People, planet, possibility: CIWEM launches new corporate strategy

Energy & Climate Change, Flooding, Management & Regulation, Natural Environment, Processed Water, Water Resources

CIWEM’s new strategy puts environmental professionals front and centre, recognizing that the sector needs more people with the right skills to be able to deliver high-quality solutions to the climate and nature crisis.

A year-and-a-half into what many have called the ‘decade for action’, it is all-too apparent that the pace of action is likely to be the biggest challenge to progress.

Converting high-level global and national targets into workable policies and programmes has been identified as a critical bottleneck on the journey to net zero and nature recovery. But the skills gap to deliver them is also a mounting challenge. Already skills shortages are holding back a plethora of projects across our sector, not to mention the wider economy.


CIWEM’s new strategy sets a vision for the Institution’s role in easing this capacity crunch::

A world in which professionalism and excellence build connections to inspire widespread, impactful water and environmental solutions.

The thesis is simple according to Terry Fuller, CIWEM’s Chief Executive. “We know what has to be done and we know what good looks like. Our members are out there delivering low-carbon schemes which use nature-based solutions widely to achieve multiple benefits for climate, nature and people. As a multi-disciplinary profession this comes naturally. What we’re struggling with is meeting the growing demand for this.”

Fuller explains that as the window for timely action rapidly closes, building and mobilizing the skills-base needed to roll-out all manner of effective water and environmental schemes at a fast pace is a massive challenge.

“When those targets do end up being translated into a raft of policy, governments are going to want to see them delivered in record time because we no longer have the luxury of taking it slowly. And as we’re faced with ever-more extreme weather that point is rapidly approaching because if it’s not already, this climate and nature crisis is soon going to top the agenda for voters. Governments and taxpayers are going to need to know that big investments can deliver results.”

Goals and enabling principles

CIWEM has set out three overarching goals for the coming years:

  • Equipping people at every stage of their career with the latest knowledge and skills.
  • Advancing excellence and professionalism to ensure the best solutions and outcomes.
  • Connecting complex environmental challenges to ensure solutions are effective and deliver widespread benefits and opportunities.

So how are CIWEM going to deliver on this ambition and direction?

Starting with a wholesale update of the Institution’s digital infrastructure, the emphasis is on making knowledge-sharing as accessible as possible across the breadth of CIWEM’s membership. This will be underpinned by a more detailed understanding of what members – and wider audiences – want and need. Using this knowledge and information to connect people as widely as possible, showcasing the art of the possible and inspiring demand for solutions with as wide a range of benefits as possible is the aim.

A strong drive behind diversity and inclusion, to make water and environmental management an attractive career path to choose, advance and thrive in is key. Playing to its recognized multi-disciplinary strengths and putting these alongside genuine passion in a more authentic brand is also proposed as an important enabler, backed up by a more creative, content-focused approach.

CIWEM has an eye on its long-term sustainability, recognizing that it needs to be commercially savvy in order to be able to invest as much as possible in its charitable activities – particularly raising awareness and helping support environmental best practice in an age when demand for this has never been greater.

If CIWEM’s new strategy has one key message it is this: we won’t get the solutions we need without people armed with the right knowledge and skills.

As Fuller says, “it’s all too easy to get despondent about the state of the planet and prospects for the future but we have many members who are quite literally building a brighter future. Our job at CIWEM is to demonstrate that this can be done at scale, and to build-up the skills-base to allow that to happen as quickly as possible.”

People-planet-possibility will be officially launched at CIWEM’s Annual General Meeting on 2nd August 2002 and can be read here.

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