Interview with Dax Lovegrove, Director of Sustainability & Innovation at Kingfisher
As part of our series of Global Sustainability Leader Interviews, ALLEN & YORK were delighted to interview, Dax Lovegrove, Director of Sustainability & Innovation at Kingfisher about how he became involved in Sustainability and what he believes are the upcoming trends within sustainability careers.
Who or what inspired you to go into a career in sustainability?
Safari in southern Africa in my late teens alerted me to the plight of the Black Rhino and other endangered species and got me on to other social and environmental issues. I later worked for a consultancy representing companies at the 2002 Sustainability Summit in Johannesburg.
This led me back to University to obtain my Masters in Sustainable Development, which gave me a good grounding in participatory development alongside environmental management.
After this, an exciting decade at WWF, working alongside highly driven specialists where my focus was encouraging companies to go with restorative and innovative commitments. I have now returned to the private sector to continue in these areas of focus in my sustainability and innovation role at Kingfisher.
What key advice would you give to someone looking to enter a career in sustainability now?
Working in private and NGO sectors has served me well in getting to grips with critical issues and players and I recommend this approach to gain a rounded understanding of sustainability. It has exposed me to healthy doses of both ambition and realism.
What are going to be the biggest challenges for sustainability in the next 5-10 years?
Keeping pace with fast moving times is the test. We continue to face global challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity, economic inequality and youth unemployment and social trends such as digitisation, urbanisation, dispersed power generation, the sharing economy and the maker movement.
Making sense of this complexity, picking out the most relevant developments to engage on and supporting organisations in moving out of incremental change and into making fundamentals shifts that align with a smarter economy in future will ensure sustainability plays a more central role.
What skills will be in most demand in the sustainability sector in the next 5-10 years?
This area requires a combination of good knowledge and practical skills. It needs either strong strategists and tacticians to engage colleagues and get organisations moving with the times or it needs specialists that can bring expertise to help strengthen and deepen key sustainability practices.