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Testimonials

Nelmara Arbex

Nelmara Arbex, Chief Advisor on Innovation in Reporting at the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) (PCSB)

Dr Nelmara Arbex is an expert in the field of sustainability and business, and also works as an independent consultant. Previously, she was Deputy Chief Executive at GRI, in charge of Guidance, Support and Innovation; in this role she supervised the development of the most recent GRI Reporting Guidelines (G4), other content development and services. She started at GRI in 2006 as Director of Learning Program and Reports Services, which she led until 2010. These activities involve a global network with members from  more than 30 countries. Before that, Nelmara was Associate Consultant at McKinsey & Co in Brazil, was the head of Knowledge Management and International Relations at the Ethos Institute  and  set up the Corporate Responsibility department at Natura Cosmetics, Brazil, where she developed and implemented the company's management system for sustainability and reporting, implemented national campaigns and regional sustainable development plans. She was also responsible for the company’s  sustainability education program for managers and executives. In the last ten years she has designed and co-authored several articles and publications in the sustainability and business field, including the Portuguese website and blog "Sustentabilidade com Pimenta". Currently, she is a Council member of various organisations, such as the Sustainability Council at AMATA Brasil, the International Advisory Council at CORDAID and the Advisory Council at SIM – Sustainable Supply Chains. Nelmara holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Marburg University, Germany (1997).

Why did you choose to apply to the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business (PCSB)?

I have been working in the Business & Sustainability field for over a decade and was looking for a programme that would help me to refresh my references and learn new ways to approach difficult topics. I was also looking to expand my network.  At the same time, I needed to study in combination with a very busy work schedule.  I found the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business course to be exactly what I was looking for, and was convinced that it was relevant, broad and flexible.

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

Currently I am Chief Advisor on “Innovation in Reporting” at the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and an independent consultant in the Netherlands. At GRI, my role is to explore which type of innovations in corporate reporting  are needed to advance the transition to a sustainable economy. I work with business and thought leaders, and explore the main issues that they believe society and business will be facing in the next decade, and which type of reporting will be meaningful in such a scenario. As a consultant I work with companies and other organisations helping leaders to find innovative ways to face sustainability-related challenges.

What did you find to be the most valuable aspect of PCSB?

Firstly, the contact with colleagues and the PCSB network.  The opportunity to talk to colleagues facing real problems inside of their organisations, listen to so many different ways to tackle issues and be able to exchange ideas with the tutors, presenters and directors has been a great source of inspiration for me. Secondly, I found the immense list of references and resources extremely valuable too. Although it was almost impossible to read and digest all what was offered, I learnt a lot about many topics, from many different perspectives. Finally, I must say that I really enjoyed the challenge of having to write the assignments, especially the group project, as this was an opportunity to transform relevant questions in a real research project, which concluded with a paper containing main findings.

What impressed you about the Cambridge programme as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

From the content perspective, most of the other programmes available at the moment have a very specific focus. This programme was designed to offer a broad overview for participants. I was impressed by the amount of content and the range of topics the course covered. I was also impressed by the variety of participants’ background, as I am convinced about the importance of diversity in exploring new ideas and solutions.

How have you applied the learning back in your organisation and beyond? 

Learning about the different sustainable development models, strategy and monetisation of externalities for different sectors have added great value to my professional development and to my projects. I have used the content of my assignments in many discussions and projects since then.


 

 

Anakarina Perez

Anakarina Pérez Oropeza, Global Engagement Manager, Forest Stewardship Council International (FSC) (PCSVC)

FSC is a not-for-profit, membership organisation that promotes sustainable management of the world’s forests through certification. Anakarina is responsible for raising FSC’s profile at international high-level events and initiatives, including business and policy forums. Before moving to Germany in 2010 to work for FSC, Anakarina was responsible for the International Communications area at the Venezuelan American Friendship Association (AVAA). Anakarina has experience working with international and multi-stakeholder processes related to forests, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, development and climate change. She is Venezuelan and received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with honours from the Central University of Venezuela. Additionally, she was awarded the Certificate in International Relations, Diplomacy and Communications from the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and German. 

Why did you choose to study for the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Value Chains (PCSVC)?

Coming from a policy and NGO background, I wanted to internalize and study more in depth the role that businesses play the in a sustainability context.  Moreover, I wanted to examine the most pressing global sustainability challenges from a broader perspective in order to better understand the role of stakeholder collaboration in driving positive change.

