The early months of 2021 have brought a sense of déjà vu as many parts of the world remain focused on the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a stark reminder for us all that no matter how well prepared we believe we are, there will be issues to challenge our thinking and approach as to how we operate.
With the sheer scale of the current pandemic, it is difficult at times to look past the human cost of the current situation. As an industry, we have made strides to ensure that we manage the risks to our people around health, safety and well-being. In our professional roles, we are often required to manage short-term priorities whilst considering all the risks to mitigate longer-term and secondary issues.
Looking beyond 2021 and towards the next five to 10 years, there are reasons for the industry and the profession to be optimistic. That optimism comes with the need to balance and understand how we manage the wider risks to the industry over that period and beyond.
We all want to see the future sustainable growth of our sector in both economic and environmental terms, whilst ensuring that we do not lose our focus on the health and safety agenda.
The next few years will see a global focus on economic and environmental issues that will impact all industries and professions. In November 2020, the UK Government launched its 10-point plan to build back better, support green jobs, and accelerate our path to net zero – 12 months ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) due to take place in Glasgow later this year.
This is real and our sector is critical in supporting these agendas. As an industry we are going to have to plan our way forward now to be able to meet the climate challenge, and as individual professionals we will need to continue developing our skills to manage the associated risk portfolio both strategically and operationally.
We are used to the cyclical nature of our industry, which closely mirrors that of construction, and, in turn, we are used to managing our operations to be as efficient as possible to offset those risks. In recent years our understanding of key risks has expanded to include the environmental and sustainability narrative. Professionally, we have developed our skills and knowledge to adapt and manage our operations to meet those challenges, be it in climate change or more efficient use of our resources. This agenda is only likely to grow for the foreseeable future and we must continue to push as a profession in these areas.
Whilst the agenda may be challenging, we have the core skills and experience in risk management from our health and safety agenda. We can use this knowledge to help build and develop our approach to manage future risks and be able to capitalise on them.
As always, IQ is here to help and support members in developing their skills and knowledge in this critical area. Through its education courses and the collective knowledge of members, access to support is available to us all.
Whilst there are still so many uncertainties in the short term for all of us, we must look ahead and make sure we continue to prepare for the future.