finance, procurement and frontline operations staff.

“IEMA’s future is grounded in the training side of things, helping organisations to educate and develop guidance training and CPD for everybody,” one member said. “We’ve got folks in finance and legal who need to know more about this. Without IEMA delivering it, where else do we go?”

Many felt that continuing the move into the broader sustainability sphere was the way to go, and wanted to see this reflected in the choice of name. However, some warned of the potential risks of rebranding, such as losing recognition among non-members.

Participants also called for more collaboration with other professional bodies, governments and industry, arguing that this would help establish IEMA as a leading professional body and an expert on sustainability.

Expanding internationally was important here too – potentially including having offices in countries outside of the UK.

"We should be the organisation that people go to, not just UK based, but globally, when they want to really understand what sustainability means,” one participant said, adding: “We should certainly be the credible, authoritative voice on sustainability issues.”

IEMA – which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year – is now calling on all its members to take part in a 15-minute survey on its future purpose, which closes at 9am on Monday 29 May. For every 500 surveys completed, IEMA will donate £500 to charity.

Feedback from the workshops and survey will go to the IEMA Board in September and be presented back to IEMA membership at the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM).

“IEMA only has influence and convening power to make real change because of its members and partners – because of you,” it said in a statement. “You need to tell us what the future of IEMA looks like If it’s going to continue being an organisation that you feel proud to be part of.”

IEMA members can complete the survey here, and can learn more about the consultation by contacting [email protected].

​Image credit: Shutterstock

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