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Homepage / Sustainability by royal request: Managing an event fit for a King

Sustainability by royal request: Managing an event fit for a King


The Coronation of King Charles III on May 6th 2023, was watched by millions of people around the world with tens of thousands of people travelling to Central London to witness the pageantry firsthand.

Behind the scenes, Lucy Fisher and her team were working hard to contribute to a once-in-a-generation event that the King himself had requested be as sustainable as possible. For Lucy – Operations Director for the UK’s largest horticultural company, idverde, it came as a valuable opportunity to put into practice the skills gained through her studying for Cranfield’s Sustainability MSc.

Lucy said, “idverde works with a number of high-profile clients including The Royal Parks, The Royal Households and the Houses of Parliament.  We carry out a wide range of works from cutting the grass and weeding shrub beds, to collecting litter and emptying the bins.

“The business environment over the last few years has been quite challenging and Covid in particular affected us greatly as we had more people than ever visiting the parks and generating waste for us to collect.”

Keen to pursue sustainability as a means to deliver services in a more nature positive way and operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, idverde sponsored Lucy to undertake the Sustainability MSc at Cranfield University.

Designed in consultation with the industry, the part-time Sustainability MSc programme 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.  Participation in the course may be part-funded by eligible employers’ apprenticeship levy payments.

Lucy said: “Sustainability is a top priority for all our customers, and they absolutely need our help with it. The course has helped me to understand the nuts and bolts of sustainability and to become a better operator, applying the learning in a very practical way.

“I can now talk competently and credibly around sustainability, and that proved invaluable just three months into the course when the King’s Coronation took place.”

“I received a directive from The Royal Parks who had been informed by the palace that the King wanted this to be a sustainable event,” she remembers. “They wanted to know if there was anything idverde could do to contribute to this.  This was just six weeks before the event was due to take place.

“I was determined to seize the opportunity and put my learning into practice, so I established a Sustainability Project Team and a Sustainability Action Plan for us to follow.”

“We made a conscious decision to train all 300 staff that would be working with us over the period on climate change and biodiversity loss,” she continued. “We really wanted to make sure people understood why we were asking them to do things in a certain way, but also equip them with some knowledge that they could go away with and continue to use.

“We used biodegradable refuse bags and had a plan for segregating all the recycling from the general waste in the middle of a very busy and what turned out to be quite a wet event.

“We also kept really precise stock levels so that we were confident that we hadn’t over-purchased & were reusing where possible any leftover stock from the Queen’s funeral a few months earlier.  We also bought individual uniform sizes for each of the agency staff who would join us on the day to avoid any wastage.”

Following The Coronation, Lucy hosted idverde’s first Sustainability Workshop with the aim of making sustainability ‘business-as-usual’.

“We reviewed our largest environmental impacts and then came up with ideas on how to make each part of our operations more sustainable in a fully measurable and tangible way,” she said. “By the end of the second day, we had a specific Sustainability Action Plan for each of the Royal Parks, which we are now preparing to present to their park management teams.”

Lucy is in no doubt that her Sustainability MSc studies at Cranfield University have been a catalyst for real change at idverde.

“There was a time when I thought perhaps the business wasn’t quite ready for the sustainability journey,” she said. “But, I’ve seen first-hand how an organisation can begin to change if you make the commercial arguments loud and clear.”

The Sustainability MSc 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.

To find out more about the 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

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