Career Story: David Fairchild


Name: David Fairchild

Job Title: Principal Consultant, Sustainability Services.

Location: London

What made you take the leap and apply for a role at Bureau Veritas?

After graduating with a degree in Marine Biology I completed a master’s course in Environment Technology and have since had roles in sustainability and environmental assurance. I started at Bureau Veritas over three years ago after having previously worked with Bureau Veritas on environmental bioenergy assurance training. When a permanent role became available I could see my specialist knowledge was appropriate and was immediately interested in the role. Another appealing factor was my existing relationship with the team.

What does your current role entail?

I’m a Principal Consultant within the Sustainability Services team and my core work is leading projects for Carbon and Bioenergy reporting and assurance. This involves conducting assessments to confirm the accuracy of companies’ reported data and claims, such as meeting their corporate environmental targets. This is checked through site visits, interviews and data reviews, and requires a detailed knowledge of relevant guidance and standards. On the bioenergy front, I specialise in conducting audits to confirm that the bioenergy used by companies comply with sustainability legislation in order to qualify for government subsidies.

In addition to my core role, I also act as Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Technical Manager for the UKAS accredited ISO 14065 scheme for GHG Verification; so as well as being an active Lead Verifier for sites under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), I also keep the team updated with current legislation and developments and manage the accreditation with UKAS.  I recently worked on a project with the Marine Division of Bureau Veritas to enable us to offer maritime emissions verification from all vessels calling at EU ports.

What are some interesting / challenging aspects of your role and how have they helped you / developed your skills?

My role is quite varied on a day to day basis, and I get to work on a diverse range of projects which keeps things interesting. I deal with lots of queries from other verifiers and provide guidance and support to the team in the UK and within Bureau Veritas internationally. Similarly I enjoy travelling and visiting many different sites, such as gas plants and paper factories. throughout the UK and EU.

Because the projects I work on vary so much, it can be challenging to maintain technical knowledge and keep on top the wide range of relevant documentation. However, through this my organisation and time management skills have developed as well as my technical knowledge, particularly my understanding of relevant legislation and guidance, which benefits my overall role.

Describe the prospect for career development at Bureau Veritas.

Bureau Veritas are very supportive of any career development goals you have individually with annual personal development meetings with your line manager. They are also encouraging and open to ideas you may have for new services, and to help improve and, or develop existing work processes.

I really enjoy working as part of the enthusiastic and dynamic sustainability and assurance team which I have recently been given more technical responsibility over. I spent 12 months up until August last year managing the team for maternity cover, and still take an active role in mentoring members of the team. This experience has provided me with the perfect opportunity to develop my managerial and leadership skills which has been a good learning experience. There are growth plans within our team to expand our services and delivery which is exciting and also provides more management prospects in the future.

Being part of such a huge global company isn’t something that I had considered much when I started here, but due to the development and management opportunities, the scale of the organisation is something that I have become more aware and appreciative of over time - especially as there is the possibility to work internationally. The flexibility you’re able to have is also something I like about Bureau Veritas: I have worked a three day week previously and am now on a full-time home-based contract.

What advice would you give to colleagues considering / pursuing a career in this role?

Apart from having the technical knowledge needed to fulfil this role, you have to have a passion and a keen interest in sustainability and corporate responsibility; what drives our team is that the subject matter is close to our hearts and something we all feel passionate about.

Teamwork and organisation is a large part of my role due to the range of collaborative projects we undertake, so working cohesively with your team for planning and delivery is essential. Having done consultancy work and experienced the shoe being on the other foot, I think it’s helpful to understand the clients’ requirements and motivations for engaging our team. Being audited or getting through an assurance process can be difficult and stressful for clients at times, so working closely with them and maintaining contact, and making them aware of what is required from the outset is beneficial for managing expectations.

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