Meet edie’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2023: Christopher Goodwin, Chelsea FC

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, Christopher Goodwin, Chelsea FC's first environmental, social and governance (ESG) manager.

Meet edie’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2023: Christopher Goodwin, Chelsea FC

Christopher gained experience in consulting and the food and beverage sectors before taking up a new challenge at Chelsea FC in 2023

More than just a list, edie’s annual 30 Under 30 initiative shines a spotlight on talented sustainability and net-zero professionals – aged under 30 – who are delivering on efforts to build a better future and showing fantastic promise for their future potential.

After a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19, the initiative has returned for 2023-4, with the new class having been announced last September.

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.

Our next profile interview is with Christopher Goodwin, ESG manager at Premier League side Chelsea FC.

How I got to where I am now:

“My ambition has always been to pursue a career that makes a positive impact on how our planet is preserved for future generations. I began by studying for a BSc in Chemistry with a Year in Industry at the University of Reading. I enjoyed studying chemistry, but I wasn’t sure what I would do with my degree at first.

“But halfway through my second year, I took an Environmental Chemistry course. I loved it straight away, and I knew immediately this was going to be the focus of my future career.

“After my undergraduate degree, I wanted to specialise and continue to deepen my analytical and environmental skillset.I obtained an academic scholarship to the University of York to study an MSc in Green Chemistry and Sustainable Industrial Technology.

“After graduating with a distinction, my first job was working in natural product extraction of hop oils for sustainable brewing of beer. I moved on and worked as a junior consultant for Nova Ambiente, working in Environmental Due Diligence.  This gave me my first proper taste of working in the sustainability sector, studying contaminated land, hydrology and flood risk mapping.

“After a year or so I took an opportunity to move to an in-house position as the CSR executive for Golden Acre Foods. Here I delivered GHG measurements, worked with the supply chain to embed sustainability initiatives and drove carbon reduction across the business. After just under two years I saw the ESG role available at Chelsea Football Club and it felt like a perfect next step for my career.”

My biggest career achievement to date has been:

“From an academic perspective, I was incredibly proud that the research from my post-graduate master’s thesis led to a publication with the Royal Society of Chemistry in their Materials Chemistry Frontiers Journal. To be able to transition away from the scientific start of my career with my name published in an RSC journal gives me an immense feeling of pride.

“Professionally, my highlight has been being selected for edie’s 30 under 30. To receive the recognition of being nominated alongside other hugely talented young professionals working across sustainability and energy is a real honour.”

The biggest challenge I have encountered has been:

“Probably overcoming self-doubt and allowing myself to celebrate small wins. When I have been working as an in-house sustainability professional, I have always been a one-man band. There have been some tough days and long nights when it’s been difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Something I’m working on is taking a step back after I’ve completed projects to recognise the hard work I’ve put into something rather than moving straight onto the next task.”

If I had to describe my generation in a word or phrase, I would say:

“Willing to try when success is not guaranteed.”

A successful 2024 for me looks like:

“Continuing the rapid ESG progress we have put in place at Chelsea FC. I like to break down my role into doing work that is better for the business, better for the planet and communicating our success to all stakeholders. If I can say in 12 months I’m still delivering on these points, then I know I am succeeding.

“We are right at the start of our ESG journey and this represents an incredible opportunity. In time, I would like to make Chelsea FC a leader for sustainability in the sports sector and use our voice to promote sustainable action.

“At the same time, I am also keen to pursue my personal development. The sustainability landscape is constantly evolving and to be an expert in my field I have to continue to learn and grow.”

Outside of my career, I enjoy:

“Hosting a local branch of the ‘People, Planet, Pint’ sustainability meet-ups. At these events, anyone with an interest in sustainability can come along for an informal and supportive place to learn, bring questions and discuss all things ESG. Its free to attend and we are building a great community so far!

“I am also a keen cricketer and spend my Saturdays in summer turning out for my club side in Kent. So I am looking forward to sunny afternoons in the countryside and long sessions at the crease in the coming months!”

My  ‘Mission Possible’ message for business leaders is:

“In my opinion, the current rhetoric in sustainability revolves around collaboration and how we must all work together to face common issues in ESG. I would like to challenge our business leaders to instead champion action.

“There is so much value to organisations if they simply take action and start working on sustainability. I believe the newest climate buzzword, greenstalling, has arisen because of industry concerns of unfair scrutiny if organisations put their head above the parapet. The truth is no business is perfect when it comes to sustainability. So, take action and start somewhere so you have something you can work on and perfect.”

My key piece of advice for any young professionals entering my profession today is:

“My advice is simple – back yourself and be courageous, because the next generation of sustainability professionals is going to be the most important and influential in areas such as achieving net-zero targets.

“I have been so impressed when I’ve been speaking to young people who are interested in sustainability. It feels like a catchphrase at the moment to say that younger generations are more interested and clued up on environmental issues, but it’s so true that they are.”

The full 30 Under 30 Class of 2023 membership is detailed here

To stay in the loop for the next round of annual nominations for the 30 Under 30, email [email protected]. Nominations will open this summer.

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