A speedy interview with the ICRS North West Hub
The North West Hub is a virtual support group for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) professionals. It is a place for members to share learnings and challenges, ask questions, get advice, highlight opportunities and join networking and speaker events.
The group is led by the North West Hub Steering Committee and administered by the ICRS Secretariat team. The Hub has two co-chairs - Alex Mayes and Eloise Sochanik.
Alex found his passion for Sustainability after globetrotting for nearly a decade in the travel industry. He saw the systemic social inequalities and disregard for the environment which often occurs when countries are trying to establish themselves economically. Coming home with eyes wide open, he saw similar themes of social inequality and environmental damage in the UK.
Leaving the Travel sector for the Built Environment, he was soon lobbying to kickstart a CSR policy and since then has worked for global organisations, small businesses and social enterprises – but all with a remit of ensuring their work leaves a meaningful impact. He loves inspiring others to see the difference they can make by taking deliberate steps to address the biggest issues society faces today.
A sense of community is important to Alex out of work too. As a trustee of a small charity, he helps them attract corporate sponsors, and as a coach for a grass roots rugby club he helps 8 years old enjoying running around in the cold.
With nearly 20 years’ experience in sustainability, Eloise started in the carbon offset industry, auditing greenhouse gas emissions assessments and working with corporate clients to verify and communicate their approach to emissions reductions. In 2012 she moved into event sustainability, to coincide with the London Olympics “the most sustainable games ever” and worked across the events sector to deliver education and training on ISO management systems and GRI reporting. She has spent her career since in the Northwest working in events and communications for Business in the Community and then in generalist sustainability roles in the legal sector.
Eloise is currently Sustainability Manager at RSK Group and leads on sustainability strategy, stakeholder engagement, ESG reporting, and delivering against targets for everything from fundraising, volunteering, EDI, supply chain and net zero goals. Eloise volunteers as a governor in a local primary school and as a Dementia Friends Ambassador. She has three children and enjoys spending time outdoors, taking photographs and talking about going for a run.
What makes your Hub unique?
Alex: We have been running for over five years and have a high number of active members.
The members of our hub cover a wide range of sectors and includes those with various levels of professional experience.
This incredible diversity in talent always provides different perspective to the meetings and enables everyone to contribute and benefit from the conversations.
What do you see as the role of your Hub?
Eloise: The hub has always been a way of connecting professionals who might not be part of a large team or might be the only sustainability practitioner in their organisation. We created the hub as we had both felt the need to connect with others who had shared challenges and to learn from best practice in relation to sustainability. The ICRS and Carnstone Partners as Secretariat have provided us with support to set up the hub, to engage members in the Northwest and make the transition to running our events online. We have always felt that the regional hub was particularly important as we represent a thriving sustainability community in the Northwest - who may not be as connected as those professionals working from London where many large companies are headquartered.
How are you hoping your Hub will evolve?
Eloise: The hub has always been flexible in responding to the needs of ICRS members in the Northwest and ensuring that they shape the agenda. Our last few events have been successful as they have been built around topics that we know have resonated with members – and we want to make sure this approach is front and centre as we develop.
We are conscious that the sustainability agenda is ever widening and so intend to create content that reflects this. This might mean looking in more detail at wellbeing and equality and diversity, or taking a deep dive into net zero strategies or social value.
Alex: In the short term we want to begin offering face to face meetings to leverage the professional networking benefit of ICRS membership.
We want to continue to deliver web-based knowledge share sessions and look to our members to shape the content of these workshops