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Thomson Environmental Consultants appoints new COO

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Thomson Environmental Consultants appoint former Environment Agency COO

UK’s leading environmental consultancy, Thomson Environmental Consultants, has confirmed the appointment of a new CEO/Chief Operating Officer to shape the firm’s future strategy.

Lucy Hunt, former Chief Operating Officer at Environment Agency, has joined the leading environmental consultancy as their new Chief Operating Officer (COO/CEO). She will work closely with founder, Nancy Thomson, leading and managing all business areas, coordinating key business functions, and balancing the needs of the environment with the needs of customers and its employees.

Nancy Thomson, founder of Thomson Environmental Consultants, said: “Our trajectory is steep upwards. As demands for environmental and ecological services continue to grow, we will continue growing our senior leadership team with talented and passionate industry leaders.

“Lucy is a talented and highly capable leader with a strong track record of driving exceptional performance and business excellence. She will bring energy, innovation, and dedication to scaling up the business and delivering the expanding breadth of requirements. All the while ensuring the company’s long legacy of high-quality service and mission to deliver value for clients is preserved.”

Lucy Hunt commented on the appointment: “Why Thomson? Who wouldn’t want to work with a company whose purpose is to deliver excellent project outcomes with positive environmental impact, enabling businesses and nature to thrive together?

“Combined with the quality and expertise of the dedicated individuals at Thomson who embody company values of respect, integrity, support, and excellence – being a part of this team is truly rewarding.”

“Why I chose Thomson? Because green equals growth – enabling business and nature to thrive together”

I’m thrilled to have joined Thomson Environmental Consultants as their new Chief Operating Officer (COO) and to be given the chance to write my first blog. I thought long and hard about what I want to write about and landed on the main reason I decided to join this fantastic company: my belief that, if managed correctly, business and the environment can help each other to flourish.

About me

But first, a bit about me. I started my career for the first fifteen years in Tesco, a place where I learned the fundamentals of running a successful business, whether that be leading people, operational delivery, customer service, sound financial management, effective communications, building partnerships, complying with regulations, or managing reputation.

I then made a career change to follow my passion for nature and climate and moved to the public sector working for the Environment Agency for fourteen years, in several senior roles, including as Chief Operating Officer. As well as giving me the opportunity to further hone my business skills in this 12,000-person organisation, I have grown my understanding of the environment, the interdependency with business, the pressures such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, how to effect environmental change, and understanding what people really care about when it comes to managing their environment.

Why Thomson?

So why the move to Thomson? As much as I loved my career at the Environment Agency, I have always been a big believer in the power of the private sector and its potential to be a force for environmental good. The scale of the resources, pace of change, ability to drive innovation and investment, and forward-thinking nature of the private sector is unmatched. If I can help harness the power of business to enhance the environment I love, as Thomson do every day, then that seems like a pretty good reason to get out of bed every morning.

But what really motivates me is also the other side of the coin: the opportunities that sound environmental protection can bring to business. All too often caring about green issues is framed as being in direct contrast to growing profits. It is quite the opposite to my experience. Let me explain what I mean using the three ‘Rs’ of the business-environment relationship.

Risk

Firstly, Risk. Let’s face the facts: climate change is here, and it is getting worse, environmental degradation is negatively affecting communities up and down the country, and biodiversity loss is threating the flora and fauna that we appreciate every day. Apart from being devastating on a human and moral level, this is potentially terrible for business.

Most companies, particularly in the insurance industry, are now placing climate change as their number one risk to profits and business continuity. Extreme heat is melting railways lines and roads, more extreme weather and flooding is damaging infrastructure, and workforces will not be productive if their lives and livelihoods are constantly being threatened by a changing climate. Furthermore, a degraded environment means the resources we all depend on are at risk, our supply chains will metaphorically (and in some cases, literally) be firefighting ever-increasing environmental issues, and our workplaces and services will become unattractive: whether that’s due to the air we breathe, the water we drink or what our clients or employees see when they look outside our windows. For all these reasons, a business who says “No” to the environment is saying “Yes” to shooting itself in the foot.

However, with the right advice risks can be avoided, reduced, or mitigated. Thomson offers expertise in all ecosystems from the bottom of the sea to the tops of mountains and understands the complexity of environmental regulation. Business needs a one stop shop to work with to help mitigate environmental risk and with services in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecology, hydrology, marine laboratory services, habitat creation and management, geospatial data management and mapping, arboriculture and climate change and sustainability Thomson can provide that.

Thomson works in partnership with clients to help companies manage these risks whilst protecting and enhancing the environment in a way that is cost effective, good for the workforce, good for the client, and, above all, good for business. This allows the company to focus on the things they care for and are expert in, rather than spending all their time and money fighting the consequences that ignoring the environment can bring.

