Meet edie's 30 Under 30 Class of 2020: Rosie Wollacott, Mulberry
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: Rosie Wollacott, group sustainability manager at Mulberry England.
The future of business leadership starts right here. Last 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 benefits 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 Rosie Wollacott, who heads up sustainability at British luxury fashion brand Mulberry.
How I got to where I am now:
“I joined Mulberry in 2010 as a trainee stitcher after I left sixth form following my AS Levels. Mulberry’s factory site, The Rookery in Chilcompton, is just a few miles from where I grew up, so I applied for a production role as a bit of a ‘stop gap’ once I had finished school. Luckily for me, I felt part of the Mulberry family very quickly, and 11 years later I am still so proud to work for the brand.
“I have had various roles over the years, including taking on responsibilities for health and safety at our Somerset factories and warehouse and co-managing the Leather Goods Manufacturing apprenticeship scheme with the local college. I took over the sustainability role in December 2017 and was promoted to group sustainability manager in December 2019.”
My biggest career achievement to date has been:
“I have had so many highlights at Mulberry, I definitely can’t choose one!
“I’m very proud of how the board and leadership team have supported sustainability internally. I’m also really proud of the progress we’ve made in communicating our responsibility efforts to our customers in the past couple of years. Even though the brand has such sustainable beginnings, we did tend to shy away from talking about them.
“This year, Mulberry celebrates its 50th anniversary, so it is the perfect time for us to reflect on where we’ve come from and focus on where we’re going. To coincide with Earth Day, we are announcing the brand’s bold sustainability commitments in our Made to Last Manifesto.The Manifesto lays out a commitment to transforming the business to a regenerative and circular model, from field to wardrobe by 2030.”
The biggest challenge I have encountered along the way is:
“Learning to pick my battles. There are so many important, valid issues in the world, but of course we cannot fix everything at the same time.
“I have definitely learned to concentrate my efforts on the Mulberry-specific issues first, and once I feel they are self-sufficient, I can move on to looking at the broader topics. That is not to say that these topics don’t deserve the same attention, but it helps me manage my time, effort and resources, rather than trying to spread myself too thinly”
If I had to describe my generation in one word or phrase, I would say:
“Ready for change.”
A successful 2021 for me looks like:
“Finalising Mulberry’s science-based targets and creating our pathway to net-zero by 2035. This is no doubt the most important piece I am working on at the moment, and something which will change the way we do business around the world. It is an incredibly exciting time to be at Mulberry.”
Outside of my career, I enjoy:
“Taking my black labrador Sam for walks in the Somerset countryside, pottering about in the garden and listening to true crime podcasts.
“Last year, I joined the Parish Council for the village where I live and have been enjoying connecting with the community. I’m also in the throes of planning my wedding for October this year, after we had to postpone last year. Fingers crossed!”
My ‘Mission Possible’ message for business is:
“Be open, be bold, be imaginative and be responsible.”
My key piece of advice for any young professionals entering my profession today is:
“Meet people from all industries. It’s surprising how much you can learn from different sectors and apply these learnings to your own role.”