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E. J. Devereux: Environmental & Biodiversity Expert & The Importance of Sustainable Development

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

The future of our planet, and our place in it, depends on our ability to both predict and meaningfully adapt to the twin crises of biodiversity loss, and climate and resource change. The futures of organizations and businesses around the globe also depend on the idea of not only "how does our organization impact the environment", but how does the environment impact our organization? Now, and into the future in a changing global resource base?

The concepts of Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG), Environmental Sustainability, and Sustainable Development are vital to understand, communicate and implement in all areas of business and in all organizations, whether big or small. Success and growth in all sectors depend on the availability of raw materials and associated resources, such as water, and sustainable and dependable supply chains. Sustainable development is important because it seeks to balance economic growth with environmental protection and social well-being, ensuring that present needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Importantly, national and international governments increasingly require organisations to reach important environmental targets, such as achieveing net zero emissions, and businesses themselves recognize the need to address environmental challenges such as climate change and resource depletion. Setting and achieving environmental targets can not only help companies reduce their environmental impact but can also improve their bottom line by reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and attracting customers who value sustainability.

Sustainable development applies to everyone: from single, small-scale farms, all the way up to pharmaceutical API manufacturers and global corporations. Importantly, the importance of change now needs to be communicated effectively- to the public and consumers, and also to investors and shareholders, whose investments and demands may well drive the way forward to a greener future. All people have a share in ensuring the future viability of our planet, especially in terms of, for example, food security and food equity, water quality, and sustainable consumption. But our planet is changing, and change is frightening. There is no denying the psycho-social side of climate change mitigation. Added into the bargain is the shortage of experts in the field- particularly in large organizations as well as research- and you have a recipe for disaster.

My name is Emma J Devereux, and I am a passionate climate and environmental scientist, ecologist, sociologist, governance, and environmental sustainability specialist. I possess a combination of technical expertise, leadership skills, and a strong commitment to environmental conservation. I am exceptional in that my education, training, experience, travel, and intellectual pursuits mean that I am uniquely placed to understand, research, and envisage environmental sustainability concerns from a range of different vital, and global, viewpoints.

Coming from a farming background, I have a deep understanding of natural heritage, natural capital, ecosystem services, and the impacts of climate change on the bottom line of a small business. Working as a Consultant Ecologist and Plant Specialist in Environmental Consultancy, I understand the place of environmental legislation in everyday planning and business contexts and have a working knowledge of the development and philosophy of the Environmental Impact Assessment framework in Europe and the USA/Canada with specific legal and procedural mechanisms for Ireland in particular. I work on a wide range of projects, including national infrastructure projects, large residential developments, intensive agriculture developments, quarrying and mining operations, individual and small-scale projects, API manufacturing complexes, commercial developments, and more. I have strong technical expertise in areas such as biodiversity conservation, wildlife management, and natural resource management, with a deep understanding of ecological principles, conservation biology, and environmental policy. I also possess a wealth of expertise in GIS mapping, data analysis, and predictive statistical modelling- essential to model and envisage future impacts of proposed environmental sustainability measures.

As an Environmental Sustainability Specialist, I understand the key concepts in environmental sustainability and climate change required to be able to collect data, analyse, assess, risk manage and mitigate against the impacts of climate change for a range of different applications. I have an MSc. Environmental Sustainability from University College Dublin (UCD) where I studied a range of subjects related to environmental problems and solutions, sustainable development, climate, and the natural environment, such as environmental policy, sustainability, renewable energy, climate change, ecosystem management, environmental law, and environmental economics, sustainable energy systems; approaches to energy systems analyses and sustainability metrics, water quality assessment and management, etc.

My Ph.D. from Leiden University (the Netherlands) and the Nutritional and Isotopic Ecology Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder (USA) looks at the impact of climate change on plant nutrition and resource change on grassland landscapes, and the knock-on effects on consumers. My particular academic specialism is paleoecology - the study of ecosystems and their interactions with the environment, understanding the long-term dynamics of ecosystems and the environmental factors that shape them, and the processes that will impact the environment into the future. Paleoecology draws on a range of scientific disciplines, including geology, biology, and climatology. Key areas of research in paleoecology include the impact of human activities on past, present, and future environments, and the role of ecological interactions in shaping biodiversity.

I achieved an MSc. Environmental Archaeology from University College London (UCL) and worked with such prestigious institutions as the British Museum and the University of Cambridge. As an Environmental Archaeologist, I am expert in human-environment relationships, and the dependency of humans on their surroundings in a variety of ways, from commercial resources and subsistence to the more intangible ideas of Natural and Cultural Heritage. I have a deep understanding of natural capital value (use value and non-use value), the concept of ecosystem services, and the sociology of human-environment relationships. I can understand the different climate concerns of people across the world, such as Indigenous groups, farming and rural communities, urban dwellers, and those with different investments in the environment around them. I have published academic articles on topics such as Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Pro-Environmental Diversification on commercial farms.

My academic background displays my commitment to issues of biodiversity, and passion for the environment, conservation, and sustainable development. However, I also uniquely possess a combination of technical experience, communication skills, analytical thinking, strong business acumen, and senior management and leadership experience, which distinguishes me from others in the field.

I worked as a Data and Policy Analyst on the gas transmission team at Ofgem (UK) - the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, a non-ministerial government department in the United Kingdom that regulates the electricity and gas markets. Part of my role was regulatory – establishing and monitoring KPIs using key environmental metrics, using data to inform decision-making and policy development within the organization, working with large amounts of data, using statistical and analytical methods to identify trends, patterns, and insights. I supported the development of policy and regulation based on the insights gained from data analysis. Within my specific remit was the “move to a low carbon future” within gas transmission. This involved responsibilities for developing policies and regulations to support the transition to a low-carbon gas system, working with stakeholders such as gas suppliers, industry associations, and government agencies to ensure that gas infrastructure and supply chains are compatible with decarbonization goals.

My strong business background also ensures that I realise that organisations have a duty to reduce environmental impact whilst also having responsibilities to their shareholders, especially those publicly traded. Reducing carbon emissions, increasing transparency, engaging with stakeholders, developing sustainable products, and setting targets that are measurable and achievable are key ways a company can address shareholder concerns, and must be smartly developed by experts in their field. This builds a stronger, more sustainable business that delivers value to both shareholders and society as a whole.

I have many years of senior-level project design, implementation, and management, public engagement, strategy and proposition, stakeholder management, local and national government, and research experience in organisations such as Allied Irish Banks, the University of Cambridge, Central London Local Authorities, and more. I am a highly adept communicator, with experience in public engagement across a range of sectors, teaching, facilitation, and presentation of analyses across various media. I understand the importance of effective service implementation and for example undertake freelance research for organizations such as the Centre for Effective Services, an organization that supports social impact organizations. Please see the Resume section of this website for an overview of my experience and education.

This website will feature articles on sustainable development, biodiversity, natural resources, and environmental social governance (ESG). I aim to raise awareness and share knowledge on these topics, foster discussion, promote responsible investing, and advocate for change. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly for any specific queries related to these issues.


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