Meet edie’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2023: Emma Sueref, Coreus Group

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, Coreus Group’s director of sustainability & growth lead Emma Sueref.

Meet edie’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2023: Emma Sueref, Coreus Group

Emma joined Coreus in early 2023, already with a wealth of sector-specific experience under her belt

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 Emma Sueref, director of sustainability and growth at Coreus Group.

How I got to where I am now:

“Growing up in the Hampshire countryside with my mum as my geography teacher meant that the topics of conversation over the dinner table and long car journeys often highlighted joint interest in the natural environment. Unsurprisingly to those around me at the time, this naturally led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in environmental science, followed by a masters in environmental consultancy.

“I have always been drawn to challenges and found myself gravitating towards the construction sector. Its vast potential for environmental and social impact and my love of problem-solving really captured my imagination. Beginning my journey with a small family-run copany, I quickly moved to a large tier one contractor, Vistry Group Plc, within their housebuilding and partnerships arm.

“Starting in pre-construction roles, I delved into business development and land management, achieving RICS chartership in project management before pivoting towards driving sustainability initiatives within the company. During my seven years, I progressed from a business unit level, to divisional level, to group level – to my final position as sustainability and new business manager.

“I then had the fantastic opportunity to pivot my career join an award-winning consultancy, Coreus, as director of sustainability and growth. I’m now responsible for the sustainability consultancy business unit, leading the team to collaborate with a diverse range of clients on a wide range of different project work. Additionally, I’m responsible for the development and implementation of our own company’s internal sustainability efforts.”

My biggest career achievement to date has been:

“It’s challenging to pinpoint a single highlight in my career journey, as I’ve been fortunate to experience several significant milestones which I’m proud of. However, it goes without saying that being appointed as company director at 28 and having the privilege to grow such a wonderful team and an exciting pipeline of projects here at Coreus will be hard to beat.”

The biggest challenge I have encountered has been:

“Breaking through barriers. In construction – an industry where there is still, broadly speaking, a gender imbalance and where sustainability is still rately a top priority, it can be tough to get your message across. I often had to speak up louder than my colleagues just to get my ideas heard. But despite the challenges, it’s made me even more determined to push for positive change, both for women in construction and for the sustainability profession.”

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

“Innovative problem solvers.”

A successful 2024 for me looks like:

“Over the next year, my main focus is to maintain the growth of the sustainability business unit and our service offering, while continuing to provide positive sustainable outcomes for our clients.

“We have some really exciting projects on-going at the moment and I’m excited to see these complete and provide some real tangible results.

“On a more personal note, I’d love to achieve the Fellow IEMA Membership level this year.”

Outside of my career, I enjoy:

“Volunteering. I serve as a board member for the Regional RICS SW Board and as a director of Exeter Community Energy. I also engage heavily in local mentoring for young people, in particular young girls – which is very important to me.

“Part of the reason I chose to stay down in Devon after university is because I love being close to both the stunning coastline and Dartmoor, Bodmin and Exmoor. I feel incredibly fortunate to have such diverse natural landscapes at my doorstep and enjoy exploring these with my husband and our dog.”

My ‘Mission Possible’ message for business leaders is:

“Honesty and transparency are key. It’s essential for leaders to foster open dialogue internally and externally, engaging with all stakeholders.

“Sustainability isn’t an isolated concern; it’s a collective challenge that demands collaboration across industries, regions, and supply chains. Without conversation, this collaboration becomes unattainable.

“So, my message is clear: Let’s embrace honesty and transparency as fundamental principles in our approach to sustainability. Only then can we effectively address the challenges and seize the opportunities, together.”

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

“Don’t let anyone dim your light. Advocate for yourself, know your worth and you’ll get heard.”

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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