Taking responsibility: How can innovation support sustainable, environmentally conscious business growth, from big ideas to mindful practice

If there is one certain in business, it’s that progress never stops. But how do you manage business growth and industrial progression without negatively impacting your environment?

From our place in the local communities we inhabit, to the role we play in minimizing our environmental impact globally, corporate sustainability and social responsibility are increasingly important. Innovation is key to driving more responsible growth, and our panel of experts from leading corporates and some of the region’s biggest companies will highlight some of the most pressing issues facing businesses today and discuss the strategies they employ to help tackle them.

Louise Patterson (Chair)

Head of IT Operations and Resources, Northumbrian Water

Louise Patterson is Head of IT Operations & Resourcing at Northumbrian Water Group (NWG), where she leads a varied team covering Development, Testing, Networks, Cloud & Infrastructure, User Experience & Service Management.  Louise joined the Utilities sector during the pandemic in 2020, but prior to this, has held various leadership positions within the Food Retail sector within Technology covering Programme Delivery, Service Operations and Governance.  She has a real passion for IT Transformation and Customer Service whether that be delivering new and innovative technology solutions to improve business outcomes or transforming ways of working, to improve customer service.

Andy Mace

Director of Environment & Sustainability, Arup

Andy joined Arup over twenty years ago with a passion for turning sustainability principles into reality.  From working on sustainable building designs and then eco-city masterplans in the UK, China, Kazakhstan, Russia and other countries, he quickly came to understand the need for outcomes-based design and delivery using integrated human and natural systems-based approaches, if we are to deliver net zero and other sustainable outcomes that support the UN SDGs.

Andy is based in Arup’s Newcastle office, with responsibilities across Northern Ireland, Scotland and the North of England.  He recently led Arup’s global initiatives around COP26 and was the project director for Arup’s role delivering sustainable event management on COP26 and the G7 Summit.  He recently led a collaborative study with Enel and several universities looking at the importance of the circular economy to city decarbonisation and is leading energy transition and net zero related projects for the Scottish Government, several local authorities and a major international airport.

Michael Brodie

CEO, NHS Business Services Authority

Michael has been Chief Executive of the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) since September 2019, having enjoyed a career in public service finance.  From August 2020 to October 2021 Michael also led Public Health England as its interim Chief Executive through to its closure as part of the transition to the new public health landscape.

Michael is a co-opted member of Council for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), where he Chairs its Sustainability Forum, and he is a Trustee of the Community Foundation based in the North East which is the largest philanthropic organisation in Europe.

In 2022 Michael was listed by Health Business magazine as one of the top 50 most influential leaders in the NHS and in 2021 he was named by Inspiring Workplaces as one of the Top 50 Inspiring Leaders globally.  He is also a former winner of the “Future Leaders” award organised by Public Finance magazine and previously a winner of the Finance Director of the Year at the cross sector North East Accountancy Awards.

Paul Swift

Senior Director for Europe, Procter & Gamble

Paul is P&G’s Director for Open Innovation in the UK, helping to initiate partnerships to meet today’s needs across the Procter & Gamble business: for products, technology, in-store, e-commerce and the supply chain. P&G is a company of leading Home & Personal Care brands including Ariel, Fairy, Pampers, Always, Gillette, Oral-B, Vicks, Head & Shoulders and Olay.

Craig Woodburn

Head of ESG , Britishvolt

Craig is a passionate and highly experienced ESG professional. He is responsible for developing Britishvolt’s sustainability/ESG strategies and reporting for all activities, a crucial pillar to overall business success. His previous roles include as an environmental and planning regulator, consultant and business lead both in the UK and various locations across the globe.

Craig has worked most recently in the automotive sector developing strategies and systems to support global sustainability, compliance and reporting around Net Zero at Jaguar Land Rover. He led integration of sustainability within JLR’s new plants in Brazil and Slovakia, other global operations, and worked with suppliers on sustainability ambitions. Prior to this he worked with international clients as a manufacturing business sector leader managing a cross functional team leading on sustainability, permitting and environmental compliance including assessing investment opportunities for banks and due diligence transactional support.

Craig is a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager, Chartered Scientist and Chartered Environmentalist and also volunteers as a mentor for students at Nottingham Trent University.