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Who are you and what do you specialize in?
Pleasure to meet you, my name’s Brendan, and I specialize in environmental consultancy.
Currently, I am working for Environmental Resources Management (ERM) Singapore as a sustainable operations consultant.
How did you come into becoming an environment consultant & why?
Growing up, I always thought I would follow in my parents’ footsteps of being an accountant. However, after reading some accounting material, I quickly realised that it wasn’t for me.
Conversely, in school, Geography was the subject that piqued my interest as it opened my eyes to the beauty of Mother Nature. From the rich biomes teeming with flora and fauna, to the beautiful barren landscapes of deserts and tundras, our beloved Earth has been bestowed with picturesque and unforgettable sights waiting to be discovered. To elaborate on my love for nature, a significant portion of my travels overseas comprises visits to National Parks or serene and pristine locations to hike and stargaze.
However, today we find ourselves in a world devastated by anthropogenic climate change, as we find ourselves in the Anthropocene, a geological epoch where human activities outweigh natural driving forces to alter Mother Earth. For instance, the Great Barrier Reef, regarded as one of the 7 Wonders of the World, is seemingly losing its title with global warming, leading to ocean warming and thereby coral bleaching, as the algae (zooxanthellae) living in the corals are expelled, resulting in the whitening of the corals. Therefore, these beautiful sights are slowly fading into memories of the past. What a travesty for the current and future generations!
What exactly is an environment consultant?
My love for Geography isn’t the sole reason why I find myself here today. My religion (Catholicism) is aligned with my desire to pursue environmental sustainability, as it teaches us that we humans were given dominion over the Earth to be responsible stewards of its resources. This notion was prominent in Laudato Si, a papal encyclical by Pope Francis, who writes about “Care for our Common Home”, which reminds us that Earth is shared by all, not just humans but all other living and non-living things as well, and that we should fulfil our role as responsible caretakers.
Therefore, after graduating with a degree in environmental studies, I decided to embark on a career in environmental consultancy, which provides me with the opportunity to live out my goal of being an environmental steward as I support my clients in their sustainability journey.
What does an environment consultant do, how do you bring impact to the societies/people that you serve?
By bringing my technical expertise (e.g. knowledge of international environmental standards and frameworks like GRI, GRESB and TCFD), I can better weigh in on decisions and make the most informed choice for my clients. This would enable them to meet their targets and goals, and comply with national and international commitments to bring about a sustainable future.
Outside of work, I have previously given sessions to my church’s youth community on environmental stewardship so that they can be responsible caretakers of the Earth in their personal capacity. I also have conducted workshops on terrarium building to grow green fingers among the youth in my church, as well as teaching them how nature, like a terrarium, is self-sustaining.
How can everyday people use this information from your field to help better their lives?
Everyone has a part to play in creating a sustainable present and future for themselves and future generations. With Earth being our common home, the management of its finite resources is shared among all as everyone ultimately has a stake in this enterprise.
If you have yet to embark on your personal sustainability journey, it is never too late. You need not be the next Greta Thunberg, but play your part by making small alterations to your lifestyle. A useful framework to go green is to practice the 5 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot) wherever you can. A sustainable lifestyle today may not be convenient, but trust me when I say that your future will be less convenient if we remain at the status quo.
What projects are you currently working on? / What excites you?
Presently, I am assisting a client with transitioning their manual data collection and validation processes for ESG reporting to a unified digital system. Recently, the ERM team conducted in-person User Acceptance Testing (UAT) with the client to ease them into the new system, as well as collect valuable feedback on how we can improve the system (and the user experience design) to fit their needs.
What do you aspire to do/build as an environment consultant?
I aspire to inculcate the disposition of environmental stewardship in my clients and those around me, and in a broader sense, raise a generation of responsible stewards of our beloved planet so that it can be the most livable and thriving home it can possibly be.
How should people contact you / if they are interested in networking+learning from you?
If you are inspired and would love to connect, feel free to message me on LinkedIn!
Want to read other stories like this? Check out Karl Png’s story here as a researcher.