11-13 September 2018   NEC Birmingham

11 Aug 2017 knowledge hub
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RWM’s Quick-fire Questions: John Lewis

by: RWM

...businesses [are] seeing resource efficiency and the Circular economy as an opportunity rather than a burden."


John Lewis sustainability manager talks to RWM Name: Ben Thomas

Job Title: Sustainability Manager - Reuse & Recycling

Company: John Lewis

Years in industry: 6




What was your first job in the resource/waste industry and how did that come about?

Sustainability Consultant following an internship

What does your typical day look like?

I usually have a site visit or meeting, often to a recycling/reuse facility or charitable organisation to explore opportunities to collaborate or to ensure existing processes and practices are optimised.

Meetings with buying and design teams to discuss progress with ongoing projects or to propose a new initiative that explores the circular economy

Calls with suppliers to discuss issues and find solutions to increase reuse rates

Collating and clean data for submission to the Environment Agency as part of our legal obligations

Arranging meetings between stores and reuse partners 

Replying to customer and Partner queries and requests.   

What is the best part of your job?

Working with a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders to explore opportunities to drive change

And the toughest?

Implementing change in the business

What advice would you give someone starting out?

Stick at it, there's no conciliation for hard graft and tenacity. Look to find yourself a niche within a niche.   

What do you perceive to be the most impactful change to the industry since you started working in the sector?

The shift in mindset of businesses seeing resource efficiency and the Circular economy as an opportunity rather than a burden.

If you were DEFRA Minister for Waste and Resource for a day what one thing would you action?

 A standardised approach to local authority recycling collections  

How do you play your part in ‘One planet living’?

I consciously try to minimise the negative impacts associated with my daily life and influence positive change at John Lewis. 


Hear more from Ben at RWM

You can hear more from Ben at RWM 2017 – register now to join him for ‘Unlocking closed loop potential in the John Lewis supply chain’ on Thursday 14th September in Circular Economy Connect