Getting Real About Sustainability
ALI SHERIDAN Sustainability Lead for IKEA Ireland
In this episode of the Women In Leadership Podcast, Ali Sheridan talks about why caring for the environment is really important for women in their shared roles as leaders in society, in work and in the home. She talks about how she is putting sustainability into practice in her own life, even using reusable nappies with her youngest child and taking part in the Super Homes initiative with Sustainability Energy Ireland SEAI. Ali talks about making that big word ‘sustainability’ relevant to people in their daily lives. Her job with IKEA is about making sustainability make sense and finding ways to marry the two.
“The challenge is how do we make sustainability relevant to different people. It comes back to that definition of sustainability. To one person it could mean cleaner air, it could mean cheaper bills or a warmer home and we need to understand what the different motivators are for each of the different audiences and tap into them if we really want to see change.”
In IKEA Ali Sheridan says their policy is ‘people and planet positive’ developing policy focussing on being circular and climate positive. They are looking at how can they make their operations become more environmentally friendly. “How can we be as environmentally friendly as possible? ”
Ali says IKEA are developing a more circular business model reducing waste and also focussing on healthy and sustainable living which she says they see as part of the same thing.
In her personal life Ali is serious about the environment too even using reusabble nappies with her 1 year old. She says the nappies are cuter than they used to be and that there is a local support group.
In Ali Sheridan’s own home they are going through a process with Sustainable Energy Ireland called Super Homes which involves retrofitting the house. It’s about looking at your energy use in your own home, insulation, solar panels and a heat pump and moving away from fossil fuels, she says.
Ali Sheridan Pearls of Wisdom
- Be Brave Try not let those inner voices get to you, see above them, speak out for what you believe in.
- Challenge The Norm It is important to look at things in new ways because many of our old ways are not working.
- Network it’s huge. If you can make those relevant connections, if you can understand who has expertise in what, who can open a door, then you can achieve so much more.
- Lead how you would want to be lead. Think about those coming behind you, it will be to everyones benefit.
- Don’t get too stuck into just talking with people who work in sustainability. It’s easy to find yourself in an echo chamber. Actually such a huge part of sustainability is listening to everyone else and trying to understand why they aren’t thinking that way yet and figuring out how can we help them to get there.