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How the Chartered Environmentalist qualification shaped my future

04 June 2021

To mark World Environment Day (5 June), one member shares how qualifying as a CEnv has reinforced her low carbon expertise. 

How the Chartered Environmentalist qualification shaped my future
Dr Kat Ibbotson shares how having a Chartered Environmentalist qualification cements her expertise

Becoming a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) early in my career was in part because I had a degree in International Disaster Engineering Management which didn’t quite fit the ‘engineering’ requirements for chartership (although now does!).

So at that time, gaining CEnv via CIWEM (the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management) became my chosen route.

To make this a reality I had to draw out and provide credible examples as to how my work within the Environment Agency, as an area senior user for flood and coastal risk management construction projects, fitted the requirements - and I can say I found many.

Become a Chartered Environmentalist

ICE is licenced by the Society for the Environment to award Chartered Environmentalist qualification. Find out more about becoming a Chartered Environmentalist with ICE and be recognised for your environmentalist expertise.

How I demonstrated my experience as an environmentalist

I utilised as my project example Rosset Flood Alleviation Scheme, primarily a sheet piled wall, but also focused on the use of rock groynes (to produce pools), coir matting to increase sedimentation, and tree planting along the river corridor.

The phasing of works to support local businesses, minimising disruption and pollution risks, while also ensuring that opportunities to utilise existing defences could be maximised, with setback measures reducing material requirements, were also significant.

CEnv reinforced my core values

Going through the CEnv process for me was enlightening. By drawing out what actually was important to me, it wasn’t just a report to complete with evidence for competencies – I was able to link these to mainstream construction delivery in a way that highlighted the importance and relevance of sustainability and environment in my work.

Becoming a CEnv shaped my future career, being part of Society of Environment opened up other opportunities to focus more on sustainability and carbon, not only to support my CPD but also to develop and reinforce my core values. To know what is important to me as an individual and a working professional.

My passion and career is now focused on carbon reduction within infrastructure, having championed carbon reduction within project delivery, whole-life carbon quantification, alignment to cost estimating, benchmarking and improved standards.

You can learn more about my work and research from The Cost of Carbon Podcast.

How CEnv shaped my career and boosts my network

I can say that being a CEnv has provided the opportunity to bring forward important environmental and sustainability requirements into everyday conversation, to promote and prioritise these alongside other project level objectives.

It also shaped my PhD studies and my current role as net zero carbon programme manager for Infrastructure within the Environment Agency and as chair of Workstream 1 for ICE's Carbon Project.

Being a CEnv working within construction and engineering I believe provides me with a broader perspective and ability to make connections across disciplines and roles, that I may not have been enlightened to before, and I would recommend others take a CEnv route.

  • Dr. Kat Ibbotson, director of strategic advisory at WSP in the UK