Q&A: Nathan Vear

19th July 2017

P32 nathan vear

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Skills ,
  • Knowledge Centre


Judith Pompermaier

Nathan Vear - Director, Kapaciti Ltd

Why did you become an environment/sustainability professional?

It wasn’t really a conscious decision on my part. I was looking for a third-year dissertation topic when doing a year out on my degree at Philips Medical Systems. I gave a list of possible topics to my service manager and he chose environmental design. It all went from there.

What was your first environment/sustainability job?

On graduation, I was offered a position at Philips, now Elekta Oncology Systems, as environmental project manager.

How did you get your first role?

I must have made a good impression during my year out. I tried to add value to the company, showing passion and commitment, being useful, willing to contribute and to make a difference.

How did you progress your career?

Early on, I would say ‘yes’ to any opportunity that was offered. That opened so many doors, from representing my sector at government and in Brussels when the WEEE and ROHS directives were being drafted, to getting to work at a group level in Stockholm. At the same time though, people do respond well to those who ‘get stuff done’. Success breeds success as they say.

What does your current role involve?

I get involved in private-sector consultancy, public-sector interim management and project and programme management. I’m also a qualified coach-mentor, so I do that as well. Its varied, and very rewarding.

How has your role changed over the past few years?

I’m often responsible for large teams, so my role nowadays is much more about demonstrating effective leadership and management, not just in sustainability, but also on the people side of things. Quite different from EMS auditing or conducting SEAs that I used to do.

What’s the best part of your work?

Seeing progress and achievement in the organisations and people I work with.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

It’s not the hardest part of my job per se, but navigating organisational politics can be frustrating. Organisational culture can be enabling or inhibiting, and is the difference between leading, high-performing organisations, and those that settle for mediocrity.

What was the last development event you attended?

The ISO 14040 sustainable procurement event put on by IEMA and the BSI at the Loughborough London Campus.

What did you bring back to your job?

An IEMA summary report and a realisation that standards can be esoteric.

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

Effective communications skills and the ability to build a good rapport with people. Building confidence and trust is crucial – it’s not possible to be taken seriously as a sustainability practitioner without it.

Where do you see the profession going?

Our profession is an enabling force that guides and empowers others to incorporate sustainability into their life, personally and professionally. This means championing sustainability, showing the way and involving others. Achieve that and there is no longer any need for sustainability champions…, well, IEMA will have a bit of an existential crisis on its hands.

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

These days, who knows where anything will be in five years’ time?

What advice would you give to someone entering the profession?

Having technical knowledge and skills is important, but don’t lose sight of the need to cultivate a positive set of behaviours and ‘soft’ skills. Knowledge can be acquired, but attitude and behaviours make the difference at interview.

How do you use the IEMA Skills Map?

Largely as a personal development tool, either for myself or those I work with. Having been fortunate to have worked with IEMA to create the skills map, I hope others use it and get value from it on their own IEMA journey.

Career File


BEng (Hons), PgDip, IEMA Full with Chartered Environmentalist, PS CEnv

Career history:

2015-present, Contract project manager, IEMA

2015 Interim head of environmental development, Oxford City Council

2014-present, Director, Kapaciti Ltd

2014-present, Non-executive director, Humber Nature Partnership

2014-present Interim chair, East Midlands Board, Chartered Management Institute

2012-2016, Midlands Board Members, IEMA

2012-2014, Head of environmental infrastructure, North East Lincolnshire Council

2008-2012 Head of neighbourhood improvement, North East Lincolnshire Council


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

Transform articles

IEMA Profile: Matthew Thomas BSc (Hons), Cert IOSH, MIEMA, CEnv, operations director, Compass Environmental Consultancy

Read more about IEMA Profile: Matthew Thomas BSc (Hons), Cert IOSH, MIEMA, CEnv, operations director, Compass Environmental Consultancy

31st May 2024

Read more

Senior consultant, EcoAct

3rd April 2024

Read more

At a School of Management careers event at Cranfield University, one of our IEMA-approved university partners, we spoke to students from a range of postgraduate courses, from supply chain to marketing and management.

28th March 2024

Read more

To make real change on sustainability, it’s time to redefine leadership models, writes Chris Seekings

1st February 2024

Read more

Caris Graham (she/her) is Diverse Sustainability Initiative officer at IEMA

1st February 2024

Read more

Lisa Pool reflects on the highlights of the past year and what they mean for the future

1st February 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