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

I have dedicated the last five years in Bonn working for FSC to develop and manage the area of Outreach & Events, in which I travelled to more than twenty countries to advocate for responsible forestry, coordinating FSC’s presence at international conferences and multi-stakeholder processes related to sustainability, such as Rio+20 and already five UN Climate Change Conferences.

How do you think the PCSVC assists your work?

Apart from innovating in areas linked to my current job thanks to my assignments, I am now influencing and helping colleagues to implement concepts, including value chain analysis in areas of strategic development. With the knowledge I have gained through PCSVC, I feel more empowered and motivated than ever to take action and to contribute towards creating spaces of sharing and innovation.

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the PCSVC?

The format and high-quality of the workshops, together with the possibility to work and study in parallel – mixing theory and practice – is quite unique.

What impressed you about the Cambridge PCSVC as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

The high-profile group of participants – including tutors, programme team, students and world-known lecturers, who make possible the opportunity to be part of a “yes we can” world where all ideas are valid as long they are well argued; and where solutions are not given, but are the result of our collective constructions.


 

 


Jake Attfield 161x168Jake Attfield, IT outsourcing (PCSB)

Jake Attfield lives and works in the UK.  He studied History of Art & the History and Philosophy of Science at Leeds University before embarking on a career in IT outsourcing. Over a period of 14 years in the industry, Jake has held various positions ranging from project management, client facing and direct sales roles, and contract and commercial management positions. Jake has also been a company-nominated Trustee of the defined benefit pension scheme set up in response to a M&A activity by the company in 2007.  

Why did you choose to study for the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business (PCSB)?

I have an undergraduate degree in the Arts but have worked for most of my career in the technology market. I was looking for a post-graduate course in a topic I was passionate about, which could also help to develop my career.  PCSB stood out above all other courses I looked into. Sustainability is a personal driver for me and I was very conscious that the company I work for – and to some extent the whole industry – were not recognising or addressing key global challenges, including climate change and human rights abuses.  I wanted to learn more about the real issues, future trends, and how technology and innovation could make a difference. I was also interested in how big business, across different industries, were addressing the key challenges, how they prioritised their work and built the business case for sustainability, so I could take this back into my working environment.    

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

My role is running the business operations team, which is responsible for all governance, process improvement, risk management and corporate reporting activities.  As such, I have good visibility of all activities and programmes, both internally and externally that we are involved in or working on.  Whilst we have done some good work, we did not have a dedicated CSR or Sustainability function. However, based on the knowledge I acquired in PCSB, I have been working with the different areas of the business to coordinate all relevant activities, align them to our business plan and create a responsible business programme, which now has board sponsorship and will form a key part of company strategy. 

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the PCSB?

The cohort was really diverse; lots of different industries were represented from across the globe and this really added to the experience. It helped me to understand the different priorities placed on the key global trends, the differing impacts that these were having across the world, what was being prioritised by companies, governments and NGOs, and where the successes and failures had been.

Perhaps most critically, however, the biggest learning was that everything we do relates back to sustainability. The mega trends including climate change, resource scarcity, globalisation and human rights need to be addressed for organisations to be truly successful.  To do this, they need to take a long term view, take into account the views and needs of all their stakeholders and, if necessary, takes some difficult decisions to reposition themselves for the future.  

What impressed you about the PCSB as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

Cambridge is a wonderful place to learn. The surroundings, the facilities and the expertise available to support my learning really set this course apart from anything similar I looked into. I would wholeheartedly recommend PCSB to anyone looking to pursue post-graduate study; the course material and benefits of the programme are not just limited to those interested in pursuing a sustainability agenda, but will help anyone interested in global trends, leadership, strategy or change management.


 

 

Heather TrueloveHeather Grant, Responsible Business Strategy & Reporting team, Lloyds Banking Group (PCSVC)

Heather's primary responsibility is to support the development of the Group’s Responsible Business Strategy through internal and external stakeholder engagement, and analysis of the broad societal impacts of the Group’s products, services and programmes. Prior to her current role, Heather spent two years in environmental sustainability at Lloyds Banking Group where her main focus was on training Commercial Relationship Managers to understand the risks and opportunities associated with a move to a low carbon, resource constrained economy, as well as supporting the development of business unit sustainability strategies. Heather is Co-Chair of the Group’s Sustainability Network which is a colleague-led body of 1,000 individuals aimed at empowering them to take action to address environmental inefficiencies. After completing the University of Cambridge’s Climate Leadership Programme in 2010, Heather went on to undertake the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Value Chains in 2014. She also holds a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Birmingham and an MSc in Information Systems and Technology from City University, London.

