Katherine Byam suggests how you can enjoy your job whilst having a positive impact on the world by building sustainability into your working life.
Katherine Byam of Dieple
Website: Career Transition Masterclass and Dieple
Youtube: Katherine Ann Byam
LinkedIn: Katherine Byam
Instagram: @katherinebyam and @whereideaslaunch
Facebook: Where Ideas Launch
Katherine Ann Byam is a business resilience coach and strategic partner to leaders who are championing sustainable change for their business’s stakeholders.
She collaborates with small and medium-sized businesses to address solutions that consider society and environmental resiliency at their core while preserving economic growth and a fair return for individual innovation and ingenuity. She also coaches leaders to connect with their purpose and design fulfilling career experiences in an evolving digital landscape.
Her virtual service hub improves back-office operations to free up resources and cash for the needed investment in innovation. Her career services provide direct partnership and support to leaders who want to make strategic career shifts.
Where Ideas Launch is a sustainable innovation podcast and business advisory service for small and medium-sized businesses. She is a polymath who advocates for diversity equity and inclusion in all aspects of life on our planet.
She spends her time between the coasts of southern England and western France, enjoying writing as a creative outlet.
What you’ll learn in this episode
- [01:40] Katherine introduces what she does and what the common theme in her work is.
- [03:22] Katherine explains her background and why she was drawn to sustainability.
- [08:09] Defining sustainability and understanding its importance.
- [11:20] How to start questioning your contribution to sustainability.
- [14:56] How you can start to make an impact in your organisation.
- [18:27] Looking at the potential effects of automation on job roles.
- [21:32] Using case studies to present innovative ideas to your organisation.
- [25:11] Using employee collaboration to create ideas for diverse social changes.
- [27:30] Sourcing ideas for what you can do to start making changes.
- [29:32] How to start looking at new opportunities that align with what’s important to you.
- [32:16] Building your knowledge to find out where you can make a change.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase. This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.
- UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals
- Frugal Innovation, Navi Radjou
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- Vestiaire Collective
- The Circulars Accelerator
- Bumboo Tree-Free Toilet Paper
- The Ink Bin
- Sustainable Living Facebook group
- Living The Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future
- WWF Footprint Calculator
- B Impact Assessment
- The Circular Economy Handbook, Peter Lacy, Jessica Long and Wesley Spinder
To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.
Episode 94: A positive impact and building sustainability into your career - with Katherine Byam of Dieple
Jeremy Cline 0:00
Does your job make you feel like you're doing good in the world? Whether it's from an environmental perspective, a social perspective, a cultural perspective, does your business and your role in it have a positive impact? If not, would you like it to? And how do you go about doing that? That's what we talk about in this week's episode. I'm Jeremy Cline and this is Change Work Life.
Jeremy Cline 0:36
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, the podcast that's all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. We focus a lot on this podcast about job satisfaction and what makes you happy. And that is really important. We work for 40+ years, you want to be happy doing what you do. But for some of you, you also want to feel that you're doing good, whatever good might look like for you. The past few years, especially the past 18 months, has really made people think much more about the environment and sustainability in general. And today, we're going to talk about how you can build sustainability into your career and your working life. To help with that, I'm delighted to be joined by Katherine Byam. Katherine is a sustainable business strategist and leadership coach. She is the co-founder of Dieple through which she helps sustainable start-ups scale. Katherine, welcome to the show.
Katherine Byam 1:26
Thanks so much for having me, Jeremy.
Jeremy Cline 1:27
Katherine, can we start with a bit more about what you do? You've got business strategy, leadership coaching, digital transformation, and you've got your own podcast. So, what's your own mission? And how do all these different strands fit together?
