The next generation of sustainability professionals have a daunting task ahead of them.
From paving the pathway to renewables, to cutting carbon emissions, to social change, ambitious targets under the UN Sustainable Development Goals make it difficult to grapple with the challenges that lie ahead.
Aspiring sustainability champions are finding solidarity through networking programs such as the GBCA’s Future Green Leaders.
Launched in 2014, it’s been a vehicle for tomorrow’s leaders to come together and share insights and advice with one another. Recently we named WoodSolutions’ Technical Officer, Adam Jones, our Future Green Leader of the Year.
“I’ve made some amazing connections over the years that I’ve been involved in the program and so it’s a great feeling to be in the position of Future Green Leader of the Year” says Adam.
“I’m a structural engineer, so I work in a really niche part of the industry, which is why it’s so important for me to have this opportunity to network with my peers and share ideas.”
Adam lives and breathes sustainability, hosting his own podcast Future of Structures, where he poaches industry experts to unpack deeply complex issues surrounding climate change, technology and the evolution of global markets.
“The podcast has been an incredible opportunity for storytelling with the people in property who are at the forefront of creating change,” explains Adam.
He says that while the podcast has opened doors for him professionally, it serves a deeper purpose.
“For me, having a passion project is so important.
“To have something to chip away at in the background can offer you something to work towards and allows you to challenge your thinking and really build something from the ground up.
“That’s probably the biggest recommendation I have for other young people looking to keep the momentum going – always have a side hustle on the go.”
Adam’s current role at WoodSolutions allows him to delve into an area of green building that’s on the rise in Australia – transitioning to timber in the construction of mid-rise buildings.
This follows his work as a Research Lead for Beyond Zero Emissions, a position he took on top of his previous role at WSP.
“That was probably one of the scariest things I’ve had to do in my career so far; presenting a business case to my managers to demonstrate the importance of undertaking this kind of research,” Adam says.
“Thankfully they were incredibly supportive and I was able to get involved in the Rethinking Cement report, where I discovered the benefits of using timber instead of cement, which contributes to around 8 per cent of global carbon emissions.”
In his role at WoodSolutions, Adam’s able to apply this knowledge in his day-to-day role and he hopes that in his role as Future Green Leader, he can help generate meaningful discussions with young professionals on emerging sustainability solutions.
“I’m thrilled to be this year’s Future Green Leader.
“There’s been a few pivotal points in my career and this is definitely one of them.
“Now it’s time to get stuck in and I can’t wait to work with closely with the GBCA to inspire young professionals in sustainability.”