Why did you choose to study for the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Value Chains (PCSVC)?

I was keen to develop a more holistic understanding of the risks and opportunities that exist for businesses across their entire value chain. I know that this is an area that organisations are increasingly taking interest in, partly due to high profile headlines relating to incidents in their supply chain.  Lloyds Banking Group has been developing a ‘responsible sourcing’ programme and I was keen to help shape this programme to ensure maximum gain for the organisation and those in our value chain. 

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

I am responsible for helping to shape the broad responsible business agenda for Lloyds Banking Group which focuses on households, businesses and communities, and also for engaging with our stakeholders to gain their insight into how best we can meet their needs to help rebuild trust in our organisation and sector. Our view is that our organisation will not be ‘sustainable’, in the broadest sense of the word, if we don’t contribute to UK society in a positive way across economic, social and environmental outcomes, so Lloyds Banking Group has defined its purpose as ‘helping Britain to prosper’. One part of my role is to help the organisation measure and articulate, in a clear and transparent way, how we do this currently and how we will commit to doing this for the long term. 

How do you think the PCSVC assists your work?

The PG Cert has given me a truly broad understanding of the challenges associated with the increasingly complex value chains that exist in businesses today due to globalisation. Businesses are no longer run in the way they used to be and it is important to understand who is involved in the value chain of a business, and in what way could they support or damage the end beneficiary business. Having access to a wide range of speakers across different sectors on the course gave me an invaluable insight into some of the similar challenges faced by businesses, but also some of the more specific challenges that different sectors face. As a Retail and Commercial bank, Lloyds Banking Group supports many different types of businesses from micro to global corporates and it is important that we are aware of the challenges for our customers, but also the opportunities that exist to grow their business.   The course has also enabled me to engage our Group Sourcing division as we work to improve the sustainability of our supply chain through a ‘responsible sourcing’ programme. 

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the PCSVC?

Due to the large number of speakers on the course and the other participants, I have built up a great network of contacts in different organisations, sectors, and countries across the globe who all have an interest in working together to drive towards a society with more sustainable value chains. Hearing from the experts in a number of sustainability and supply chain related fields was truly inspiring and has given me a great footing to be able to help create real change within my organisation.

What impressed you about the PCSVC as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

I was looking for a course that was specifically focusing on supply / value chains as have attended broad sustainability courses before so this one was the perfect fit. I wasn’t disappointed!


 

 

Madhu Hewakapuge

Madhu Hewakapuge, Manager – Sustainable Business and Communications at Unilever Sri Lanka (PCSB)

Madhu joined as a Management Trainee and has worked in Corporate Communications and Human Resources functions of her company. In her current role, Madhu is responsible for aligning Unilever Sri Lanka to Unilever’s global sustainability strategy and embedding sustainability into the ways of working of the local business. She also drives employee engagement and external communication at Unilever Sri Lanka, and bears the responsibility for the running of the Unilever Foundation in Sri Lanka, which is a key initiative in leading Unilever’s global ambition of improving the health and wellbeing of one billion people. Madhu enjoys reading, writing, travelling and teaching English as a second language.

Why did you choose to apply to the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business (PCSB)?

Five years ago I joined an organization that was embarking on a transformative journey to embed sustainable business practices into its entire value chain. As the result of these efforts I became interested in broader, global sustainable development issues and how they impact the economy, industries and businesses. I wanted to learn more about the major socio-economical and environmental challenges facing our world today which would help me understand how business and industry can not only reduce their negative impact to the world but also increased their positive impact. This was initial thinking that prompted me to look for a postgraduate qualification in this field of study.

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

I work as the Sustainability Manager of my company, which means that I am at the focal point of the company’s sustainability agenda. I work with different functions of the business to align their sustainability initiatives into the company’s overall plan, and also help identify opportunities for different teams to collaborate across functions. I also drive employee engagement regarding the company’s sustainability efforts, encouraging employees to become sustainability ambassadors.

What did you find to be the most valuable aspect of PCSB?

