Head of Sustainability, Kingfisher

caroline-laurie

1. What was your first ever job?

I joined Asda's management accountancy graduate scheme straight from university. I stayed with the business for ten years, before accepting a position as a buyer at B&Q. I'm in a very different job today, but the focus on product and customer hasn't changed.

 

2. Why did you get into the sustainability industry?

In 2012 I joined Kingfisher's new energy saving proposition as a Business Development Manager. My team's focus was helping customers to reduce energy use in their home through new products and solutions. My journey towards Head of Sustainability hasn't been a typical one, but it has felt like a natural progression. Sustainability has been a consistent theme throughout my time with the business, and I think this reflects Kingfisher's commitment to being a sustainable, purpose-driven company.

 

3. What does your current role entail?

My role is to set the strategy, targets, and ambition for sustainability and then work to embed this throughout the company. I get to work across a range topics and business functions, and I'm constantly challenged to develop new skills. No two days are the same. Luckily, I have a great team to support me.

We want to help our customers create the good, sustainable homes they deserve and we want to do that as a truly sustainable company. Earlier this year, we launched our sustainable growth plan to help us do just that. Our plan sets out clear goals for 2025 and is focused on the issues that matter most to our customers. My priority is to embed and deliver against this vision throughout the business and continue to find ways to engage customers with sustainability in a way that connects with their lives.

Behind the scenes we're also working on some exciting new products. I can't give much away, but we're working on creating quality, good value products that answer customers needs, with sustainability built in.

4. What have been the most significant challenges for the sustainability industry in recent years?

Sustainability strategies have typically focused on the ‘big wide world' and tell people what they should care about. But lasting change will only come when we can guide the behaviours of our customers.

At Kingfisher, we've spoken with thousands of customers across Europe. We never mentioned sustainability. Instead we asked them what they cared about, what mattered to them, their families and their communities. Sustainability must connect with what people care most about, even if it isn't called that.

Linked to that, I think anyone should learn to avoid the jargon. You must talk in a way that makes it accessible to the majority. The most important thing I do as a sustainability adviser, is translate that for colleagues into something personally meaningful. Whether talking to a customer, a product buyer, or a CEO, I need to speak their language.

 

 

5. What can our delegates expect from your presentation/panel?

You will hear about the challenges and opportunities we have faced as a business in delivery green innovation and some tangible examples of where we have succeeded in bringing Green innovation to the mass market.