May 26, 2022

Laura Turner placement – Small World Consulting


Name: Laura Turner

Placement host: Small World Consulting (SWC)

Small World Consultingv (SWC), a ground-breaking sustainability consultancy led by Professor Mike Berners-Lee, expert in carbon footprinting. Based at Lancaster University the team brings together environmental and business expertise, to enable strategic and value enhancing responses to climate change. SWC research carbon assessment methods and develop tools and techniques for supply chain carbon accounting and management and work with multi-national companies, small, medium and large enterprise, public and not for profit organisations on challenging reduction plans.

Small World Consulting (SWC) was formed in response to the climate change emergency we currently are experiencing. SWC encourage change in three ways: Research, helping organisations to lead change, and communication.

Working as part of a team on a variety of projects with regular meetings was a refreshing change from lone-working and really helped my productivity during the lockdown, even though I was still working online. The placement allowed me to reconnect with practical sustainability and advocacy, which was a huge part of my undergraduate experience, in a new way, which I hadn’t had the opportunity to do elsewhere in my PhD research. This was really rewarding.

Knowledge and experience gained:

I gained knowledge and appreciation of the business perspective on sustainability.

I gained experience and knowledge communicating for a variety of audiences, including business leaders, financial asset managers, landowners, newspaper audiences, non-specific audiences/ the general public and other stakeholders for various projects.

I also developed critical analysis and data management and analysis skills, including using excel for data analysis and manipulation and using GIS.

The placement has given me a great insight into working in a consulting firm, the different workplace environment and expectations, particularly for conducting research for non-academic purposes and the importance of communication with different audiences. I also developed analytical skills which will directly benefit my PhD and any career requiring data analysis.

Working on land use change decisions has relied on and developed my ecological knowledge in a context different from but related to my PhD topic. The analytical and GIS skills gained will directly relate to my own data analysis.

Much of the work completed for my placement doesn’t relate directly to my research, but to the broader context of the climate crisis and public and private policy and decision making. This relates directly to the aims of Envision- to develop students with the skills for interdisciplinary, world class research and collaborations at the forefront of environmental science.

Through this placement, I gained a range of skills, experiences and networking opportunities, and had a really rewarding and insightful experience.