With a background in International Development projects at PwC, Heather Lynch shifted gears in her career when she took a leap of faith to join Oddbox, a startup with just 10 employees at the time.
Bringing together her passion for doing business differently and with more purpose, Heather became the first Impact & Head of Sustainability at a fast-growing brand.
Here's how she helped Oddbox create a more climate-conscious business in seven steps...
Find your focus. Sustainability is a broad field, covering everything from carbon footprints to social responsibility.
When Heather joined Oddbox, she started by focusing on how to communicate sustainability effectively.
"We began with environmental claims and gradually built a net-zero strategy around it," she says.
"It's essential to start small and expand as you go along."
If you're not an expert, become one. Heather admits that when she started at Oddbox, she had to learn many things from scratch.
"I was reading gas meters and calculating our carbon footprint in a rather rudimentary way," she recalls.
"But as we grew, we employed more systematic methods and even brought in consultants to help us."
Her advice? Don't be afraid to learn and adapt.
Use your previous experience. Heather's time at PwC wasn't wasted; it gave her a unique perspective on how large organisations approach sustainability.
"Working at PwC taught me the importance of integrating sustainability into the fabric of a business," she says.
"I could apply these principles on a smaller scale at Oddbox."
Don't underestimate the power of a clear mission. One of Heather's significant contributions at Oddbox was helping to define the company's mission and purpose.
"We initially had multiple good things we were doing, like reducing plastic and delivering overnight to cut miles," she says.
"But we realised we needed to focus. For us, that was tackling food waste."
Collaborate and educate. Heather believes that small businesses can make a significant impact by collaborating with others and educating their customer base.
"We wanted to change people's mindsets around food being 'wonky'," she says.
"This not only created a movement but also put pressure on supermarkets to reconsider their practices."
Mind the legislation. With her background in consultancy, Heather is keenly aware of the changing landscape of sustainability regulations.
"Legislation is evolving, and businesses need to keep up," she warns. "Whether it's carbon neutrality claims or other environmental certifications, staying ahead of the curve is crucial."
Be prepared for a mindset shift. Working in sustainability isn't just about ticking boxes; it's a mindset that needs to be integrated into every aspect of the business.
"It can be overwhelming," Heather admits. "But it's all about building resilience and focusing on what you can do, rather than what you can't."
Listen in on our conversation for more expert tips...
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