Katherine Byam 1:40
It's a great question, and I've been asked that many times, as you can imagine, because I do have quite a varied background. And I want to start with this one idea. And this is the idea of transcending work. And it's something that I've always felt I've chased in my life. I've always wanted to do something that had more meaning, that gave more contribution, that I felt excited about doing every day. And for the most part, my career was like that. Until a few points along the way, as most people have experienced when they start making huge pivots, like going into their own businesses. So, this idea of transcending work got translated very easily into one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The UN came up with this list of 17 sustainable development goals in 2016, just after the Paris Climate accord, and this list was basically to frame the change that we need to see in the world. And there's one goal, number eight, it's called Decent Work and Economic Growth. And that one is the one that connects all of my businesses. So, Decent Work is fundamentally about doing work that is important, value adding and makes you feel alive. And I think there's a big part of who we are in the work that we do, or there should be. And the other part of it is about growth and Economic Growth. And we all know that we cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet. So, how we imagine growth or how we interpret growth, we will need to think about, we will need to think deeper about, as we continue over the next couple of years.
Jeremy Cline 3:15
So, can you just chart your journey briefly, how did you get from what you were doing to where you are now?
Katherine Byam 3:22
That's going to take a while. In 1999, I qualified as an accountant, and I worked at a multinational company. And even when I started, I knew that I wanted to start my own business. But I did that, I chose that career path because I felt I would learn the most from it. I came from a small island, Trinidad and Tobago, and this multinational gave me the opportunity to travel the world. So, I travelled all over South America, Central America, then I moved over to Europe and travelled across Europe, Central Asia, many different countries. And that just opened my mind to so many different things. I think the first thing that happens when you start travelling, is that you become aware of your own culture, and you become aware of a belief system that you've always thought was the truth, until you move out of your context. And as you start moving out of your context, you start beginning to see the world in a different way. And that's when my appetite for different experiences came in. And in 2012 I think it was, I moved into logistics. And this was because I was auditing before, I liked the logistics area. I actually audited all the processes in the company. And when I moved in there, we had a redundancy announcement. And I thought to myself, 'What am I going to do if I don't have this job?' And then the question kind of changes, 'What do I do if I remain? Isn't there something else I could be doing with my life that would actually give me a lot more passion?' Like my passion could be put into something that transcended this idea of work, of Mondays, those things that frustrate you. So, even though I remained in the organisation, this thing stuck in my head. I was like, 'Okay, I'm going to find something, I'm going to find something that means more to me.' And that journey took five years. I did an MBA for a year, I went to France, so another international experience of living somewhere else. And during my stay in France, in one of the courses that I took, we talked about inequality. And it was the first time that I acknowledged to myself that the income I was earning was in the top 1% of the world. And when you realise that, and you look at your income, and you think, 'My goodness, this isn't that much', and you think to yourself that I'm in the top 1% of the world, it's like something is wrong. Something is fundamentally wrong with how this has been set up. So, that started to bother me, and I decided to get more into it, to discover more about it. I finished my MBA with a specialisation in innovation management. And one of the books that we read at the time was called Frugal Innovation or Jugaad Innovation, which is frugal in Hindi. And in that book, it talks about how the people in India have to innovate with much less than we have in the West. So, their solutions are way more elegant and simple. For example, there was this guy who designed a fridge made out of clay and water, just these two simple ingredients. And that fridge was able to keep food fresher for longer. There was another woman who worked in a healthcare centre, and in her little area of Uttar Pradesh, a lot of people would give birth prematurely, for example, and they didn't have incubators. And she pulled together people from the neighbourhood, electricians and different skills, and they came up with an incubator that cost less than 100 US to make. And I started to realise, we have complicated things so much. And why? So, I started to ask myself. Why did we complicate things so much? And then, I started to understand a bit about marketing. And we can go into a whole side-track about marketing, but I think that marketing has almost irrevocably changed the world and changed our expectations and changed what we esteem to be. And that has created a challenge for us. So, this is how I got to this point. I came back to my company, I stayed another two years to build up the funds, so that I can start my business. And then I just got into it.
