Guest blog: People, planet, prosperity: delivering results for a greener future

Guest article by Gareth Griffiths, Chief Executive, Ecology Building Society. This article was first featured in Society Matters.

Guest article by Gareth Griffiths, Chief Executive, Ecology Building Society. 

This article was first featured in Society Matters.

In the face of the escalating climate crisis, I recognise that Ecology’s mission has never been so urgent. My first months as
CEO have revealed the true passion and dedication of the Society’s members and colleagues, and the opportunities to extend and intensify the impact of our work, ensuring that we build on our inspiring history to deliver positive change through values-led lending.

As we approach the end of the year and my first six months as CEO of Ecology, it is a real time of renewal and reappraisal. During recent weeks I’ve been out ‘on the road’ meeting members at a series of regional events, giving me an opportunity to listen to members’ views and share my vision for Ecology’s future as I take the helm following Paul Ellis’ 27-year tenure. Ecology has always been distinguished by the incredible passion and  involvement of its members and, over the course of the meet ups, it became evident just what a strong base of
support the Society has from which to grow.

Never has Ecology’s purpose and mission been more relevant than now. As we look to the longer-term implications of the climate crises, I can’t help but think we are in the foothills of what is going to be an epic climb, the true magnitude of which is yet to emerge. While many unknowns lie ahead, it is essential to me that we are robustly equipped to support our members in the adaptation for and transition to a net-zero future, and that we can continue to grow Ecology’s positive impact in a manner that remains true to our mission.

More immediately, I am excited to be recruiting for several key roles that will be significant in delivering Ecology’s ambitious 2030 strategy, the framework for which was informed by a consultation with nearly 800 of our members. We have recently recruited a new Head of Products and Marketing who will be joining in the New Year and brings previous experience in the sector as well as a start-up. Continuing to focus on ensuring that we innovate great products around real member needs is something we are working hard to bring to life. As well as a new Chief Financial Officer, I am also currently recruiting for a Head of Sustainability, which, for an People, planet, prosperity: delivering results for a greener future organisation committed to delivering to the highest ecological standards and agitating for positive change, is a crucial appointment.

I am grateful to have been welcomed by a supportive Board who are keen to embark upon the next phase of the Society’s journey. Fundamental to my role is to establish the direction, rhythm and routine for the culture that is needed at Ecology to continue to deliver top class results for our members as well as identifying our strategic areas for investment.  Over the coming months, I will be leading the management team and the Board  through a process that will enable us to better understand how each of these areas delivers against our triple bottom line: people, planet, prosperity. Colleagues have also undertaken a bottom-up continuous  improvement programme, generating 120 innovative ideas, which, along with the broader strategic investments, will contribute to a detailed plan that will be crystallised ahead of next year’s AGM.

Having used this time to gather members’ views and get to know Ecology’s fantastic team, I’m now looking ahead to put the insights I’ve gained into action as we continue to lead the way on Climate Risk and meet the requirements of the new Consumer Duty and Operational Resilience regimes, while ensuring we continue to support colleagues and members, particularly those who are most vulnerable, through what could be a very challenging winter.

To find out more about the Ecology visit: www.ecology.co.uk

The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the BSA.