Environmental Sustainability Consultant
- Master of Management Studies
While studying accounting at Waikato Management School, Ruth Venter realised that what she really cared about most was environmental sustainability.
She ended up doing a masters thesis on carbon reporting by not-for-profit organisations, and now works as an environmental sustainability consultant.
Ruth says she enjoys working with people in the not-for-profit sector much more closely than she would have in a typical accounting role. "I get a buzz out of feeling that I'm helping to benefit the community in some way too."
"I believe that sustainability reporting isn't just about ticking the boxes. You kind of have to tell the story about an organisation's activities and how it benefits the public."
During her Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours degree, Ruth did a management internship in Germany for three months, where she was asked to design a carbon reporting and measurement system for not-for-profit organisations, to be rolled out to 76 countries.
"It really showed me how applicable sustainability can be in the not-for-profit sector. At the time I was doing it, I did quite a lot of research around regulations in Demark and places like that. In Europe, carbon reporting is now mandatory for many organisations, which means that you won't get funding from the European Union if you don’t meet the requirements. That can make quite a big difference to your bottom line."
Ruth says her MMS degree benefited her in a lot of ways, especially with the strong research skills that she developed.
"A masters degree broadens your understanding of how to do research, and then you get to apply those skills to things that you love doing. For example, if I need to find out what other people are doing in the industry, or what governments are doing around carbon reporting, I know how to search through databases and analyse information."
Ruth's job as an environmental consultant came about as a direct result of her management internship in Germany.
"One of the people who I worked with at CBM International later started his own consulting firm. Now I consult with him for NGOs, doing carbon reporting and sustainability reporting."
"Recently I also completed a carbon report for the INGO Accountability Charter and the International Civil Society, which are the two main organisations that come up with all the international standards that non-government organisations have to adhere to. So they are the regulators so to speak."
"A typical day at work involves liaising with people that I contract for. I have to find out what their stakeholders actually want to see in terms of carbon reporting and sustainability reporting. After that, it's about developing plans on how to execute what their stakeholders want, while also keeping in mind that there are other regulatory requirements that we have to meet."