Meet edie's 30 Under 30 Class of 2020: Pavan Patel, Multiplex Construction Europe
This new series profiles the members of edie's 30 Under 30 - a nomination-based community of 30 hugely talented young sustainability and energy professionals who have already achieved great things or are showing fantastic promise. Up next: Multiplex's senior sustainability manager, Pavan Patel.
The future of business leadership starts right here. Earlier this year, edie unveiled the second cohort of members of its 30 Under 30 initiative – a group of bright and ambitious rising sustainability and energy stars from across the UK.
After being nominated by their colleagues and impressing judges from Global Action Plan and the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS), this cohort of youthful visionaries now benefit from an unrivalled opportunity to connect with one another and co-develop solutions to some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges of our time.
In this weekly series, we will be sharing their stories and successes beyond the group, giving edie readers insight into the minds of those who will be leading the charge in creating the low-carbon, resource-efficient economies of the future.
This week, it's the turn of Pavan Patel, senior sustainability manager at Multiplex Construction Europe.
How I got to where I am now:
“Growing up, I was always interested in learning about the natural world – and the more I learned, the more I became attuned to the negative impacts that humans have on the planet.
“I chose to study an undergraduate and then a masters’ degree in environmental geoscience at Imperial College London and, while studying, I was considering my next steps. I wanted to be somewhere that I could have a meaningful impact on tackling climate change and realised that the built environment was a sector with a lot of potential.
“Shortly after graduating in 2015, I was fortunate to be accepted for a two-year graduate programme for Multiplex in London, as a sustainability graduate. Following the graduate programme, I was promoted to assistant, then manager and, more recently, to senior manager.
“There are two key parts to my role: leading the company’s strategy for carbon reduction and managing sustainability on some of London’s largest construction projects. This means I get to help define the climate-related goals and actions for the business, whilst also supporting the delivery of project-specific sustainability goals."
My biggest career achievement to date has been:
“Leading Multiplex to set science-based targets for our European operations. What started as a small research project turned into this major public commitment for the business, and I am very proud that we went on to become the first contractor globally to align with the 1.5C trajectory.
“I led a small and incredible team to help align the business’ reporting with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. We modelled the targets using the Science Based Targets initiative tools and built the business case to gain approval from the board.
“While setting the targets was an achievement in itself, the biggest impact was setting a pathway for the business in terms of both carbon reduction and engaging with our supply chain. Since setting the science-based targets, I’ve worked with colleagues across the business to help engage suppliers and support them to set their own climate-science-aligned targets.
“Also, transitioning the operations to 100% renewable energy is a big achievement.”
The biggest challenge I have encountered along the way is:
“Timing. It’s often a key factor influencing how successful a project is. For example, if you’re trying to implement an initiative with a supplier after their contract has been signed, it can be difficult.
“I think this is a common challenge across many different sectors. But in the construction sector, the project life-cycle can last up to five years, and you have a very small window at the start of that period to run initiatives and get suppliers on board. This is very important because our supply chain is responsible for a significant proportion of our overall carbon footprint.”
If I had to describe my generation in one word or phrase, I would say:
A successful 2020-21 for me looks like:
“Engaging across our supply chain to help suppliers understand their own carbon footprint and set targets in line with climate science, with buy-in from their own senior leadership teams. This is a project we’ve been working on since 2019, so I’m keen to see progress being made among these suppliers.”
Outside of my career, I enjoy:
“Travelling. Pre-Covid-19, I’d always make time to explore new places.
“I have to say, though, that I’ve really enjoyed walking in my local area over the last year or so. It’s been really refreshing. I also love to read.”
My ‘Mission Possible’ message for business is:
“The world is facing an unprecedented climate emergency and the next decade will be vital for turning things around. The world needs bold and brave action right now and people are looking towards businesses to step up.”
My key piece of advice for any young professionals entering my industry today is:
“Keep learning. As more stakeholders have started taking climate action, topics around sustainability and energy have evolved rapidly. Technologies, climate policies and climate science itself are changing all the time – and business strategies and models will need to change, too."
The full Class of 2020 membership is detailed here.
To stay in the loop for 2021 nominations for the 30 Under 30, email firstname.lastname@example.org.