“Being a member of an organisation like the IoD is a bit like gym membership; you only get out what you put in” Andrew Griffiths, Director of Policy and Partnerships, Planet Mark
Andrew Griffiths is a walking advertisement for the benefits of IoD membership. Having joined as a student, he threw himself into volunteering roles. He credits his fast track career to his network of IoD contacts and is currently chair of our National Sustainability Taskforce as well as an IoD Council member.
I wouldn’t have met the CEO of Planet Mark and I wouldn’t have gained the leadership skills I need to do my current job. Not everyone is lucky enough to be born into a network of useful connections. The IoD can fill this gap by giving you access to an incredible range of people from all kinds of backgrounds with many different skills.
Being a member of an organisation like the IoD is a bit like gym membership; you only get out what you put in. As a young person with no ties in the early stages of my career I had a lot of free time and I quickly recognised the opportunities. I got involved in the Young Directors Forum (YDF) as a student mentor and my willingness to learn soon got me onto the YDF Committee and then onto the Central London Committee. I like to be hands-on and quite soon after joining I was directly involved in organising around 15-20 in-person events per year. It was a steep learning curve, but I learned a lot more than event organising.
When you are talking to experienced people, you are constantly picking up career tips and advice – you’re learning vicariously. It’s also a great way to form an interesting social life and I have made a lot of friends through the IoD. I began to build myself a reputation as someone who could be relied upon and who could demonstrate leadership in delivering projects. People I interacted with developed a sense of what I was about, something which can’t easily be conveyed on a CV – certainly not when you are just starting your career.
The connections I made have accelerated my career and led to direct business opportunities. The reputation of the IoD is second to none and my involvement gives me an edge. My role with Planet Mark provides great synergies with the IoD. Planet Mark works with organisations to both certify their carbon footprint and to help reduce it. It offers a mark of progress. We have been working in partnership with the IoD on sustainability for many years in a mutually beneficial relationship.
I am pleased to be able to bring some of this ESG know-how to the IoD Sustainability Taskforce. We act as a ‘critical friend and ally’ to the organisation, ensuring its sustainability strategy is strong and that it can ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’. The Sustainability Taskforce is also on hand to support members. We provide advice and practical resources via the Sustainability Hub, influence content for the IoD Academy and engage with the branches and regions to encourage our sustainability ambassadors.
It can be hard to know where to begin when developing sustainability policy, especially if you are small or medium-sized business. We recommend establishing a base line to measure where you are now; whether that might be your organisation’s carbon footprint or its impact on biodiversity. Once you have your starting point you can fix targets to set a direction of travel. Companies should treat sustainability like any other business imperative; make a plan and then follow it.
To kickstart your sustainability journey and learn more about the IoD Sustainability Taskforce, visit our Sustainable Business Hub.