Jeremy Cline 7:21
Wow, there is so much to unpack there, that I wish we had longer than the time we have. So, I will try and focus just on the one particular area, which is, bring this back to what you were saying happened to you in your career, and what other people are maybe starting to think about in terms of their own careers. Well, let's start with a basic question. Someone thinks in the back of their minds, they take on board the sorts of things that you've said and they thought, 'How sustainable is my career in context? Here I am, maybe I'm in the West, high paying job, we're a high-consumer society, I want to feel like I'm doing my bit, that I'm doing a bit of good.' Starting with the basics, what does sustainability actually mean in that context? And why is it important?
Katherine Byam 8:09
I think, to understand what sustainability means, I like to go back to a simple pyramid, Maslow's pyramid, because everybody knows that, and it's the simplest way I can explain it. In that pyramid, you keep graduating. So, you move from looking for food and shelter, to looking for love and belonging and esteem, and perhaps self-actualization and transcendence at the top. And we spend a lot of time there, especially when we have careers that have paid us well enough, that we don't need to think about the rest. So, we start thinking about where else do we want to be. The thing about sustainability is that it starts to move those two pillars at the base, right? So, if you think about food, how we produce our food today, it's not sustainable, we know that. The level of chemicals that are put in there, the level of antibiotics that are fed to the animals that we eat, the way those animals are kept in pens, and the number of diseases that can spread because of that, affects the food that we eat. Then we talk about water. The majority of the water that's drinkable in the world is used for animals. More than 70% of it is used for animals. In fact, just a fraction of that is actually used for human consumption specifically. The rest is used in industrial processes and farming. And we don't actually have that much drinkable water. So, when you think about it like that, you start questioning what's happening here. Then we talk about the air. So, if you live in a big city, if you live in London or Shanghai or somewhere like this, you start to realise that the air quality is really poor. Like people wear masks, not because of COVID, but because the air quality is so poor. And as you start going through all of the things, if you think about your physiological needs, the amount of hormones that are fed and antibacterial stuff that is fed to the animals that we eat come into our bodies and then affect our ability to reproduce. So, you start looking at all the foundational things are touched by some element of what we talk about when we talk about sustainability. If we move up one other level, we talk about the climate, right? The climate is how we feel walking around where we are. And the temperatures are affected by that, the skyline, the sunshine, everything is affected by what's happening to the atmosphere around us. So, we need to preserve that atmosphere. If you think about sustainability, it is the foundation of everything we stand on. And if that foundation doesn't exist, we no longer have a need for the things we esteem to. Because we're going to drop in the things that we started looking at. We're now going to start looking at how we get food, how we get good quality food, how we get good quality water, where do we need to move. And that's happening to some people already. There are people at the extremes of this who that's already happening to, where they start migrating because the circumstances are that they can't grow food, fruits and vegetables where they live, or they don't get enough clean water to drink. And that's happening today. Sorry, to scare you with that.
Jeremy Cline 11:17
No, no, not at all.
Katherine Byam 11:19
It's part of the reality. So, I think when you think about where do you start, think about where your organisation is today in relation to any of those pivotal things. Right? So, are you contributing to food supply, to clean water, to the air? Are you having an impact in any one of those areas that's meaningful? So, you gave the example of, for example, if you work in a tobacco company, so tobacco is a food crop, it's a crop, right? And the land used to grow tobacco is not used to grow food. Now, is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing? You need to ask yourself what that means to you. Now, at the same time, the farmer who's growing tobacco, he's earning a better income. That's why he's doing it, he's earning a better income off of a tobacco crop than he is from a food crop. So, that's his incentive to do that. And depending on where you're operating that farm, this might be an important thing. So, if you're doing this with a lot of small farmers, for example, in Malawi or in Uganda, and they're just subsistence farmers in their own homesteads, then this is probably okay, then you want to feel like this is a justifiable and good thing to do, because they're receiving a better income for the labour that they're putting on to that land. If it is a commercial type operation, a commercial type tobacco growing operation that's reallocating things, then you start to question who am I really doing this for. So, I think this is about asking yourself the tough questions about what you can live with. And I'm not judging, I'm not judging anything. But at the end of the day, people need to make their own calls, and you need to decide what's important to you. But I knew that for me, it wasn't enough to just make sure that some farmers had an income, for example. I needed to do something more.
