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Inside View: Environmental Resources Management

With clients like Shell, Chevron and Unilever, the environmental and sustainability consultancy is recruiting aggressively, from entry to partner level

This week Inside View interviews Andrew Rolfe, Global Resourcing Director of Environmental Resources Management (ERM).

Andrew oversees ERM’s recruiters around the world and is in charge of developing operational and strategic methods of procuring talent.

ERM is a leading provider of environmental, health, safety, risk and social consulting services with over 140 offices in 40 countries and around 4000 people.

If you want to engage in sustainability projects for companies like Shell, Chevron and Unilever then ERM might have just the role for you.

1. How does ERM differ to other consulting firms?
At ERM environmental and sustainability consulting is our core business. The people running the company are like-minded, environmental sustainability driven individuals who have access to local, national and global peer networks to share ideas with, and benefit from one anothers' experiences and diverse backgrounds.

ERM has an entrepreneurial spirit and attitude: if you want to do something and it makes sense, you have the scope to make it happen with access to leaders who will support and empower you in delivering improvements for the business.

While ERM is a globally recognised corporate, we offer a relatively flat management hierarchy and our team tell us we have retained a somewhat informal culture. There is a strong team atmosphere and a sense of fun.

2. In which regions and sectors are you currently hiring most in?
ERM recruits in all geographical regions where there are clients in our key sectors like Oil & gas, Mining, and Power. We expect to see increased employee growth this year in a number of key geographies including the US, Brazil, UK, South Africa, Asia and Australia.

3. What types of people do you typically hire?
We recruit at both Consultant and Partner level with a defined career path for those wanting to progress in both technical and senior leadership roles.

Our employees typically come from a mix of various environmental and social science backgrounds or with more technical, risk and safety experience.

We look for individuals who can deliver outstanding results that can make a key difference to our organisation. Our culture is very collegiate and our people need to possess the desire and skills to work together to achieve a common goal. Flexibility to work in a variety of locations and on varied key projects is also crucial to our services.

4. What qualifications do you look for?
This can depend on the nature of the role, but typically our employees will have an undergraduate degree as a minimum with many holding  a postgraduate degree, usually science-led, and industry-recognised qualifications. We are equally interested in how they have applied their academics to achievements in their chosen fields. In some countries, we also recruit newly-qualified undergraduates who are looking to develop a consulting career in our industry.

5. Do you ever hire MBAs? If so, which business schools have you hired from?
From time-to-time yes, but the skills required will be determined at the particular time we are hiring and can often be driven by a particular requirement of one of our clients.

6. What are the big developments in environmental consulting?
Our clients are increasingly recognizing the need to take action to improve the sustainability of their businesses. They understand that they must be able to anticipate and comply with new regulations, respond to society’s increasing expectations for greater corporate social responsibility, and operate successfully in increasingly remote and challenging physical and social environments.

In the resources sector competition is intense and the environmental and social impacts associated with the exploration and development of assets are particularly challenging. Elsewhere, the emergence of new consumer classes in major growth economies and continued globalization of production and supply chains are putting strains on multinational companies worldwide.

7. Any exciting projects your firm is working on?
Some examples of our work are:
- Anglo American: Quantifying the safety and sustainable development components of vendor due diligence, to support the client’s multiple divestment processes.
- Chevron: Simplifying compliance and enabling cost savings
- E.ON Kraftwerke AG: Preparing a Sustainability Impact Assessment to consider the contribution a coal-fired power plant could make to the local area.
- Ford Motor Company: Environmental due diligence of 185 operating sites in 37 countries for planned divestiture.
-Shell International Petroleum Ltd: Providing due diligence advisory services for sustainability and Health, Safety and Environment related issues of a proposed US$12b biofuels joint venture.
- Unilever: Conducting sustainability audits to drive performance improvement and ensure data accuracy for reporting.

8. Do you think companies are taking 'sustainability' more seriously or is it more of an 'after-thought' to the core business model?
Over the last five years, we have extended our strategic sustainability service offering (Corporate Sustainability Services) to respond to clients’ growing need to undertake both high level reviews of what sustainability means for them and to build programs of work that deal with specific challenges and opportunities arising from such reviews.

We’ve also invested in building sustainability options and approaches into the more traditional offerings on which our clients have relied on for some time.

For instance some of our clients have adopted more integrated water management. Many of them also understand better the importance of undertaking sustainability performance assessments alongside assurance audits to drive performance improvement, and to ensure the accuracy of data reported in EHS and CSR* reports; and of preparing and evaluating carbon footprint data for products throughout their life cycle.

* EHS - Environmental, Health and Safety

*CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility

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