Undoubtedly the most valuable aspect of the programme is the opportunity to meet and build networks with likeminded people, who are passionate about sustainable development issues and sustainable business practices. The members of our cohort were from such a wide variety of backgrounds that it provides with you a rich, diverse pool of knowledge and information to tap into. It is also really heartening to interact with people who are fighting the same fight as you, and very inspiring to hear how they have overcome challenges both within and outside their organisations to embed sustainability into their business practices.

How have you applied the learning back in your organisation and beyond?

The work that we do in PCSB most often addresses live sustainability challenges within our organizations, which means that whatever projects we undertake as part of the programme can be directly related back to the organization. In my case, my individual work was done on the issue of sustainable agriculture and farming, which was directly related to ongoing projects within the company. It was a great opportunity to be able to devise a solution to this problem, and then also to have the feedback of the assessors, which provided valuable insights into how the plan I had come up with could be developed into a viable, applicable solution.

What impressed you about the Cambridge programme as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

I wanted a programme that would looks at sustainability from a business perspective, and offer solutions and innovations that I can learn from and apply to back to my organisation. I was also excited about the structure of distance study, coupled with the residential workshops and assignments, which allowed me to study while working, providing a unique flavour of postgraduate learning.

Whilst PCSB delivered on all of this, it also went above and beyond my expectations. It was really an eye opener about the issues that we are faced with as a collective whole, how far we have to go to mitigate some of these challenges. It was also an absolutely inspirational experience to meet so many people who are on the same journey as you, and understand best practice examples of how governments, corporates, NGOs, media, consumers, and various stakeholders across the board could come together to take steps that would lead to change.


 

 

Caroline RuterCaroline Rüter, sustainability manager with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) (PCSVC)

Caroline Rüter is a highly motivated sustainability professional with background in management consulting and expertise in strategic business development and sustainability. In her current role, Caroline is focusing on supply chain sustainability. This role entails working with GSK’s procurement department and suppliers to find innovative ways to decrease environmental impacts across the supply chain. 

Caroline has experience from working with companies in a broad range of industries and sectors – including developing a sustainability strategy for a European hub airport, conducting value chain carbon footprinting for a global retail company and developing a sustainability reporting solution for a mining company. Caroline’s academic background includes a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Industrial Engineering and Management from Lund Institute of Technology (Sweden) and an exchange programme at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China). At her spare time, Caroline enjoys exploring the world and is very fond of scuba diving in exotic places.

Why did you choose to study for the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Value Chains (PCSVC)?

The key reasons why I choose to study for the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Value Chains (PCSVC) were to deepen my knowledge within sustainability and to connect with fellow sustainability professionals to get inspiration and gain new perspectives. 

In my current role as a supply chain sustainability manger at GSK, I focus on reducing environmental impacts in GSK’s supply chain. When I initially read the course synopsis I immediately felt that the PCSVC programme was highly relevant to what I do and covered many of my key priorities. GSK is taking a value chain perspective to sustainability, which makes the sustainable value chains course relevant as it goes beyond the boundaries of own operations and provides a broader view on sustainability, including the importance of cross-functional integration. 

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How 
does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

I am currently a supply chain sustainability manager at GSK and my key priority is to decrease the environmental burden in GSK’s supply chain, including reducing the scope 3 carbon footprint, decreasing the supply chain water impact and working with suppliers to ensure resources are being used in an efficient way. 

How do you think the PCSVC assists your work?

The PCSVC programme has helped me to broaden my view and gain inspiration on how I can accelerate my current work and future career within sustainability. As the course takes a value chain perspective on sustainability, it entails much more than just operations and ‘business as usual’; it emphasises on business benefits of resilient and sustainable value chains and how to persuade others to take action. In addition, this course inspires you to make a difference within your company by providing guidance on stakeholder engagement, change management and leadership.

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the PCSVC?

The most valuable aspect has certainly been the opportunity to participate in the workshops and listen to and network with other sustainability professionals. 

What impressed you about the Cambridge PCSVC as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

I have been very impressed with the commitment and capabilities of speakers, tutors and fellow participants. The workshop contributors included many high-profile academic and business practitioners delivering high-quality, interesting and engaging presentations. Furthermore, the atmosphere of Madingley Hall and Clare College in Cambridge was absolutely astonishing and it was an honour to get the chance of experiencing this as part of the programme. 

 

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