Jeremy Cline 13:16
Yeah. Okay. So, let's try and tie this down a bit more to an individual's career choices and career decisions and what they can do in their present environment, maybe. Through what you say, obviously, there's personal choices outside of the career. So, you know, what you eat, whether you're vegetarian or vegan, how many cars you've got, public transport, all that sort of stuff, that's your personal lifestyle choices, which may or may not necessarily be linked to your work. At the other end of the scale, obviously, you've got these big issues which need to be tackled really on a global level by government cooperation and big industries. And I think most people are going to think that, realistically, the level of influence that they're going to have at that kind of level is likely to be small. Yes, sure, some people can have a larger influence, but I think most people are going to perceive that as just something that needs to be done at a much bigger level than they're able to operate out. So, if you've got someone who, let's use the example of Jeremy, who's a lawyer. And Jeremy, actually, does quite like his job. He's in the financial services space or he's in the corporate space, he is in whatever space. But he's starting to question, having listened to you, whether he can continue to do what he is doing, which he does actually quite like, but whether there are changes that he personally can make, or changes perhaps that he can influence within his organisation, which will help all these things that you've just spoken about. So, what would you say to Jeremy?
Katherine Byam 14:57
Absolutely, you can do things where you are. So, that's the first thing I will say. Everyone, wherever you are, you can have an impact. The second thing I would say is that, you may be surprised to hear this or have it put across this way, but employees are the ones who make the most innovations in the world. Right? It doesn't come from entrepreneurs. It doesn't come from the Elon Musks and the Jeff Bezos. It comes from employees with great ideas. And great ideas usually link to a couple of things for that company. It links to potential future profits, so having an opportunity that either saves costs or grows revenue, and developing a solution for a problem that the world faces, right? So, you can do both. And Elon Musk and his companies have demonstrated that very, very well. But there are other companies that are doing amazing things, that are starting to pivot the way that they operate. So, if we go to luxury brands as an example, luxury brands have had a tough year over COVID. But they're also starting to recognise the opportunity in the second hand market for their goods, because their goods tend to be more durable, and therefore, the second hand market is a quite important place for them to play. And they're starting to recognise that they need to play there. So, you have little spin-off brands that have positioned themselves as battling these sort of luxury brands. Vestiaire Collective is one example. That is a marketplace for recycling these items. And you can do things like that in your organisation too. So, specifically to law, right, if we think about people who are doing, and I don't mean any disrespect, hey, I used to be an accountant, but back office jobs, right, all of these jobs have a very fundamental role to play in the organisation, because you get to see things in a different way and in a more holistic way than most people. So, people who are making the actual product don't see the whole business the way the legal team or the finance team or that team can. So, you get to pull together opportunities and identify things in a way that other people can't. When we talk about the Sustainable Development Goals, it isn't just about the climate. They talk about the climate, and they talk about these fundamental things. But going across the goals, there are things like partnerships for the goals, which talks about how people collaborate and work together. So, having that kind of mindset can help you to bring people from your community together in a different way to find opportunities for your business, and also looking at ways to improve the quality of work that you do. So, when they talk about Decent Work and Economic Growth, it's okay, what does decent work actually mean to all of us in this organisation? How much of our time should we be spending on this type of task versus this type of task? So, when I do digital transformation, for example, one of the things in my mind is that I don't want people who are accountants and lawyers and people who do, some of the work that they do could be automated. So, let's automate that. And let's spend more time on the stuff that actually makes a difference. Let's spend more time on the innovative stuff, let's spend more time on trying to design something that works better, that works more efficiently, that works smarter.
