I didn’t intend to become a Chartered Environmentalist – or a Chartered Anything in fact. Throughout my career – much of which I spent at the Environment Agency – I hadn’t become involved with ‘institutions’ because, to misquote Groucho Marx, I didn’t want to belong to any professional body that would have me as a member. I thought that I didn’t need letters after my name simply to demonstrate that I was good at my job.
Nine years ago I decided to become an independent consultant. Soon afterwards, I had a call from the Institute of Water with an invitation to become Vice President Environment. I knew about IWater, and had previously been invited to join, but refused because I wrongly believed that it might compromise my independence as a regulator. This time IWater colleagues were very persuasive so I agreed to take on the role, and I then discovered that I would be expected to obtain the Chartered Environmentalist qualification. Going through that process, and obtaining the professional qualification, completely changed my views.