Corporate Partnerships Manager Alan Darby reflects on the positive takeaways from the last employer forum and how the virtual format has allowed us to hear from more partners than ever before and see new connections being formed between partners who want to build on the conversations from these events.

So, into our 23rd week of working remotely and, whilst many parts of society and business life are returning to something that resembles the normality we all knew 5+ months ago, I’m pretty sure that the IEMA Employer Forums are set to continue in their virtual format for some time to come.

For a sustainability organisation, working with individual members and corporate partners to collectively transform the world to sustainability, this seems like the ideal format for the future.

With the guidelines put in place regarding COVID, we’ve lost the face to face elements of networking that were often seen as valuable - those fringe conversations, lunchtime discussions and coffee break meetings where we were able to chat to peers from a broad spectrum of industry sectors. Whilst these can’t be replicated like for like, more sustainable, resilient and alternative ways of working are being introduced and we think its rather exciting…

Shorter, punchier, content driven forums – with no necessity to travel further than your ‘home office’ – seems like a no brainer replacement in many respects!

We’ve reduced our collective travel emissions; we’ve removed the carbon impact from our chosen venues and we’ve removed the need for attendees to take a full day out of the office. Instead our partners now have focused 2-hour sessions, hosted more frequently that we were ever able to in the previous format.

So far in 2020 there have been 3 Employer Forum’s for IEMA’s large partners, our first ever SME Employer Forum, and one, more informal, digital coffee session. Topics covered have also been diverse and have ranged from:

South Western Railway talking about the delivery of training post lockdown and how they are engaging more of their workforce to support the delivery of their Environment and Sustainability strategy.

DEFRA highlighting how they have approached embedding sustainability throughout the organisation, and into their supply chain.

The Environment Agency providing an overview of their transition to Net Zero by 2030 – both as an environmental regulator and a construction company with an extensive supply chain.

As you can see, this virtual format allows us to hear from more partners than ever before, but for me the really exciting thing is hearing the discussion, debate and sharing of knowledge that follows each of these presentations. The other real positive we are seeing is watching new connections being formed between partners who want to build on the virtual conversations that start at these events.

So, with a successful format, and many more partners lined up to present, what does the future hold?

For this year we’ve got at least 2 more Employer Forum’s and at least three sector specific virtual coffee sessions in the pipeline offering plenty of opportunity for collaboration, discussion and knowledge sharing.

If you are an IEMA Corporate Partner and want to know more about these Forums and how to get involved, contact Alan at: [email protected].

If you are not an IEMA Corporate Partner and would like to know more about these Forums and the great benefits of joining IEMA, contact: [email protected].

Photo of Alan 005
Alan Darby

Senior Corporate Partnerships Manager, IEMA

Alan leads on IEMA's relationships with our range of organisational partnerships – from micro SME’s and environmental consults to national and international enterprise partners. Alan has a background in marketing and communications and combined with extensive experience of managing effective partnerships is focussed on supporting IEMA’s growing number of corporate partners.


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