On Earth Day 2021, Meet The B-School Sustainability Graduates

Name: Wendy Rayner 

Hometown: Born in England but lived in Scotland for past 25+ years. 

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love the outdoors and I am usually on my bike or a pair of skis. When doing my undergrad degree I managed to be ‘ill’ for large parts of the ski season and always came back with the typical skiers suntan! My tutors must have guessed but never said anything.   Unfortunately, I think if I tried it now work would not be so understanding ….

Business School Degree Program: Global MBA, Alliance Manchester Business School 

1. What do you do? And how do you impact sustainability through this?

I am the National Sustainability Manager for NHSScotland. I am the technical lead for resource use and sustainable procurement.  NHSScotland has 10% of the UK population and 30% of the UK landmass. The NHSScotland annual budget is circa £1.5b.  Working in a large organisation across a large and often unique geographic areas (including multiple islands) brings its challenges.  The role gives me the opportunity to influence the way the NHS in Scotland buys products and services and then manages them at the end of their life. 

Sustainability influences the economic, social and environmental considerations and in addition to considering Scotland’s often picturesque environments, I get to work with local, national and international suppliers, bringing together expertise to develop solutions. Local communities and SMEs are often at the heart of successful solutions and the role gives me the opportunity to support the development of local skills and capabilities.  

2. What does World Earth Day mean to you?

Earth Day gives focus to sustainability, or at least the environmental aspects. It’s a day when people often stop and pause and think about their impact. NHS hospitals often run local Earth Day events, following which my role gets even busier with lots of requests and questions about NHSScotland practices 

3. What is your top tip for living a more sustainable life? 

Do something, however small or insignificant you think it might be, it will make a difference. Change your diet, reduce food waste, buy pre-loved items, walk or cycle rather than drive, turn the heating down, switch the light off … and if nothing else, where possible switch out the disposable to re-usable items.  Small changes, add up to making a difference … so not one tip (sorry!).  Start one (re-usable) coffee cup at a time.

4. Has climate change affected your life? If so, how? 

Climate change impacts everyone, even if you haven’t been directly impacted by floods, fire or extreme or changeable weather events, these events impact our food supply.   On a personal level, the change in seasons and impact to the mountain environments and weather is noticeable, glaciers are retreating impacting mountain ecosystems not to mention the impact on the ski fields!

5. How has your business school experience helped your career in in this area?

My MBA and my experience at Alliance Manchester Business School provided me with the tools and understanding to deal with all aspects of sustainability.  The MBA didn’t make me an expert in business, it provided me with the understanding and ability to have knowledgeable conversation with experts in strategy, finance, investment, marketing etc…. It gave me the tools to help businesses reflect and develop their business models to meet sustainability goals. 

6. What is the biggest/most important lesson you have learned during your studies?

Hard work is required and pays off.  Do your homework, read around a subject and consider all points of view. The global MBA helped me think outside of my ‘local economy and environment’, the global nature of healthcare and healthcare supply market needs to consider multiple systems, cultures and economies.

7. Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Great question, but I have no idea.  I know I should have a career plan but life gets in the way.  I have just spent the last year managing the NHSScotland response to COVID and dealing with increased clinical waste, vaccine waste and testing wastes.  As my MPhil focused on clinical waste, I led the Waste Resilience team and was based on a waste site!  I didn’t see that coming and I look forward to new opportunities around the corner.  If I could choose, I would move into a role focusing on finance and investment, not just green business but helping companies deliver fantastic products and services with sound sustainability.   It would be real bonus if I combine my love skiing or cars in that role!

8. Finally, what are your hopes for the future? 

That sustainability becomes mainstream and I think we are starting to see it.  We shouldn’t have to choose between sustainable or environmental preferable products and brand leaders.  The leaders of the future will be more sustainable they will deliver products and services in new innovative ways.   

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