Our mission is to help businesses champion people and the planet

Sustainability strategies

Grain supports organisations with sustainability assessments, planning, and implementation with the aim to create a positive impact on people and the planet, while increasing stakeholder engagement and providing competitive advantage. 

We cover many sectors including built environment, education, pharma, tech, professional services, manufacturing, retail, packaging, financial services, and waste management. Clients are UK-based and international, ranging from private sector and trade associations to charities and government bodies.

Our aim to use business as a force for good is reflected in our status as a Certified B Corporation.

Grain was born in 2002 as a branding and design agency, working primarily in technology, travel and transport, education, property, and lifestyle. Over the years, we have shifted the focus onto sustainability, aligning our mission with our personal values, and today we work wholly in sustainability consulting and communications.

As headlines every day attest, there is an urgent need for all of us — individuals, businesses, government, finance — to make radical changes to ensure that our world can be a safe and healthy place now and for the decades and centuries to come.

If you’re interested in joining our team, please see the Careers page.

Grain Sustainability is open, curious, optimistic, and determined.

Open

To new ideas, to people, to change. For us, being open also means being transparent and honest. We approach work with our clients as an open, trusting partnership. Openness is also essential in communicating about sustainability, to avoid greenwashing.

Curious

From exploring how to change behaviours to the latest innovations, our curiosity propels us through endless reports and articles. It makes us want to meet new people and find out about their dreams, motivations, and challenges.

 

Optimistic

There’s a lot of scary news out there and it can feel overwhelming at times. On the other hand, all of the solutions to the climate crisis either already exist, or are being developed by some of the best minds on the planet. Optimism is justified!

Determined

Being determined and optimistic means that we’ll help you achieve your goals even if the road is long and bumpy. The world of sustainability is complex and it takes tenacity to unravel it, stay on top of it, and to keep jumping hurdles that may come our way.

A tailored team of consultants is selected for each project, providing complementary expertise.

Amber

Amber Harrison

Amber Harrison helps organisations find the right approach for sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and communications.

At Grain, she helps clients navigate through materiality assessments, set sustainability strategies and successfully communicate progress.

Previously she was Director, CSR & Sustainability, at SITA, a global IT and telecommunications provider to the air transport industry. She was responsible for the development and implementation of the global sustainability strategy, and creation of the ‘carbon neutral by 2022’ initiative called Planet+. It included the first company-wide carbon footprint assessment, an internal carbon levy for business travel, and execution of a verified carbon offset programme that supports biodiversity, reforestation and community development in Borneo, India, Guatemala and East Africa. Amber spearheaded the implementation of an ISO 14001:2015 certified global environmental management system, delivering significant reductions in operational emissions.

She is also a trained ISO 14001:2015 internal auditor. She initiated SITA’s annual CSR Report using the GRI (Global Reporting Index) and UNGC (United Nations Global Compact) frameworks, to deliver transparent communications about its progress. Amber created the award-winning Air Transport Community Foundation, providing access to IT and education for young people, which has benefited over 90,000 students in five African countries. Before this position, she held roles in communications, marketing and design, and brand management.

She has also run her own successful freelance business. Amber holds Masters degrees in Integrated Environmental Management, and Marketing. She is a Chartered Manager, and a Fellow of IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment), where she participated in the working group on the role of disruptive technology. She is also a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society of Arts).

Christoph

Christoph Geppert

Since 2018, Christoph has been living his dream, combining his passion for design and sustainability in a single project: developing an electric motorbike for India.

Starting with the entrepreneurial ambition of longstanding client Tau Lotus, he developed the definition of the strategy for both the business and the brand, the technology concept and industrial design for the bike, investor engagement and sustainability assessment.

From Christoph’s early studies in marketing and environmental economics at the University of St Andrews and in Münster, Germany in the early nineties, Christoph’s desire to utilise design as a driving force to advance sustainability has been clear. Clients range from Nokia to British Airways, ecoATM to Spring Bank.

