Spotlight on Richard Jackson

27 July 2011

This week the spotlight is on Richard Jackson, Head of Environmental Sustainability, UCL Estates.

What is your role and what does it involve?

Richard Jackson

I am the new Head of Environmental Sustainability at UCL with responsibility for developing and implementing UCL's policy and strategy on environmental sustainability across the estate.

My focus will be to build on the great work which has already been put in place across the Estate (to manage waste, encourage recycling, reduce energy and water use and to source goods locally and sustainably) and the extensive environmental sustainability research which is undertaken by the university. This will involve working with staff and students to create a culture for improving the local, regional and global environment. I am really looking forward to this challenge and to working across the university.

As a leading global university, with significant environmental research, the institution's approach to addressing its environmental footprint will be critical to its ongoing sustainability – seeking to enhance its reputation; improving its efficient use of increasingly limited and costly resources; and offering a way to create stronger links between the research and the estate.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I have been at UCL since the start of July and am really looking forward to the opportunities ahead.

Prior to starting at UCL, I was Head of Sustainability for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), working for more than seven years at developing and implementing the ODA's Sustainable Development Strategy.

Given the complex delivery programme, the immovable completion deadline and the tight budget constraints, this was an extremely challenging project. As such, I am incredibly proud of the achievements that were made. These include the measures to reduce carbon, save water, minimise waste and source sustainable and ethical materials. Some of these measures are regarded as current best practice in the sustainability field.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

Clearly, the work which was undertaken on the Olympic Park was an amazing personal and professional experience.

The achievements speak for themselves: installing the UK's first commercial blackwater treatment plant and non-potable water network to reduce potable water use; increasing the use of secondary materials and cement replacement in concrete production – going well beyond industry practice; achieving 100 per cent use of sustainable timber with full chain of custody in place; delivering more than 45 hectares of new habitat as part of an improved working landscape; and creating a new low carbon energy network, which is engineered to accommodate future energy demand from new houses, schools and commercial users.

However, I think my proudest achievement was the development of initiatives to support greater understanding of environmental issues; to raise awareness of the risks; and to reward good behaviour. This included communication campaigns, annual award ceremonies and comprehensive training provision.

What is your life like outside UCL?

I live in London with my partner, Lucinda, who is currently studying at UCL. We are both very enthusiastic sports people, keen cyclists (and cycling fans) – the Tour de France is a big highlight of the sporting calendar! I also enjoy cinema and theatre, and London offers limitless options for both!