A year into the new role of Sustainability Programme Manager, Dominic Knower, explains how idverde is pushing itself to improve its green credentials.
As a green service provider, it might be a given that idverde is a green company itself – and it certainly strives to be. Towards the beginning of last year, the grounds maintenance behemoth created a new role of sustainability programme manager to put environmental impact at the forefront of its work and there was arguably no better person for the job than Dominic Knower.
Boasting a first-class degree in Ecology and Conservation from Manchester Metropolitan University – which idverde sponsored him to undertake whilst he worked part-time in business development – Dominic not only preaches about sustainability, but he also practices it too … “It has to be a way of life, and I’ve been on that journey with my family for quite some years,” says Dominic. “You have to have integrity – I can’t convince three and a half thousand colleagues to be more sustainable if I’m not leading by example. I’ve got lots of personal experience and evidence to back up what I’m championing.”
As sustainability programme manager, Dominic’s primary role is to manage and coordinate the sustainability action plan for idverde in the UK and collaborate with colleagues in France. The Netherlands and Denmark.
“The industry is demanding this – tenders all have sustainability components now. It’s become a core part of the service delivery. The plan allows us to prioritise what we’re going to deal with now. next and at some point in the future. It’s an opportunity to change and shape the business so that it becomes better in every way possible.”
The strategy separates sustainability into three categories – people. planet and performance.
Within people, the plan addresses those on which the company has an impact, so colleagues. clients and communities. Planet looks at the work idverde will do to tackle environmental issues. such as global warming, plastic pollution and resource consumption. Performance links it all together. “It’s about overall company performance, not just financial. So our carbon footprint, employment metrics and community interactions for example are all important components of how we measure sustainability.”
Having worked for idverde since 2013. Dominic is in a great position to review its practices. He first joined as a seasonal grounds maintenance operative on a local authority contract. Within five months Idverde was sponsoring him to undertake a degree, which ended up being a four-year Ecology and Conservation course. For this third-year placement, Dominic supervised a large local authority grounds maintenance contract, coordinating a team of around 20 colleagues.
“I learned all about the operational side to the business which is an experience I continue to revisit and draw from now as I focus on sustainability.” On completing his degree, Dominic received the Environmental Crop Management Award for Highest Overall Average and was promoted to business development manager at idverde a year later before taking on his latest role in the company.
As well as improving idverde’s sustainability, Dominic would like to see a stronger industrywide effort too and a better understanding -he’s calling it a “sustainability literacy”. “People need to understand what it is to live and work sustainably and push the boat out in terms of adopting new technologies and new ways of working; it can be very customer-led, which is too slow. We need radical change.”
It can be an “overwhelming” task, says Dominic, but for idverde’s roadmap he’s trying to prioritise certain issues and build an ongoing plan. It’s a mammoth job, but a role which Dominic is thrilled to have, and one which will undoubtedly make a huge difference.
This article also appears in the March 2021 issue of Pro Landscaper magazine.