Jeremy Cline 18:10
Isn't there a risk of that being sort of turkeys voting for Christmas? I do plan in the future to do an episode all about sort of automation and how that might affect the job market. But I know that a lot of people will hear automation, and then they will leap to, 'So, computers are basically going to take my job from me.'
Katherine Byam 18:27
Yeah. And that's a good point, right? Because fundamentally, it's only a tool. Automation is only a tool. It's not bad, and it's not good. The tool being bad or good depends on how we as people use it. So, if we decide we're going to automate some processes across this big 200-people organisation, for example, what can we do about the resources that we have in our hands, which is the people the human resource? And the human resource is best used for creativity and innovation. That's what we're really good at. And this is how we can start designing a new type of organisation. One of the thinking processes around this is around separating the organisation between things that are for efficiency, so let's see those things that are already built, they're surviving, they've been continuing for many years, and then, there's the stuff that's new, coming on stream, that you don't know which ones are going to work. If you have the organisation understood in those two sorts of work streams, you can see how you can automate the sort of work streams that are stable, and you can start putting more resource in the things that you don't know yet how they're going to work. And if we all invested in that level of innovation, if we all took some of that base, some of that saving that we had, and invested in this kind of innovation, we have the potential to grow even further. Right? It's like when we start looking at the circular economy, there's so many opportunities. You asked me about what opportunities are there. There are so many opportunities to redesign every single thing that we do, at every job and every week. And if we're not investing the innovation in that, then we don't do it. And then, that's when it becomes bad. Because like, when I look at the news, I look at the news like everyone else. Every other week, there's another company that's letting go 1000 people, 7000 people, 10,000 people. But if they're not thinking big picture, if they're not thinking long term, if they're not thinking about resilience, then they too will go out of business. So, we need to start thinking about how to make our businesses and our own lifestyles more resilient. There's so much more I can say about that.
Jeremy Cline 20:40
Come back to Jeremy, the lawyer, and he looks around him, and he sees that things might be able to be done differently. But there's going to be a perception, I think, that if changes are made, that it's going to cost money. How does Jeremy persuade the people around him that these changes are good for the business, and that in particular, they're not going to be detrimental, and that they might be positive to the bottom line? Because ultimately, if you look at, say businesses owned by private equity, for example, or partnerships, where the partners are particularly concerned about profits, these conversations might be quite difficult to have. So, how do you start to persuade businesses that this is not just the right thing to do, but it's a self-interested thing to do?
Katherine Byam 21:33
So, I would start with finding case studies. So, if you have an idea for something that you want to do, find case studies where something similar was done before, so that you can start presenting that. And there are lots of case studies. If you go on to a website called The Circulars by the World Economic Forum, you will see many examples of companies that are coming up with new and great ideas. The idea behind finding the example is that you can prove by someone else having done it that there is a roadmap for you being able to turn this into profit. Any sustainable business that starts today has profit in their mind as well. You know, I don't know if you know about the bamboo bum roll company Who Gives a Crap. I don't know if you've heard about it. It's a brilliant, it's a brilliant brand name. But they're just as into marketing as any other company, they're just as into profitability as any other company. But what they do that's different, first of all, is that they use bamboo instead of paper created from wood, because bamboo grows quicker, first of all. And secondly, they give 50% of their profits to building toilets in countries that don't have proper sanitation. So, they're supporting very directly an important goal to them with 50% of their profit, but they're doing this after they make a profit. And they've created this model, they've created this business model completely on that basis, right? So, what I would suggest that you do is, not necessarily try to change the existing business as it is today, busy, but try to create a new type of business with a different business model that addresses some of these social issues as well, or addresses some of these climate issues as well, and also, gives benefit to the company. So, it pays for itself. It gives a reward. And it gives back to the community in the whole design.
