30 April 2019
By William Butcher
KLH welcomes William to the team!
Tell us a bit about your background?
I am originally half English and Belgian but consider myself a “world citizen”, having lived in Paris, London and New York. I initially grew up in a small suburban town outside of London which is funny to look back on in comparison to these big metropolises. I feel very blessed to have been able to live in these great cities at such a young age.
After doing an IB diploma in Paris, I decided to study a BA in Human Geography in Montreal, Canada, where I ended up spending almost 6 years (and nearly never moved back!). I then returned to London for my MSc in Sustainable Urbanism at UCL, keen to learn more and specialise in sustainable urban planning.
The summer before moving back to London, I worked on a rooftop farm in New York and interned for the Department of Parks & Rec as an Assistant Sustainability Project Coordinator. Ever since that summer, green infrastructure has become the area of focus I am most interested in and would like my career to revolve around.
Where did you first hear about KLH Sustainability?
Last year I volunteered for the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) as an event management assistant. LETI is a network of over 250 built environment professionals that are working together to put London on the path to a zero-carbon future. The voluntary group is made up of a wide array of urban practitioners such as developers, engineers, architects, planners, housing associations, academics and sustainability professionals.
After finishing my degree at UCL, I began my search for entry-level sustainability positions and interviewed for one of the companies that is involved in LETI, Etude. As it turned out Etude are long-term friends and collaborators of KLH, and it was through this mutual connection that I was kindly introduced to Kirsten.
What made KLH Sustainability stand out for you to work for?
I was instantly attracted to the company when I first looked at their website, becoming increasingly excited as I read through the KLH project pages and news articles. It was immediately obvious that KLH’s whole raison d’être is to focus on purposeful and interesting projects, no matter how large or small.
In addition, the company is comprised of experienced sustainability and regeneration specialists, from whom I can learn immensely from. I have always been keen to work for forward-thinking entrepreneurs and the environment provided at KLH promises to be fast-paced and fulfilling.
What is your current role at KLH Sustainability?
I am joining KLH Sustainability as a Graduate Sustainability Advisor. As a graduate, I will be working on various tasks including research, report writing, collating BREEAM and Home Quality Mark information and attending client meetings with senior team members.
In the spirit of the one team mentality, I will also be tasked with managing KLH’s social media presence, running monthly project management reports and pitching in with the essential administrative tasks to keep the business running smoothly.
This will be my first job in the built environment, so I am tremendously excited to get started.
How do you see yourself going forward within KLH Sustainability?
I really look forward to working with my colleagues and helping them deliver projects while expanding my knowledge in the process. Although learning in an academic environment is great, I am impatient to start working in a professional environment and learn from “real-life” scenarios.
Ultimately, I want to be working in this industry and for KLH for many years to come. I hope to progress quickly to managing my own projects and clients, and of course, working my way up to a senior position!
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is an all-encompassing buzzword which is losing its significance, as more and more companies are simply “green washing” rather than fundamentally changing their business practices.
In my opinion, sustainability is about solving some of the world’s biggest challenges such as poverty, access to education, declining ecology, climate change, to name but a few. I believe sustainability shouldn’t just be about avoiding environmental damage whilst satisfying human needs, but rather be more about “regenerative design”, which is to develop systems that not only mitigate but also restore ecosystems, being beneficial for both humans and other species.
Graduate Sustainability Advisor