Discover our blogs

Aerospace | Cranfield University


Agrifood | Cranfield University


Alumni | Cranfield University


Careers | Cranfield University


Careers | Cranfield University

Defence and Security

Design | Cranfield University


Energy and Power | Cranfield University

Energy and Sustainability

Environment | Cranfield University


Forensics | Cranfield University


Libraries | Cranfield University


Libraries | Cranfield University

Manufacturing and Materials

Libraries | Cranfield University

School of Management

Libraries | Cranfield University

Transport Systems

Water | Cranfield University


Homepage / Finding your tribe: “Joining the sustainability community was the best decision”

Finding your tribe: “Joining the sustainability community was the best decision”


For students on Cranfield’s Sustainability Business Specialist Apprenticeship, community and camaraderie is a vital component for success.

Designed in consultation with industry, the part-time Level 7 apprenticeship aims to deepen participants’ knowledge of the theory and practice of organisational sustainability and help them build the personal competencies needed to lead and manage change towards improved sustainability performance.

That change requires the cooperation of others, be they colleagues, clients, suppliers or other stakeholders. Fortunately, for Nicola Coles, Phorum Director at pharmaceuticals network BioPhorum, it has been a case of pushing on an open door.

She said: “When it comes to sustainability, pharma as a sector is relatively on the starting blocks, but what is fantastic is that we have the brains and capital to advance pretty quickly.

“In the past few years, the industry has really gained an imperative and put out a call to action. There’s been this recognition that the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare sector face a dichotomy whereby in the pursuit of improving global health, we are actually driving emissions into the system that contribute to climate change that deteriorates those impacts.

“Together with our members, we’ve been looking at how we can improve product carbon footprint data to increase the transparency of the environmental impact right through the value chain.”

The Sustainability Business Specialist Apprenticeship incorporates a Sustainability MSc and equips participants with professional recognitions as a Registered Environmental Practitioner and either Practitioner Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) or Chartered Environmentalist, depending on their level of experience prior to attending the course.

The course is primarily delivered online, with participants coming together annually for a three-day residential at Cranfield where they also get the chance to hear from previous and current students about their successes at work.

Speaking at one such residential, Nicola told her peers: “We’ve launched pieces of work to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions within licence holders’ own operations and are looking at what we can do in the supply chain to reduce emissions from distribution.

“Finally, we’ve also been looking at designing for circularity, which is a huge challenge for our industry.

“What’s been so refreshing is how helpful everyone has been. I’ve just opened up to people about what we are trying to achieve and asked for their help, and the vast majority of people have provided it, which is so refreshing. I could not have found a more supportive community than those of us who are working together on achieving sustainability in business.”

Read Nicola’s full story here: Why I chose the Sustainability Business Specialist Apprenticeship

To find out more about the Sustainability Business Specialist Apprenticeship (with Sustainability MSc) at Cranfield University, you can book a one-to-one meeting with a member of our team here or reach out via email.

Cranfield School of Management

Written By: Hayley Rook

Categories & Tags:

Leave a comment on this post:

Sign up for more information about studying master’s and research degrees at Cranfield

Sign up now
Go to Top