Power of the professional

6th March 2017

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Politics & Economics ,
  • England ,
  • EU ,
  • Global


Elizabeth Davies

Working together will overcome populism.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year, you will know that politics has taken on a defiantly populist flavour of late. The recipe seems to involve finding hairline cracks in society and making them wider through a combination of fear and uncertainty. The problem with wide cracks is that we can all fall into them if someone strong is not holding our hand.

The issue is not just about primal, tribal thinking. We are also having to fight the ‘people are tired of so-called experts’ trend. Suppression of knowledge and learned thinking is the last thing society needs in a time of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, and there is no intellectual or moral argument to support this view. It is beyond uncomfortable; it is a concerning sign of division winning over unity.

So what do we do about it? The challenge for the environment and sustainability profession – one which thrives on learning and enables the right decisions and outcomes in everything it does – is a steep one. I think what we need to do is confidently offer professional counter arguments to policies, regulations and political shifts that we know are wrong – and we will have a stronger voice if we do that in partnership with other professions.

Over the past few months, I have been meeting chief executives of various professional bodies to explore how IEMA can work with accountants, architects, marketers, health and safety experts and others to create a loud, coherent and unwavering expert voice that kills the belief that the voice of the expert is dead. We know it is alive and well, and the world has never needed us more than it does now.

My thinking is that when we combine the 70,100 years, which equates to 204.7 million hours, of experience that IEMA’s membership has with the experience and expertise of other professional body’s memberships, we will create a powerful force that trumps populist politics.

Those discussions are still in their early stages, but the signs are good. Interest in taking back the agenda appeals to professionals everywhere it seems, which is reassuring. We need to make sure whatever the sound of these aggregated voices, they remain passionate yet professional. That is our strength. That is the power of the professional.

So, where the world is seeing too much division, we seek unity – in thinking, of voice and striving for the right outcomes. Stay with us to ensure you are part of this, and ensure someone strong is there to hold your hand.


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

Transform articles

Scotland to scrap its 2030 climate target

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

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

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

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s major cities lag well behind their European counterparts in terms of public transport use. Linking development to transport routes might be the answer, argues Huw Morris

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

A hangover from EU legislation, requirements on the need for consideration of nutrient neutrality for developments on many protected sites in England were nearly removed from the planning system in 2023.

2nd April 2024

Read more

It’s well recognised that the public sector has the opportunity to work towards a national net-zero landscape that goes well beyond improving on its own performance; it can also influence through procurement and can direct through policy.

19th March 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