15 years delivering Sustainability with Terra Infirma
Crikey. 15 years ago today I relinquished the safety net of a salary and generous pension scheme to fulfill an ambition I’d had since undergrad days – to set up my own business and be my own boss. I’d always worked for large public sector organisations, so setting up a business was a huge leap into the unknown. But I still remember the feeling when I printed off my first invoice (and I now haven’t done *that* for a long time), folded it into an envelope and walked it to the post box in less than 10 minutes, a task which would have taken a week of jumping through hoops to do at my previous job. This is what freedom feels like, I thought, I don’t need to ask permission anymore, I can just get on and do it.
And that freedom allowed me to develop a set of change management techniques for Sustainability which really work – using a form of backcasting for strategy development and my unique Green Jujitsu approach to engaging people. I didn’t have to follow ‘standard practice’ which gives predictably incremental results, I could strive for delivering step changes towards Sustainability.
But as we locked down last March I wondered whether the business would survive – after all, who would want to talk about Sustainability as a killer virus swept the world? Answer was: everybody!
Yep, modesty aside, I am currently reaping the harvest of those seeds sown over the years, both in terms of developing top level services and communicating the need for them. But the real difference is in the demand side. Suddenly a critical mass of organisations wants to understand what Net Zero means for them. In the last 12 months I’ve worked intensely with large new clients in sectors as diverse as healthcare, waste management and maritime insurance along with a couple of hundred small businesses (via the Small Business Leadership Programme) and I can assure you something is in the air.
In fact, I’ve turned down a load of potential work as I’m at full capacity – a luxury I don’t recall ever having in the past. That’s good news for me, obviously, but, if it is a reflection of the market, which it almost certainly is, it is also good for the planet.
So, on the fifteenth birthday of Terra Infirma, I’d like to thank all our clients, associates, partners and friends over the years – along with my family for putting up with all the ‘talking shop’ at teatime.