Other projects included the naming and branding of Floreon, a new compostable plastic; designing bespoke reusable packaging for luxury handbag rental platform Catwalk Club; and the re-focusing of material development specialists Lucideon. Christoph is IEMA certified for Carbon Management and GRI certified for Sustainability Reporting. Originally from Hannover, Germany, Christoph holds a degree in Management, Economics and Politics from the University of St Andrews, and an MA in Industrial Design from Central Saint Martins, UAL.

Having worked for large multi-nationals like Sony, Qualcomm, Nokia, Tesco, Sunglass Hut and Costa Coffee, Christoph’s work spans many industries and very different types of organisations including start-ups, SMEs and large enterprises as well as non-profits. It is this diversity that informs Christoph’s crisp analysis and innovative work. Christoph loves living at the end of the tube line: London’s inspiration within easy reach and the beautiful English countryside on his doorstep. Christoph has a lifelong passion for travelling with his family, including skiing and surfing whenever possible.

Photo of Laura Adams, sustainability consultant

Laura Adams

Over the past 20 years, Laura has held a number of sustainability leadership positions including in-house at Jaguar Land Rover and The Co-op Group.

She is an experienced sustainability practitioner and advocate with direct experience implementing positive change within organisations. As a B Leader, Laura is adept at helping businesses complete the B Corp certification process with ease and confidence. In 2017, she earned a post-graduate certificate at the Cambridge University Institute of Sustainability Leadership and has been recognised as an agent of change by a UK award scheme. She is the chair of the board of sustainability charity Caplor Horizons, a judge for the annual UK Global Good Awards, and teaches part of the Institute of Sustainability Institute’s diploma in business sustainability.

When not looking after her two young children and two whippets, Laura squeezes in reading, travelling, and trashy television.

Madelyn

Madelyn Postman

In the late 80’s, a friend of Madelyn’s quipped to her after she threw some rubbish in a bin, “Out of sight, out of mind!”

That gave her pause for thought — and she often thinks back to his comment more than three decades later.

In the meantime, she graduated from Brown University with a double major, in visual Arts and with honours in Art History, lived and worked in Italy, and moved to the UK in 2000. In her working life, Madelyn has always focused on business objectives, be it connecting strategy with creativity in branding and design, or building the business case for sustainability.

With various design agencies and most recently as an individual, Madelyn has been a member of 1% for the Planet since 2008, donating 1% of turnover or income to environmental charities. She serves on its UK & Ireland Steering Committee, helping build membership and raise profile in the UK, as well as organising events and building the community.

She believes that businesses need to play a key role in creating an equitable and safe world and must take responsibility for their activities. Madelyn’s background is in branding and communications, working with a variety of purpose-led brands over the years. She shifted her focus wholly to sustainability after studying Business Sustainability Management at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership in 2020.

You may have spied Madelyn on BBC News and BBC World, commenting on branding, business, and communications, and she lectures on sustainable fashion at the University of East London. She holds a BA from Brown University and speaks Italian fluently. In 2019 she received an honorary MBA from the University of West London’s Claude Littner Business School.

She is currently writing a book, Sixteen Stories, based on her family’s roots in California, Poland, Lithuania, and China.

Mark

Mark Carlin

After a long career within operational finance, Mark now focuses on supporting organisations who want to make the transition to a more sustainable future.

Most recently he was Finance Director – Major Projects within Siemens UK. Projects ranged from the financial integration of several complex acquisitions spanning the rail automation, power generation and oil & gas industries, to an international assignment working with colleagues in Germany on developing new business models for Industrial IoT platform services. Each project involved a significant change requirement. From 2008 to 2013, Mark was Finance Director of Siemens UK’s Renewables Division when it was at the forefront of developing the UK’s offshore windpower capability.

