2021 Director of the Year Awards "Celebrating Sustainability Protecting us all" (JEP - 7 July 2021)

Sustainability seems to have become a bit of a ‘buzz’ word in recent years, and some might be forgiven for thinking it is a recent environmental hot topic, but it is not. 

The most often quoted definition of sustainable development, came from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development, or the Brundtland Commission, ‘Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’ Seeing as the Commission was officially dissolved in 1987 after producing its report* and operated for just three years  – that’s 37 years since it was formed following concerns about the deterioration of the human environment and natural resources. Hardly the latest buzz word then! Another point to note is that in 1987 there were five billion people on earth. Now there are over 7.7 billion, all needing food, water and housing. The problem has got bigger. 

Now there are some who take the somewhat selfish view and think all this environmental stuff and sustainability isn’t going to impact me, that’s for future generations to worry about. Water is most definitely going to be an issue in Jersey in many of our lifetimes. Not only does our rising population need increasing amounts of fresh water, but some of the sought after properties on our coastline might start to suffer as sea levels rise and storm surges increase due to more unpredictable and extreme weather. Plus, the Stern Review** found that if Jersey doesn’t act now, the cost of climate change for our Island will be the equivalent of losing between 5% and 20% of GDP annually. 

There are various holiday destinations in the world which will simply disappear in our lifetimes: parts of Fiji, the Maldives and most recently it’s been announced that the Florida Keys in the USA, will not survive intact. They’ve admitted they are not going to be able to save all the land and homes as the sea encroaches. While they will try to raise roads and protect what they can, they can’t beat the rising sea. What we can all do is deal with the cause of the problem.

Businesses have a large part to play in the sustainability battle. From how and what gets used to make products, to how offices use energy, or recycle and avoid unnecessary travel. Covid has helped show us all that we can do things differently.

Elaine Walsh is chair of our Environment sub-committee and recently helped organise our virtual panel, ‘What Jersey is doing about the Environment in “ESG”’. Panellists shared some excellent advice and case studies for businesses who want to make a difference. It’s definitely not a one size fits all approach. You can view the recording on our website: https://www.IoD.je/resources/environment

In recognition of the importance to us all, as well as to future generations, this year we have included Sustainability as a new category, sponsored by Jersey Water, in our Director of the Year Awards. 

The award is aimed at leaders who can demonstrate how they integrate the success and smooth running of their business with a strong sense of social responsibility and corporate values and is designed to recognise the most ethical, socially responsible or green business leader in Jersey. 

Judges are looking for directors that are aware of the impact of their business on all aspects of society including economic, social, and environmental and their own direct and active role in this.

This is just one category in this year’s awards, kindly sponsored overall by gold sponsor Appleby, along with silver sponsors, Quilter Cheviot and Jersey Post, and individual award sponsors: Highvern, Club NED, Butterfield Bank, Jersey Water and Accuro. After such a difficult year, we wish to celebrate leaders in all fields, whether in the public or private sector. There are ten categories in total, and nominations have now closed.

We shall celebrate our 2021 Award winners at a black-tie ceremony at the Royal Yacht on Friday September 17th. Tickets for this dinner can be purchased on Eventbrite and are selling fast! I do hope as many people as possible will join us.

*Brundtland Report: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/5987our-common-future.pdf

**The Stern Review and other data can be found in the Government of Jersey’s Climate change impacts report: https://www.gov.je/Government/Pages/StatesReports.aspx?ReportID=1098

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