As part of our ongoing interview series with those doing great work in the employee wellbeing space, we spoke to David Sheridan, founder of work2050 and our lead consultant for our Sustainable Living and Wellbeing offering.
SWW: Tell us more about the work2050 initative you’ve set up. How did it get started and why is it important to you?
DS: work2050 provides environmental training to individuals who want to understand climate change; the science of how it’s happened, what the social impacts are here and globally (now and in the future) and how we as individuals have the agency to take actions, at home and at work, that will be meaningful.
Our Carbon Literacy Training comprises a full day’s worth of training, with people who successfully complete it receiving a certificate to demonstrate their knowledge, issued by the UN-recognised Carbon Literacy Project.
It’s important to me because climate change and its implications represents humanity’s biggest challenge. It can feel daunting, but another way to look at it is we have the opportunity to educate ourselves and to act for the benefit of our children and future generations, by creating a more liveable, sustainable environment.
SWW: If you had to give one piece of advice to companies about what they could do to become sustainable, what would it be?
DS: Companies need to offer education to every individual within the organisation on sustainability and how they can help create a low carbon, and ultimately net zero, world. It’s essential for employees’ wellbeing to see their personal beliefs reflected by company actions, and provides a range of benefits to employers too; including higher staff retention, morale and significantly better business results.
SWW: The Wellbeing and Sustainability webinar you deliver for Shine WW is always well received. What is your favourite piece of advice / insight from it?
DS: My favourite insight is that people are extremely enthusiastic and optimistic when presented with practical ways to come together and take action. A major impediment to action is simply knowing where to start, which in turn often comes from having a lack of time. So if you can help people start thinking about the types of opportunities and how they could be achieved within work (such as through creating a ‘Green Team’), it develops a sense of agency and empowerment they quickly map to their own situations and experiences.
SWW: As the father of three children, is sustainable living something you discuss with them? How do you practice sustainability outside of work?
DS: I try to discuss the world and the impact our actions have on it, without introducing any negativity. It’s easy to make the case for the benefits of healthier eating and diets, more exercise, cleaner air, etc, and so I try to practice sustainability through related family activities like growing vegetables in the garden, substituting short car journeys for walks and by being mindful of what we’re buying and where it’s come from – the idea of ‘conscious consumption’.
SWW: When it comes to sustainability and your own wellbeing, what actions and activities do you undertake?
DS: Especially since the pandemic, I’ve become more attuned to my need to spend time outdoors, both for the physical exercise benefits but also for the calm it brings. Going for daily walks, in the countryside when possible, is part of the routine I need to feel energised. It’s also the perfect surroundings for considering why working towards a sustainable earth liveable for future generations is so important.
For more information on work2050, including its Carbon Literacy Training courses, visit work2050.co.uk. And for more info on the webinars David has been presenting for us exploring Sustainability and Wellbeing, click here.