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60 Seconds with NQA's Sustainability Assurance Manager

25 April 2022
Our Sustainbaility Assurance Manager Amber Dixon took the time this month to tell us about her role, the projects she's been involved with and to share some advise for those embarking on their sustainability journey. 

What is your role?

I have been working for NQA for the last 4 years, and in this time I’ve worked in a few different roles within the business. My current role is NQA’s Sustainability Assurance Manager where I have an overarching responsibility of upcoming services within our sustainability sector. Each day is different which is great and spans across both commercial and operational aspects of the role. The core purpose of my role is to explore and develop NQA’s sustainability platform to support our clients make informed and meaningful change, along with our own environmental responsibility.

Why did you want to work in sustainability?

I think it is clear that becoming more aware, active, and overall sustainable is something that we can’t avoid – both in a working and personal environment. When you think of sustainability often you associate this purely with our environmental impact, which rightly so comes highly in terms of its detrimental importance. However, sustainability really covers a wide manner of things and is constantly evolving, think of the 17 UNSDG’s and the key areas they explore for example.

The reason I wanted to work in sustainability is because there is always more to learn and there is always more to be done. We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and do better, so being able to do this whilst encouraging positive solutions to our clients is amazing.

What projects have you been involved with since starting the role?

A big part of my role has been driving our PAS 2060 service forward, this is a specification for clients looking to demonstrate carbon neutrality for all or part of their business. It is a great standard that guides businesses through calculating their carbon footprint, continually reducing their emissions, and utilising recognised and meaningful offsets to achieve carbon neutrality.

The requirements, particularly around reduced year on year emissions either on an absolute or intensity basis, mean that businesses are being steered toward becoming more efficient. With governments committed to reducing emissions, we see this as a good place to start and give businesses the recognition for their efforts. We are at the final stages of working toward UKAS accreditation for PAS 2060 as part of their pilot scheme.

We are extremely happy and proud to be involved in this project as NQA understand and value the importance of accreditation and believe this is what will set us apart in this field.

Are you seeing any trends in sustainability amongst NQA clients?

Yes, the main one being the need for it. We see a huge trend in terms of clients looking to comply with standards that drive their sustainability forward whether that’s through management systems such as ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 or verification services such as GHG Inventory and PAS 2060. It is becoming more apparent for our clients the need for these standards to support in supplier contracts, tenders, government policies, or even expectations from stakeholders. 

Any advice for people looking to make their business operate more sustainably?

The most important advice we can give is simply to begin the process. It can feel intimidating and like you don’t know where to begin, but by taking it step by step, prioritising your goals and making commitments you are heading in the right direction. We have a great amount of resource available to support you on your sustainability journey helping you to suss out the next steps or delve into a new area.

Why not take a look at our sustainability hub! We also offer scheme specific training which can range from implementation to lead auditor dependent on your needs. I look forward to partnering with you and supporting you on your sustainability mission.