Darren Holman

In 2008, I took the decision to leave my job of eight years working as a project manager for a large UK energy supplier to study for an MSc in Environmental Consultancy.  At this time, my main motivation was to obtain the knowledge and experience necessary to allow me to pursue an alternative career direction, focusing on the fields of CSR and sustainability.

I spent a considerable amount of time researching masters courses and felt that, as a mature student, the MSc at Leeds provided exactly what I was looking for – that is, an academic grounding in sustainability and CSR issues, thorough training in environmental consultancy and project management, and an opportunity apply my newly learnt skills to a practical project within a business setting.

The course provided plenty of opportunities to learn from professional consultants and other students.  It was also possible (and helpful) to relate my personal experience of an industry coming to terms with the challenges of sustainability to a wider and more sophisticated understanding of the relationship between business and society.

For my dissertation, I developed a CSR strategy for a professional financial services firm with over 7,500 employees and offices in 33 countries.  The project focused on demonstrating the ‘business case’ for tackling environmental and social issues of material significance to the company.

Following my graduation, I joined Business in the Community (BITC) as the manager of their annual Corporate Responsibility (CR) Index, where my primary responsibility was to deliver the 2009 CR Index survey and ranking.  This was published in the Financial Times in June 2010.   My role also allowed me to work closely with the charity’s members, many of whom are FTSE 100 companies, on sustainability and CSR advisory projects.

In September 2010, I left BITC to start a new role at Total Gas & Power, working as their Energy Services Manager.  My current focus is on developing a strategic response to new and emerging Government legislation designed to improve energy efficiency, promote renewable and low carbon technologies, and reduce carbon emissions.  This is providing an exciting opportunity to develop a range of products and services underpinned by sustainability and CSR principles.