Coco Smits, a Graduate Environmental Scientist/Consultant at international engineering and project management consultancy Royal Haskoning DHV was this evening named as the Winner of IEMA’s annual Graduate Award for 2013.

Recognised for her professionalism and exemplary work on Royal Haskoning DHV’s Trans-Adriatic pipeline project as well as her work on multiple international projects, Coco received a £1,000 prize at the Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards in London from IEMA’s Executive Director – Policy Martin Baxter, and Neil Pennell, Head of Sustainability and Engineering from the Award’s sponsor Land Securities. Coco also takes home a Sustainability Leaders trophy and one year’s Graduate membership of IEMA.

Following presentation of the Award IEMA’s Martin Baxter said: “Coco represents the very best of early-career environmental talent; she demonstrates how the right mix of knowledge, dedication and skills – the kind typical of experienced environment and sustainability professionals – can transform a project’s success. I’m delighted to be able to co-present Coco with this year’s prize and welcome her into our membership.”

Each year the IEMA Graduate Award (sponsored by Land Securities and supported by and Sustainable Business) seeks to find, name and celebrate the environment profession’s most outstanding Graduate practitioner who is achieving remarkable things in their first environmental role. The four judges of the 2013 Award chose three finalists, identifying Coco as this year’s winner.

Coco - who graduated with an MSc in Environmental Sciences from Wageningen University in 2012 before joining Royal Haskoning DHV - was nominated for the Award by Charles Haine, Director & Project Specialist, Environment Industry at Royal Haskoning DHV who said: “Coco has all the attributes of a top-flight junior consultant... she has pursued a wide range of initiatives related to her specialist area of knowledge – development in the Arctic. She is very professional and one of the few who is ready-made to be actively involved in the interface with clients, stakeholders and the public.”

The two other finalists were both named as runners-up during the ceremony at the Grand Connaught Rooms; Lee Collie, Energy & Environment Advisor at Linklaters LLP and Hanna Hayward, Sustainability Advisor for the London Region for BAM Construct. Both Lee and Hanna received a one year’s free IEMA Graduate membership to provide ongoing career support, guidance and professional development opportunities.