After completing her Master’s degree, Iris joined Edge’s graduate program working across different areas of the business. Three years on and she is now a key member of the Sustainable and Ethical Procurement team. Iris shares with us her journey at Edge.
What led you to pursue a career in sustainability?
I wanted to be an astronomer. I think most people studying the degree I studied start with the same idea. However, I slowly started to shift my focus to matters within this planet, because I realised there’s a need for urgent action to solve current environmental and social issues and for science-based guidance that help in the decision making of those actions.
Another reason is that it is fundamental to me that there’s alignment between my values and the work I do. Work fills a large portion of our life, and thus represents a significant part of our impact in the world. I believe we have the responsibility to create a fairer place for every species on our planet (present and future) and to not only preserve our environment but to leave it in a better shape than it was when we came to it.
Having said the above, I think everyone can do sustainability from whatever position they are in. Sustainability doesn’t have to be a separate career, it’s everywhere! We just need to make the connections – both in our lives as well as in our jobs.
What drew you to Edge?
When I finished my Master’s degree, Edge had opened a Professional Experience Program (PEP) which was the perfect opportunity for me to increase my sustainability-related knowledge by rotating across the organisation and participating in different projects alongside experienced and like-minded colleagues.
Based on what I knew about Edge, not only the work they were doing looked super interesting and aligned with my values, but more importantly, the culture appeared to be light and diverse, and the people seemed to be talented and kind-hearted individuals that lived what they preached – this is what drew me to Edge and is still what I like the most three years later.
What sort of work do you do at Edge?
At Edge, I’m part of the Sustainable and Ethical Procurement team, however, thanks to the PEP I gained experience in a number of areas which allows me to work across different teams and projects and gives me the diversity of expertise and collaboration I enjoy.
In most of the work I do, I get to use my science background and some of the knowledge gained from previous experience working as a beekeeper, volunteering in a permaculture centre and teaching, in a holistic way. Some of the things I do include data analysis and modelling, research, tool development, Lifecycle assessments (LCAs), Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), carbon accounting, Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDAs), materiality, and modern slavery risk assessment.
The idea is to provide our clients with science-based data and guidance to support their decision making towards becoming more sustainable.
What do you enjoy most about working in sustainability?
Firstly, knowing that my time (which is the most important thing we have) invested in work every day is worthwhile. Even the most boring tasks feel ok knowing that they are contributing toward a just life. Secondly, working alongside amazing people and collaborating to find solutions whilst having a great time. Finally, utilising science and data to drive impact and the need to continually think critically and solve challenges.
The most enjoyable projects are those that are driven by clients’ genuine willingness and passion to create a better world.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to shift careers and make the move into sustainability?
Go for it!
Sustainability is growing in all industries and in all corners globally. So don’t worry, even if you don’t approach it, sooner or later, it’ll find you 😊