Thomson is committed to excellence, in fact it’s one of our core values, we can help you manage even the most challenging of projects and in doing so help you mitigate environmental risk.

Reputation

Secondly, Reputation. The Office for National Statistics recently placed the environment as the fourth most important issue to the British Public, just after the cost-of-living crisis, the NHS and the economy.[1] They also report that 86% of adults in Great Britain have made some changes to their lifestyle to help tackle environmental issues.[2] No matter who they are, it is clear that people really care about the environment, and they want to know that the businesses they support and work in  care too. And for this reason, we see time and time again that environmental credentials can make or break a company in the public’s eye, including through the exposure of greenwashing, as well as being critical to whether they can attract the best and brightest talent into their workforce.

Thomson profoundly understand this, and I’m excited to be part of an organisation which holds integrity as one of their core values, meaning we can provide cost-effective environmental solutions for companies to give them something that they can proudly boast about to their customers and workforce, and give their reputation a big boost at the same time.

Reward

Finally, I believe that protecting the environment ultimately leads to Reward. In other words, building and delivering your business in an environmentally friendly way from day one will make you more money in the long run. That’s because innovative, climate-resilient technologies and approaches are more efficient; environmentally friendly processes and methods lead to greater demand and position you one step ahead of green regulations; and climate-resilient, environmentally conscious businesses attract more investment and enhanced shareholder value. In summary, Green = Growth.

Businesses know this, and as a result there’s a changing marketplace for environmental consulting. Demand within the sector is now outstripping the supply of professional consultants. Large infrastructure projects, as well as the burgeoning growth in green infrastructure schemes, (wind / solar / hydrogen) are sucking in huge numbers of surveyors and other green professionals because of the scale of the projects and the opportunities available by making them as environmentally friendly as possible.

These schemes have long programmes and are resourcing well in advance. That means that as other schemes come online, they are competing for a much-reduced pool of expert environmental advice. It is therefore even more imperative to consider environmental requirements in the very earliest stages of a scheme. The greater the lead-in time, the more likelihood that resources can be secured, environmental risks can be mitigated, and green opportunities can be maximised.

So why do I feel like Thomson are the best in the business for managing this changing landscape of environmental consulting? Well, we (they!) have built our reputation on balancing clients’ objectives alongside our responsibility to the environment. We work with clients to compliance and beyond.  Our approach to resourcing and ability to generate large survey and mitigation teams sets us apart from competitors. Engaging with Thomson early allows us to scale-up to meet project requirements and ensure that resources are delivered without interruption. As projects inevitably change and the scope of requirements grow, we work tirelessly with clients to achieve resourcing and keep projects on track. And as the demand for maximising green opportunities grows, so does our expertise and willingness to help you discover what those are.

I chose Thomson, and so should you

So, in conclusion, I chose Thomson not just because we help companies operate within the law, which of course our talented team of experts do with the upmost professionalism, but because I see that this organisation presents countless opportunities for businesses to help the environment and vice versa, and all in a client-friendly, cost-effective way.

The values Thomson promote: respect, integrity, support and excellence, really resonate with me and provide a sound foundation for a productive business relationship with clients. We don’t just provide a service, but we work with clients to truly understand their needs and help them find the opportunities to drive broader innovative improvements, which in turn drive environmental improvement and higher profits.

We are brilliantly pragmatic, customer-focussed, and excellence-driven and that’s why I think we’re the best in the business. Thomson have certainly proven themselves to me – why not let them prove themselves to you too.

About Thomson Environmental Consultants

First established in 2004, Thomson Environmental Consultants is one of the UK’s leading independent environmental consultancies supporting various businesses to comply with environmental legislation. The company have in-house expertise in terrestrial ecology, marine services, freshwater ecology, marine laboratory services, habitat management, geospatial data management, arboriculture contracting, and landscape architecture.

Having scaled up resources to match the growing breadth of requirements, the expanding consultancy has hired over 50 new team members this year alone. The new hires will support and facilitate the ongoing and anticipated growth, addressing the increasing demand for environmental and ecological services across various sectors.

The consultancy has recently expanded its base locations to cover Manchester and East Anglia. This adds to the Guildford, Cardiff, Birmingham and Leeds offices.

Thomson is always open to talented people with ambition, drive and enthusiasm to develop and learn. Whether you are a graduate looking for a first career or a seasoned ecologist, marine scientist, or looking for a career change, please visit: www.thomsonec.com/about/careers/

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/bulletins/publicopinionsandsocialtrendsgreatbritain/14to25june2023

[2]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/mostadultsreportmakingsomechangestotheirlifestyleforenvironmentalreasons/2023-07-05