Jeremy Cline 23:25
So, are you suggesting that someone should give up on their existing organisation and not try and change that, just go and start a new organisation?
Katherine Byam 23:34
No, no. So, what I'm suggesting is that you innovate within that organisation, but with a new business model. Yeah? So, this is one of the most fundamental things about resilience. It is about having different streams, right? If you think about supply chain resilience over COVID, it was about, okay, if we're only sourcing things from far away, from China, et cetera, how do we get things out? If we only have one source of supply and something goes wrong, what happens? And nature by design creates resilience, right. It creates multiple ways to accomplish the same goal. And that's how we need to approach our businesses. We need to have multiple ways to approach that goal. And by integrating new sources of business and revenue and streams, that are more sustainable in their fundamental nature, can be one of the ways that you build greater resilience for the future. And that's what I encourage. It's when I talk about innovation, this is what I mean. Innovation isn't just about design and engineering, right? Innovation can come from anyone, and it could be about the business model, it could be about the business process, it could be anything that you take and decide to redesign within an organisation. That's innovation.
Jeremy Cline 24:44
What are some of the small things, the small wins, that people can try and start to introduce into their organisation? I think most businesses these days probably have a recycling point or something like that. But are there things that lots of businesses don't do at the moment, which are actually really easy to implement, don't cost much or anything at all, but they're just quick wins that someone can sort of look into and suggest to a business?
Katherine Byam 25:13
So, I would say employee advocacy groups is a great idea. I know that, I can't remember the name of the company, Cisco I think it is, they have this huge employee advocacy group that actually does different types of projects within the company. So, they are given a bit of time during the week to work together on that particular project that they wanted to bring to life. And Microsoft also does this. So, they have a fund that's actually paid for 50% by employees, and then, the company matches, where they actually go out and do retraining of people in different areas, in different rural areas, about some particular thing that they want to develop in that area. So, there are lots of ways to bring people together. And I think this is an important part of it. It's like, you as the lawyer, you have certain skills. But when you marry those skills with the accountant, and the marketeer, and the person in production, you have something new and unique and different. And that's where the strength comes from. The strength comes from diversity. This sort of thing is something that I find very powerful in making social changes, as social changes are one of the many, let's call it, avenues that you can take to be more sustainable. In terms of climate related things, it is again the personal action. So, there's a lady that I spoke to recently on my podcast, who designed a company called The Ink Bin, where she collects ink cartridges and recycles them. So, finding things like that, where things can be recycled and put into the circular economy, and implementing something like that across your organisation, is another simple way to pick something up like this.
Jeremy Cline 26:56
Is there a sort of repository of these ideas? So, things like, yeah, I think most businesses I've seen, they recycle ink cartridges and toner cartridges and that sort of thing. But is there a repository of other ideas that perhaps people hadn't thought of that they could easily implement in their own place of work?
Katherine Byam 27:15
Jeremy, you're telling me to write a list of great ideas, and I'm going to do it. To be honest, in my podcast, I've met a whole lot of interesting people and things that I've never thought about at all. And I think it could be a great place to start bringing together some of these things. The other place, I would say, is again that that Circulars website that I talked about. Even checking out the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals, because there are lots of targets and ideas under there that people can start exploring to see how they can make a difference. And the other thing that I think people underestimate in how to leverage social media is that there are lots of groups that are dedicated to this on social media today. So, just to give you an example, last year, I met a guy, his name is Austin Kasso, and he has a group called Sustainable Living. His group was 3000 people in March, and he'd been growing that group since 2014. And by September 2020, there were 70,000 people in that group. So, there's lots and lots of people who are now interested in this topic. And what they do in that community is share ideas. So, they're literally just, 'Guys, do you have a solution for replacing my toothbrush with something that's more sustainable? Or do you have a solution for this? Or I just came up with this idea, what do you think?' So, this is another way of bringing your own level up very quickly, and experiencing something different from people who are really trying to create more minimalization in the things that they purchase and stuff like this.
