9th June 2021

James Roy: What sustainability means to me

Sustainability Manager, James Roy, shares some of his experiences and motivations about working in sustainability.

James Roy is a Sustainability Manager working on several projects in the London region.

James reflects on his role and what World Environment Day means to him.

I would hope that I can put myself in a position whereby my decisions bring a benefit to the people and the environment throughout the country. There is so much opportunity for investment, technology, and science utilisation in sustainability, so much of which is currently underutilised. Who knows where we might end up if we really do use the opportunities we have to build something better.

James Roy Sustainability Manager

What does World Environment Day mean to you?

World Environment Day is an opportunity for me to assess how I live my life, its level of sustainability and what changes I might be able to enact in order to improve this standing. It isn’t about asking everyone to become vegan and drive bio-fuel cars, but reflecting on it so one might opt for public transport over a car, or even just to buy vegetables without the plastic packaging. Just a small change scaled up across a population can be hugely impactful.

What made you want to work in sustainability?

I admittedly fell into my role within construction, but I have had a lifelong interest in science and biology. I wanted to work in an environment that would allow me to explore our interaction with the natural world and look at how we might improve it – something I certainly have the option to do here. My undergraduate was in Marine Biology and I’ve yet to see fish on site, but its grounding in the principles of sustainability and the affect it can have on people has certainly given me a spring from which to begin my time in the sustainability department.

What is the best part of your job?

Meeting people. I am lucky that I have the flexibility in how I can best utilise my time across projects and this has allowed me to get involved with schools, charities, sites and the local community.  By extension of that, I get to interact with the hundreds of people associated with these organisations. I have been able to hear the varied viewpoints of so many people and this has given me the opportunity to shape my work to best suit these individuals. Whether that be educational seminars and activities, or on-site events. It is something that I have definitely missed during the pandemic period.

Have any mentors influenced you in your role as a Sustainability Manager?

It is hard to pinpoint any given individual, but I have always enjoyed the exploration of science on TV and film, from the likes of Sir David Attenborough to Professor Stephen Hawking. I luckily had the opportunity to meet Professor Hawking once, and although a physicist as opposed to a sustainability manager, he always showed what it was possible to achieve no matter your position. Having been in difficult positions myself I think it has helped me move forward to where I am today.

What would your advice be to someone wanting to work in sustainability?

Be ready to learn and to share what you do learn with others. So much of sustainability is absorbing knowledge from all sources and funnelling it into new, creative outlets. That might be through the education of others, the exploration of the underlying science, or just getting out there and making practical changes.

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