You told me when I first joined IEMA that you wanted your institute to have a higher profile and to be more impactful. We are making strong headway but we still have a way to go. But I need you to all do your bit as together, we will be stronger.

The relevance of our profession has never been stronger and more resonant. Our Preparing for the Perfect Storm report highlighted just how strong the need for environment and sustainability skills is, and will increasingly be. Businesses are buying into the case we are making for a surge in skills, using our Skills Map to set their standards. The media is really starting to get the message about the value of your skills.

It’s genuinely an exciting time, but we are far from achieving the heady heights of our goal. We are the largest professional body for environment and sustainability professionals in the world, but, with a large mass of Members at Associate level. That is great; it very clearly demonstrates to the wider world that we have a significant number of qualified, skilled, passionate and capable professionals in our midst. However I believe there is huge potential – massive in fact - within the IEMA membership to have many more members at Full level.

Ultimately, we aim to reposition Environment and Sustainability professionals as key influencers and dynamic change agents so that you are rightly recognised for your influence on businesses and organisations. You push organisations to make better decisions, but those businesses will be more receptive to your advice when they know it comes from someone who carries Full membership and Chartered status.

Full membership is not just a “rank”; it is about ensuring that every single Member gets the professional status, respect and recognition for their skills that they deserve, in line with the universal understanding people have of what qualified accountants or engineers do. Full membership is the recognition of someone who has not only gained a wealth of practical and theoretical knowledge, but can match that with experience, leadership capabilities and a track record of influence. From the Members I’ve been lucky enough to meet the overwhelming majority display these exact qualities but for one reason or another have not yet taken the step to upgrade their membership to more accurately reflect their knowledge, capability and experience.

We are doing our bit to help encourage more Members to take the next step, even taking away the fear of the interview, making it a better peer-to-peer experience. With our mentoring service, AIEMAs are better supported through the process and there is advice and guidance offered all the way by your team here at IEMA. I realise that even applying for Full membership and preparing yourself for the interview takes time and effort (not forgetting a certain amount of guts) but I sincerely hope that if you are one of the Members I’ve spoken to who has not yet got around to applying for Full membership you will reconsider.

The time has never been more important for qualified Environment and Sustainability professionals to shine, so let’s reposition our influence on business so that together we transform the world to sustainability.