His Siemens career also included senior finance roles within their IT/BPO and Logistics divisions. Mark’s earlier career was spent largely at Melrose Plc, gaining invaluable experience both at headquarters level and as FD of an operating subsidiary involved in the light manufacturing of B2C products. He also spent several years at GlaxoSmithKline where he worked within the consumer products business.

Since 2016 Mark has been contributing to the work of The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) initially on the development of the ‘A4S Essential Guide to Finance Culture’ and more recently on guidance to assist businesses on their path to Net Zero. Mark is a CIMA qualified Accountant and holds a BSc in Economics from UCW Aberystwyth. He recently completed the Business Sustainability Management course at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and is continuing with further sustainability courses and training. Originally from Nottingham, Mark has been based in the Chilterns AONB for the last 20 years, taking every opportunity to explore and enjoy its natural beauty.

Mary

Mary Pearson

Mary Pearson is an IEMA and ECO Canada environmental sustainability professional who provides ESG advisory services including carbon footprinting and sustainability communications.

She was a sustainability project manager at SITA, an international air transport industry technology provider. Major projects there included annual CSR report production, ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management Systems) certification management, EMS platform implementation, employee volunteering programme management, and data gathering for annual GHG assessment reports using the CarbonNeutral Protocol. Communications is the throughline of her professional career, and Mary excels at translating the esoteric and jargon-strewn into readable content.

In addition to twenty-plus years of corporate experience, Mary holds a Masters degree in Computing with a research focus on data visualisation, a post-graduate qualification in web publication, and formal training in GRI, ISO 14001, and BREAAM. She has a Masters degree in English from the University of Alberta, enjoys photographing and drawing birds and loves spending time with her very favourite person, her daughter Rosie. 

Nitesh

Nitesh Magdani

A chartered architect, Nitesh has worked across design, construction and operation of the built environment for more than 20 years.

Nitesh is a Grain associate and founder of Net Positive Solutions. He was previously Group Sustainability Director for Royal BAM Group and a board member for the award-winning Sustainability Supply Chain School.

He believes in collaboration, systems thinking and sound evidence to achieve tangible benefits. Having found that senior executives need appropriate targets, tools and frameworks to achieve tangible results, he regularly uses business cases to demonstrate success.

Nitesh has a thorough knowledge around the application of sustainability and the value generated both from a company and project perspective. Nitesh has been responsible for policy and audits, whilst having had prior experience of working with sustainability certification schemes.

In addition, he regularly advises industry and government on digital, innovation and sustainable solutions towards net zero and circular economy. He holds RIBA parts I, II, and III certification from Leeds Beckett University.

Rosie

Rosie Wyatt

Rosie helps Grain’s client projects run smoothly, supports our marketing, and facilitates Grain’s day-to-day management.

She worked as a marketing manager in various organisations after graduating with a BA (Hons) in Business Studies, with a specialism in Marketing.

She started out in an accountancy practice as their first marketing professional, and progressed to IBM and Vodafone, with responsibility for UK, EMEA and worldwide operations. Rosie focused on channel marketing and developed numerous marketing plans and developed strategic marketing activities to increase sales and profits.

After a successful corporate career, Rosie created her own marketing consultancy which aims to assist established and new businesses to thrive and seek new opportunities.

She is also a novelist and has written one book and is currently drafting a second. When she’s not working or spending time with her daughter, Rosie enjoys sea swimming at all times of the year.

Sophie

Sophie Harbert

Grain’s junior consultant Sophie helps formulate business sustainability strategies across many sectors.

Her degree in Geography and Spanish at the University of Leeds sparked a passion for working in the sustainability industry, completing a final year dissertation which focused on the environmental and social issues surrounding fast fashion and the textile industry. She was lucky to spend a year studying Spanish language in South America and time spent travelling allowed her to explore beautiful parts of the natural environment and vulnerable ecosystems, such as Patagonia and the Galapagos islands, which she is now extremely motivated to work to protect.

