Paul Field (he/him), PIEMA CEnv
ESG Manager, Janus International Europe Ltd.
I’ve gone full circle in my career, from fossil fuel extraction to green manufacturing.
I worked as a coal miner through the 1980s and 1990s until the demise of the UK coal industry. I then worked in the automotive sector during the 1990s and 2000s, retraining as a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine setter/operator.
During this period, I did an environmental studies diploma with the Open University. After several years doing modular study alongside shift work, I was appointed Health, Safety and Environment Officer. My current employer has supported me every step of the way as their Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Manager, then as Environment and Compliance (ESG) Manager. My work includes implementing an environmental management system audited to ISO 14001:2015 standards and, more recently, developing a sustainability roadmap as the business became a publicly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange.
“I see businesses stepping up their recruitment to meet the environmental agenda’s growing requirements.”
FROM EDUCATION TO IMPLEMENTATION
I had a general education during the 1970s, excelling in geography and English literature. While working in the automotive industry I gained my Diploma in Environmental Management. I also completed an NVQ Level 6 Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety with the British Safety Council, becoming an HSE Officer. With my current employer, I’ve developed a sustainability roadmap based around BSI standards and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In January 2022, I became an Environment and Compliance Manager. I manage the business’s environmental management function and have initiated several projects to support our decarbonisation and carbon footprint, circularity and energy efficiency plans.
FINDING A HEALTHY BALANCE
In my professional role, I’m developing a whole management system that meets current and future requirements based around climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainability, decarbonisation and circularity. As our business continues to grow exponentially, the work we do will become the template for sister plants across our global footprint. I’m also a STEM Climate Ambassador and will be taking part in my first event in summer 2023 at STEMFest Newcastle.
Outside of work, I have two adult children, seven grandsons and two great grandchildren who my wife and I try to visit as often as possible. As a young man, I taught karate and ran half marathons, but bone marrow donation in 2004 curtailed my athletic hobbies. As I got older, I concentrated on my passion for rugby and reggae, following Newcastle Falcons rugby club and socialising with friends and family.
I see businesses stepping up their recruitment to meet the environmental agenda’s growing requirements. In 2025, GCSE Natural History will be introduced to the National Curriculum. This is recognition that every country needs to develop students to become the environmentalists, scientists, innovators and engineers of the future.
During my career, environmental issues were the domain of environmental professionals, with little interaction between departments unless guidance was needed on waste removal. However, an increased awareness of environmental issues and communications with customers and other stakeholders are increasing. Colleagues actively want to discuss climate-related issues, as they impact their daily lives. Over the next decade, environmental roles across a swathe of service providers will exponentially increase with education providers offering more relevant learning opportunities to meet growing demand.
TAKING ON THE CHALLENGES
The war in Ukraine has increased energy costs while also driving up raw material costs, creating shortages and delays to our supply chain, so it’s imperative that we decarbonise and become more energy efficient.
The rising cost of living has created a labour shortage and new challenges in retaining and recruiting staff in a competitive marketplace. Internally, we support departmental training needs to develop staff competencies through academic study and on-the-job training, succession planning for key roles, and providing promotion opportunities for all employees. We also look at modern apprenticeships which have provided some excellent candidates.
Hopefully, I have proved that background and age are no boundary to what you can achieve through hard work, self-belief and the support of your family. Be confident, open and non-judgemental as you work with colleagues and other stakeholders. Know that your work can have a positive influence on future generations and always bear in mind the following quote:
“The earth, the air and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers, but on loan from our children. So, we must handover to them at least as it was handed to us.” – Mahatma Ghandi