Jeremy Cline 28:44
Let's say that I'm interested in a career change. I don't see the organisation that I work for as being in an area which I personally feel is doing good, for want of a better word. I don't see it as something which people are going to look back and think, 'Oh, yeah, that organisation really helped the planet.' But I've got absolutely no idea what I might go to, and doing good is such a broad concept. What's the starting point for someone like me, who is starting to think about maybe working in a similar area, but for a different organisation, or maybe pivoting entirely? How do I work out what's out there and figure out what might be good for me, meeting my goal, my ambition, to do more good in the world?
Katherine Byam 29:33
Yeah, I think the first thing, I would say, is that you have to start from a place of your own strengths. That's the most important place to start because it has to be something that you're able to do, you're capable of doing, and that you consider to be important as well. You can use your skills in any way possible to achieve a different outcome, right? So, you can use it to achieve a sustainable outcome, you can use it to achieve a capitalist outcome, you can use your skills to achieve different outcomes. That's what I'm doing. So, I have this background in process analysis and financial things. I'm using that when I work with companies, but I'm also using my passion for sustainability to help them come up with different solutions about what to do, what to do next. It's the after solution. So, that's one thing. The second thing is, I want to give an example of a lady I interviewed on my podcast, who I found really interesting. She is someone who has always been passionate about social change. She now works for Amazon, a company that is always targeted as one of the least sustainable of the big companies. Why does she work for Amazon? Because she thinks that she could make a difference there. So, she knows that Amazon first have the money to invest in things that are social change relevant. So, she goes there, and she comes up with programmes and projects that she feels will make the biggest impact. And she feels justified in doing that, because she's making that company more responsible. And I often thought about this as well, when I worked in the tobacco industry. My job was to be an auditor, and part of that was to challenge decisions we were making in certain places to make sure they lived up to the values that the company said they had. And that's responsible. That's part of the framework of responsibility in a company. So, you can decide that you stay where you are, and you keep that company honest, for example, if they have said that they have a certain goal, if they have not expressed a goal that you could align with, then I do suggest that you leave, because it's important for us, I think, especially as we get on in our careers, beyond 35 and we're starting to look toward how our career winds up, you really want to be aligned to things that are important to you, and not just something important to someone else.
Jeremy Cline 31:50
And just narrowing down this concept of doing good which, as I say, is such a broad concept, how might you figure out what's doing good looks like to you? How do you figure out what's important, whether it's environment, whether is wealth inequality, whether it's medicine, finding a cure for cancer, that kind of thing, how can you work your way so you can figure out where you're trying to make a change?
Katherine Byam 32:17
Build your knowledge is the recommendation I would make. And there are lots of places you can do that. I like social learning as a way to build my knowledge, in addition to books, but I like social learning. So, one of the things that I like doing is watching programmes, documentaries on Netflix, because the way that they do it is also very fun. And then, talking about it with other people, right? And you do a watch party about something like Seaspiracy. There was a lot of chatter on the internet after Seaspiracy aired a few weeks ago, which talks about the impact of what we're doing in the oceans and commercial fishing. And that triggered people to take different types of actions. Learn about things, discover them, you don't have to take action immediately. But put yourself in a position to know more, to know a bit more. If something piques your interest, go deeper. So, I'll give you another example. I watched an episode of, it's actually not an episode, it's an actual movie, it's called Living the Change by Amazon. And it was about regenerative farming in New Zealand. And I was so fascinated by the topic that I decided to get in touch with one of the guys who was actually speaking on that film. I asked him to come on my podcast. And he talks all about what he's doing in ecological space. And he told me that, before he became an ecologist, he's actually a trained ecologist with a degree and everything, he used to be a banker in London. And then he moved out, he moved out to New Zealand after the financial crisis, because he decided that he needed to do something different. And he started to learn about how people were creating farms that were actually sustainable, that were actually being net extractors of carbon from the atmosphere and decided he wanted to learn how to do that. So, he retrained himself completely, and now, he advises companies. So, there are lots of ways that you could approach this.