Sophie’s previous experience includes working with a sustainable clothing brand, a social enterprise coffee company and the Globechain reuse marketplace, as well as volunteering with the Felix project food bank in London and an organic permaculture farm. In her spare time, she loves exploring London, practising yoga and getting out of the city to go hiking. She is especially interested in B Corp certification and is passionate about creating positive change in business. Sophie currently works alongside the senior consultants at Grain, helping clients in all aspects of the business from materiality assessments to carbon footprinting.

Antigif workers

Antigif

Anne Roos Hosters and Tim Verbakel are Antigif, our friendly design duo.

They both love to translate well thought out strategies into iconic designs, making sure everybody who contributes to a brand or company communicate as one, both verbally and visually. With this in mind, they create logos, colour palettes, typography and graphic elements and make them come together on different branding elements.

After graduating together from the arts school Academie St. Joost Den Bosch in 2017, they started their studio in ’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands. Since then, they worked for various clients creating online and offline graphic design.

Tim was a designer at Grain back in 2016 and we have kept up the partnership over the years. Within design he mostly works on web design, publications and print. When he is not working, he loves to spend time bouldering (rock climbing) and riding his motorbike when the sun is out.

Anne Roos is more focused on making unique concepts and motion design. Besides work she spends time with her loved ones, including Nox and Nagini (dog & cat) and loves to do different water sports. And not to forget, Anne Roos is an extreme board game fanatic.

Joanne

Joanne Jong

A highly experienced brand and creative consultant, Joanne has worked with luxury fashion and lifestyle brands for almost 30 years.

She graduated with a Masters from the Royal College of Art and went on to work with an impressive range of international clients including Giorgio Armani, Daks Simpson, The Austin Reed Group and The White Company.

Joanne is the founder of Yulan Creative and in 2017 she published The Fashion Switch: The new rules of the fashion business. She is a regular guest lecturer at universities and museums such as the V&A and at industry events and she writes for WWD. In addition to her creative vision, Joanne has practical and in-depth knowledge of product development. She understands the many issues and waste of the manufacturing cycles of the industry and steps needed to improve them.

Since publishing her book, she has concentrated on working with purpose-driven ethical and sustainable businesses, supporting them with their strategy development and implementation. 

Karen

Karen Brazier

Karen is an experienced communications professional with a 25-year career in education, tourism and publishing.

She was previously Director of Marketing and Communications at Bryanston School, where she played a central role in the development of the school’s strategic vision and corresponding rebranding. Prior to that she headed the tourism marketing team at Winchester City Council, where the development and communication of a sustainable tourism offer was central to its tourism strategy.

With an objective and analytic perspective, she has extensive experience of digital storytelling in a professional, voluntary and personal capacity, and supports businesses in developing best practice through their use of social media, blogging and wider digital communications, including content strategy, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Karen holds an Honours degree in French from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Nicola

Nicola Louw

Nicola brings together visual design, user-centred design principles, and technical know-how to create effective digital communications for our clients.

She began her career in graphic design but her love for tech led her to retrain as a website developer.

A true cosmopolitan, Nicola was born in London, grew up in Cape Town, and has lived and worked in Australia, Argentina, and Los Angeles. When she’s not immersed in code, Nicola dreams of building an off-grid home where she can be in nature with her family.

Yanjie

Yanjie Wang

Passionate about our planet, Yanjie is an advocate for the circular economy.

After eight years working on the Rizhao Power Station project, from the R&D stage until the completion of the power station, she came to the UK and completed an MSc in Financial Decision Making at the University of Bedfordshire. She managed a successful nutritional supplement company for many years before selling it at the end of 2020.

She studied Business Sustainability Management at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and is continuing with further sustainability courses and training.

Yanjie is a member of Sustainable Amersham leading the Plastic Free Amersham initiative in association with Surfers Against Sewage.

Born and raised in China, Yanjie holds a BSc in Management from Shanghai University of Electric Power. She is fluent in English and Mandarin.

In her free time, she plays tennis and enjoys family skiing trips and long walks through the beautiful Chiltern countryside.