A sustainable future for the West Midlands
Having been selected to join Sustainability West Midlands as a board director, James Willcox, our head of sustainability in the Midlands, talks about how it will enable him to further promote sustainable development.
Earlier this month I was delighted to receive confirmation that I had been selected to join Sustainability West Midlands (SWM) as a board director following a competitive selection process. This gives me an opportunity over the next three years’ to directly influence policy and sustainability strategy within the region, as well as developing my own skills in respect of strategic awareness and business operation. Having worked in the West Midlands for over 10 years and with Willmott Dixon recently being awarded its second Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of Sustainable Development, now is perfect timing and I hope I have a lot to offer.
Sustainability West Midlands
SWM is the sustainability champion for the region as designated by government. Its main aim is to “communicate, promote and advocate sustainable development or sustainability in all its forms.” Its board is private sector led with cross-sector representation and is supported by a team of staff and associates. Members include Aston University, Business in the Community, Coventry City Council, Coventry University, Keele University, University of Warwick, University of Birmingham, Rooftop Housing Group and West Midlands Housing Group.
During my time with SWM, I will be establishing and developing connections through leadership, policy and good governance. Good leadership is important to me; as such, I am looking forward to the opportunity to influence and support member organisations with their sustainability goals, as well as identifying and securing new resources and opportunities for the delivery of SWM’s business plan. Around policy, I am looking to pool my own knowledge with that of the wider board, its stakeholders and networks to develop and monitor delivery of the business plan and inform continuous improvement. Around governance, I expect to be involved in ensuring that clear processes and procedures are followed, including HR, Companies House and company law requirements. In addition, there is a need to ensure appropriate financial systems are maintained to reflect good practice.
Shaping the future
My ambition through this appointment is that I can take a more active role in shaping the future of sustainable development in the West Midlands, supporting other leaders and sustainability professionals to develop practical solutions to challenges and enhance opportunities by sharing the valuable sustainability knowledge Willmott Dixon has gained through the years. The values of SWM, being business led; creative and positive and respectful, are ones that I personally believe in and am excited to support. The organisation is also committed to developing its people and this position gives me the opportunity to continue my professional development and bring back new ideas and insights to our company.
My first duty was to attend their board meeting last week, where I have began to get to grips with the role and I’m excited to get stuck in and make a positive contribution!