Jeremy Cline 34:01
Katherine, there's a lot of ways that people can start to dig into this. Can you give people a starting point? Book, tool, resource, something just that people can say, 'Okay, I'm going to start here and see where it takes me.'
Katherine Byam 34:14
So, I recommend three things. So, the first one is the WWF website. And this helps you, this is the World Wildlife Fund organisation, this can help you to assess your own impact on the climate. So, this tells you your carbon footprint based on the typical things that you do. I found it very powerful to do because it was the first time that I realised my footprint was something like 10,000 grammes, milligrams, I don't know, of carbon. And when you look at that, it's actually below the UK target. So, the UK target is 10,000. But it is way above the global average. The global average is something like 4000. So, it goes to show this kind of privileged life that we do live. So, that's a great place to start. The second one I would recommend is, if you're looking at doing something for your organisation, or understanding what your organisation could do, you can have a look at the B Corp's assessment. It's a free tool as well. And you can do a self-assessment based on what you know about your company, to see where they really are, if they're not as yet B Corp certified. And this gives you a clue as to the kind of things that your company should be thinking about. And the third thing is really to look at what's happening in the innovation space around the circular economy. So, looking at The Circulars Accelerator, from the World Economic Forum, there's also a book called Circular Economy, it's written by a number of people from Accenture, who started to look at this space and look at the different companies who are building solutions. So, it's a coalition of different companies doing circular type solutions. And I think this is a place to spark great ideas. I really do believe that innovation is where all the energy's at right now, and it's where all the excitement is at. It's something that I'm super excited about. And it could happen anywhere. And it doesn't matter what you've done in the past, you can be a part of that change.
Jeremy Cline 36:10
Brilliant. Thanks so much for those resources. If people want to find you and get in touch with you, what's the best way that they can do that?
Katherine Byam 36:17
Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, I do engage a lot there, also on Instagram. I am Katherine Byam on Instagram, Katherine Byam on LinkedIn. So, do feel free to get in touch.
Jeremy Cline 36:28
Katherine, you've given us an awful lot to think about. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Katherine Byam 36:32
Thanks so much for having me, Jeremy.
Jeremy Cline 36:34
Okay, hope you enjoyed that episode with Katherine Byam. Wow, there was a lot in there. And there's always a risk with episodes like that, that you end up just feeling guilty that you're not doing enough to help the environment or society in general. And that really wasn't the intention of my conversation with Katherine. Everyone's becoming much more self-aware about their impact on the world, especially since the pandemic started. And probably even before then. And the purpose of this interview was really just to start to explore how you can make a difference in whatever role you're doing. So, I hope this has sparked some ideas and given you some food for thought, and possibly some avenues to explore further. This is another of those episodes which you may want to revisit, and you'll find full show notes at changeworklife.com/94, where there's a summary of everything we talked about plus the full transcript, if you'd rather pick out from the text the things that you're interested in, rather than listening to the episode again. And this is another episode, which I'd really likely to share. Sustainability is a hot topic right now. And it may well be that you or people you know just don't feel like you're in a position to do anything about it at the moment. What I hope Katherine has shown is that there are some very real, very practical things that we can all do now. So, do please share this episode. Let's get the message out there that there are things that all of us can do. On the subject of the pandemic, next week's episode is the first in what I'm hoping is going to be a series of episodes all about how the coronavirus pandemic has directly affected people's careers and working lives. And next week, we've got an interview with someone who, as a result of the pandemic realised they just weren't in the right line of work, and they made really quite a seismic change. It's a really interesting and quite uplifting story. So, if you want to hear that, make sure you subscribe to the show, and I can't wait to see you in next week's episode. Cheers. Bye.
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