UCL Alumni


UCL Connect: Green your career - how to build a career in sustainability

24 May 2023, 6:30 pm–8:45 pm

Green foliage on modern building

Successful UCL alumni will shed light on what you can expect from career in sustainability.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







UCL Alumni Relations


Jeremy Bentham Room
Wilkins Building
Gower Street

There has never been a more important time to join the sustainability sector. The industry has grown exponentially over the last decade, as we all become more aware of the impact of our everyday lives and how this is negatively affecting our climate and planet. 

A career in sustainability is also no longer just about working in an environmental or climate focussed role. It now transcends across multiple industries, and that’s why it has become an increasingly attractive career for both UCL students and alumni from across a broad spectrum of academic backgrounds.

At this panel event, hear from a range of successful UCL alumni who will demystify what a career in sustainability is really like, give you their top tips about how to break into the sector and how you can ensure that your role has a meaningful impact on the world around you.

About the Speakers

Chair: Professor Nicola Walshe

Pro-Director: Education at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society

Nicola is co-founder and Executive Director of the UCL Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education (CCCSE), which aim is to significantly improve climate change and sustainability education within schools by providing free professional development for teachers of all disciplines, all phases and all career stages, underpinned by high quality research. 

Nicola is co-convenor of the Environmental and Sustainability Education Research network of European Educational Research Association and a UCL Climate Hub Community Expert.

Nicola Walshe

More about Professor Nicola Walshe

Saif Hameed

Founder and CEO at Altruistiq

Saif Hameed is the founder and CEO of Altruistiq, a market-leading emissions data management platform. Saif’s 20+ years of sustainability experience has spanned public and private sectors as well as nonprofit organisations. This includes leading sustainability practices for government initiatives as well as McKinsey, where Saif advised Fortune 500 companies for 8 years. Saif is also co-founder of the Pakistan Environment Trust, Pakistan’s leading environmental charity.

Picture of Saif Hameed

Zoë Cokeliss Barsley

Director of Sustainability at Oxford University Press

As Director of Sustainability at Oxford University Press, Zoe is responsible for setting OUP’s strategic direction on climate and biodiversity, and for working with the publishing and operational teams on delivery of environmental footprint reduction initiatives.

She studied Biological Sciences at Somerville College, Oxford, and went on to do an MSc in Conservation at UCL. Her early career was spent in biodiversity research at the Zoological Society of London’s Institute of Zoology, and at the UN Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Keen to help businesses reduce their environmental footprints, Zoe made the switch to working in corporate sustainability. She worked for communications agency Context Group, helping companies such as GSK, Vodafone, and ITV report on their sustainability initiatives, and spent nearly a decade in the apparel and footwear industry with Pentland (owner of brands such as Speedo, Berghaus and Canterbury). Zoe joined OUP in 2020.

Zoe Cokeliss Barsley

Neil Brown

Managing Director at Notewell Associates

Neil Brown (BSc Economics 1982) is Managing Director of Notewell Associates, a Sustainability, Derivatives and Risk Management consultancy. From 2008 to 2022 he was variously COO, CEO, CRO and Investment Committee Chair at Earth Capital, part of Earth Capital Holdings, a PE group deploying capital into sustainability themes of energy, food, and water with c$1.7bn AUM. Previously he was Chief Risk Officer consecutively for Credit Suisse Asset Management and HSBC Asset Management. Prior roles included trading, broking, and consultancy. He was a Trustee of the CS UK pension scheme for 7 years and has acted as expert witness in fund governance and client classification cases. He started his career as a floor trader on the opening day of the London International Financial Futures Exchange in 1982. Neil is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments and chairs their panel for the Financial Derivatives diploma paper, Bond Forum and Capital Markets Pathway Qualifications Assessment Board. 

Neil Brown speaker

Alex Hilton

Head of Sustainability at HM Revenue and Customs

Alex Hilton (BA Geography 2007) is Head of Sustainability at HM Revenue and Customs, the UK’s tax and customs authority. He has spent over 15 years working in the sustainability sector, predominantly in the public sector, with stints working with a variety of companies from magic circle law firms to boutique hotels.

More recently, he spent 7 years at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as head of sustainability, driving a global sustainability agenda improving the performance of the department’s operations globally, and supporting the UK Government’s diplomatic priorities ahead of COP26. He delivered an ambitious ‘Beyond Plastic’ programme to remove single-use plastics in FCDO operations stretching from Barbados to Kabul, via Tokyo and New Delhi.

At HMRC, Alex is responsible for setting the strategic direction on Sustainability, ranging from the department’s Net Zero by 2040 ambition, through to statutory reporting, volunteering and HMRC’s award-winning tax education programme for schools, Tax Facts.

Alex Hilton