Where are they now? Catching up with edie’s first 30 Under 30 class of sustainability pioneers
With applications for edie’s new 30 Under 30 class now open, we catch up with the rising sustainability stars who took part in our first class in 2019 to celebrate and showcase their successes.
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.
30 Under 30 brings individuals who are changing the course of climate action together for networking, mentoring, workshopping and more.
After a two-year hiatus, the programme is returning for 2023 and applications are open until Friday 11 August. You can find full details on how to apply here.
The edie team has taken some time in between reading your applications to catch up with our original 30 Under 30 cohort – the Class of 2019.
In this first part of a three-part series, we outline the career successes and the future plans of ten of our class members.
Luke was the energy and sustainability manager at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust for almost three years, from early 2019.
He made the move to Naked Wines in 2021, where he is the brand’s senior sustainability manager. This isn’t Luke’s first role in food and drink; he worked for two years as an energy and environment assistant at Aldi UK from 2015.
Luke tells edie that we would “like to be making some serious progress on decarbonisation” within the private sector in the next few years, given the global imperative of doing so.
Luke’s 30 Under 30 highlight: “It’s been an excellent accolade to have on my CV – not only is it an interesting discussion point, it offers some independent assurances that I had been doing some worthwhile work. It provided a great confidence boost, too.”
Rhea filed her application for edie’s 30 Under 30 shortly after moving on from a CSR role at Royal Mail. Her new role was at NHS Property Services – the Government-owned company overseeing more than 3,000 healthcare sites across the UK.
Rhea still works for NHS Property Services and will soon celebrate five years there. She is now the organisation’s head of CSR. As well as working to make the firm’s estate more sustainable, she is passionate about improving community impact and spurring the uptake of social prescribing. This is where patients are prescribed activities that can improve wellbeing, such as spending time in nature or time walking or cycling.
Having worked in CSR for almost ten years, Rhea tells edie that she would like to work in the charity sector when she is ready for her next move, to apply her learnings from the private sector.
Rhea’s 30 Under 30 highlight: “Meeting other young sustainability leaders and seeing the range of different careers available – plus, having a group of people I could share the challenges and successes with.”
Joshua was Multiplex Construction Europe’s sustainability manager when we launched his Class.
He was promoted to a more senior role within the business in late 2020, making him responsible for sustainability at all of the business’s live developments in London, including their supply chains.
Joshua moved into finance in 2022 and now works as a senior manager for sustainability and responsible banking at Santander UK. He says: “I believe that finance has a critical role to play in a just transition to a low-carbon and nature-positive planet and therefore want to continue to challenge this industry to ensure it fulfils this responsibility over the coming years.”
Joshua was one of our 30 Under 30 members who chose to be mentored by a more senior sustainability professional. He says their mentorship work “has greatly shaped his professional future” and notes that they are still learning from each other.
Joshua’s 30 Under 30 highlight: “The range of events provided by edie was fantastic and enabled the group to interact closely on a range of issues. In particularly I found the workshop-style event towards the end of the programme particularly useful where we were able to co-author a Playbook for Sustainability and Energy Professionals and a Sustainable Business Manifesto.”
Iona had worked as an analyst at consultancy Simply Sustainable before joining the environmental and social team at Formula E Holdings in 2018.
She was a sustainability executive when we launched 30 Under 30, acting in a supporting role to the existing sustainability manager at the time. She has quickly worked her way to a senior sustainability role in her fast-growing team, enabling her to spend more time on strategy development and management.
Iona says she would love to continue working in sports sustainability. Outside of her day job, she is currently working towards becoming a Chartered Environmentalist.
Iona’s 30 Under 30 highlight: Having access to a mentor. She says: “This really encouraged and empowered my own professional development over the years as well as allowing me to work on my areas of less strength such as public speaking and developing my personal brand.”
Jonathan was waste and recycling coordinator at pub and brewer Marston’s when 30 Under 30 launched.
He decided it was time for a new challenge in late 2020 and moved to Aldi UK, where he worked his way up to energy and environment manager, playing a key role in the retailer’s net-zero strategy development.
2021 saw Jonathan moving to Birmingham Airport as its energy and carbon manager. He tells edie he would like to stay in this role as the business “is at the beginning of an exciting and challenging decarbonisation journey”. This journey, he says, will help him become a “more rounded, knowledgeable and competent energy manager”.
Jonathan’s 30 Under 30 highlight: “Sharing ideas, experiences, and challenges with like-minded individuals” and boosting his CV. He says: “As edie is a prominent and well-respected media brand, having 30U30 2019 on my CV allows me to distinguish myself from other professionals in my field.”
Matt took an unconventional path into sustainability, having studied law and then provided legal services to businesses pertaining to their sustainability-related compliance requirements.
He joined this 30 Under 30 class as compliance and recycling operations manager at Currys Plc. He continues to apply his legal knowledge in-house in the technology sector; he has been BT’s head of circular economy for around a year now.
This is a new role for BT as the business works to embed circularity principles in its strategy. As well as leading on the circular economy, Matt is currently the acting head of climate change at BT as well, as he covers a colleague on maternity leave.
Matt’s 30 Under 30 Highlight: “Meeting like-minded sustainability professionals at fairly similar stages of their careers, but from a wide range of industries which you may not naturally cross paths with.”
Eilidh Jamieson (nee Johnston)
Eilidh applied to our Class of 2019 while she was working as environmental and sustainability project lead on the Thames Tideway Tunnel at Laing O’Rourke.
The Tunnel is often called London’s new ‘super sewer’, and is a major update to the capital’s waste and water management infrastructure.
As the Tunnel project neared completion, Eilidh moved into the public sector and took a Scotland-based role within the UK Government. She is now an environmental manager at the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED).
New mum Eilidh told edie that the birth of her first child has “reinvigorated” her passion for working in sustainability and that she enjoys working “at the forefront” of managing carbon from the continental shelf.
Eilidh’s 30 Under 30 Highlight: Having a community to turn to in challenging times. She says: “When facing a difficulty, it is a fantastic resource where someone has undoubtedly had previous experience to point you in the right direction.
“I have been so inspired by the individuals in this group and what they have achieved. It has pushed me to appreciate my own worth.”
Charlie is the founder and chief executive of EO charging. He holds the same post now as he did when we launched 30 Under 30.
Charlie founded EO Charging in 2015 after a stint in marketing and finance at charging point manufacturer Pod Point. He had been passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship since he was a student, and wanted to apply his passion and learnings in the electric vehicle (EV) space.
EO Charging was named as the fastest-growing EV business in the world by the Financial Times in 2021. It now distributes its technologies in more than 30 countries and has more than 170 employees.
Ashley interned at the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change while studying and, after graduating, took up an internship in the Mott MacDonald sustainability team.
She then moved into the hospitality space, in Hilton’s energy and compliance function. In 2019, she was an energy and compliance manager for the UK and soon received a promotion to a more senior role in this market.
Last year, Ashley became the business’s director of energy and compliance for the EMEA region.
Katie Richards (nee Leggett)
Katie has spent most of her career to date in sustainability in food and beverage, and is now a well-known professional in this space. She was at innocent Drinks when we launched her 30 Under 30 class.
After more than six years at Innocent, Katie moved into the green team at snack business Eat Real + Proper in 2021. Then, earlier this year, she took up the mantle as Lily’s Kitchen’s head of impact and sustainability.
If you have any questions about nominations for the 30 Under 30 ‘Class of 2023’, please contact us.
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