Alumnus Dr Anthony Hyde (ARCADIS Director) gained his PhD on 'The Flow Properties of Filamentous Fermentation' back in 1990 under the supervision of Dr John Dennis and Dr David Scott. He has got 18 years high-level experience in consulting for Arthur D. Little in the energy and transport sector as well as international pharmaceutical companies.
He came back to visit the Department on 24 November 2011 and gave a very interesting talk on "Delivering Sustainable Development" as part of the Alumni Speaker Series.
He started off by defining what 'sustainability' is and he went onto explaining how the principles of sustainable development help companies deliver improved profit and gain a competitive advantage. However, he highlighted two challenges to overcome: understanding what sustainable development is and turning the concepts into actions. Finally, he highlighted how important good engineers with great communication skills are in this process.
Companies have realised how important it is to think about the implications of their operating processes to the point that some would consider it to be a clear corporate goal in order to operate globally. 80% companies now believe Sustainability to be a source of business value. This increase has been influenced by the rise in pressure groups.
He added that sustainable development (SD) is about balancing the factors of economic growth, environmental quality and social well-being. The social dimension is the most important and the engineers understanding the effect of business operations on society and able to communicate this through impact assessments are in a very powerful position. SD would drive efficiency in new innovation and bring new business opportunities as well as strengthening relationships with stakeholders by managing and meeting their expectations well.
The social-environmental issues also need to be tackled in a professional manner as 'once-localised reputation issues can jeopardise an organisation's license to operate globally' therefore losing credibility in the market and leading to a loss of business.
He mentioned that in order to ensure a long-term future as a leading edge company a sustainable approach would need to be taken. He finally stressed that resources such as talented engineers are key to make innovation happen in a sustainable manner.