Durrell Women: Rachel Hughes - Partnership Officer
How long have you worked at Durrell and what does your job involve?
I have worked at Durrell for a year and a half, and my role is to develop our new carbon offsetting programme, Rewild Carbon.
What did you do before coming to work at Durrell?
I studied biology at Oxford and have had a career in the field of sustainability for 16 years – first in a management consultancy, then for an environmental charity leading their sustainability courses out in the wild, and then managing climate change strategy for a big oil and gas company. I’m lucky to have worked on sustainability from so many different viewpoints and places – whether in the boardroom or in a tent waking up to hippos outside the door! I also run my own photography business, Rachel Hughes Photography, in my 'spare' time! I have a huge passion for nature and creating solutions to protect it.
What were some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your career so far, and how did you overcome them?
Demonstrating the value of sustainability with corporates that are interested in short-term gains. The key is to understand their motivations, and sometimes not even mention the word sustainability or climate. For example, instead talk about cost cutting measures, efficiency and quick wins to demonstrate how it can add value. Sustainability can feel quite overwhelming to many corporates, so the key is to start small and demonstrate how it can work. When it does work, it's brilliant for the environment AND the business.
What advice would you give to others thinking of pursuing a similar role?
I've found it very beneficial to work for a mix of sectors in sustainability, whether the charity sector (who are passionate about making a difference and whose work will capture your heart), the consultancy sector (who can create solutions), or the corporate sector (who have huge potential to make an impact if done right). It means I have learnt how to collaborate well with all parties to put in place plans that benefit all.
Posted 10 March 2021