Our vision is to make businesses into champions for the planet.

Sustainability consultancy

Grain was born in 2002 as a branding and design agency, working primarily in the technology, travel and transport, education, property, and lifestyle sectors. In 2018, Grain’s co-owners and directors, Christoph Geppert and Madelyn Postman, brought their team with them to merge with Leidar, an international advocacy, branding, and communications consultancy. While at Leidar, Christoph and Madelyn continued to work in design, digital, and communications, for international organisations, philanthropic foundations, and the healthcare sector, often with an eye on sustainability.

The climate crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic have brought to the forefront the 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 to live in, now and for the decades and centuries to come.

In the autumn of 2020, Madelyn and Christoph decided that they wanted to dedicate as much of their time and energy as possible to helping businesses become champions for the planet. Together with Amber Harrison, they relaunched Grain with a sustainability focus, going upstream from the branding, design, marketing and communications offering to work with businesses on sustainability assessment and planning, and bringing the strategy to life through the technical and creative implementation required. A tailored team of experienced professionals is selected for each project, each of whom brings expertise from different sectors and companies.

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.

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 Steering Committee, helping build membership and raise profile in the UK, as well as organising events and building the community.

Until her return to Grain, Madelyn was the UK Managing Director of Leidar, an international advocacy, branding and communications consultancy, with key clients including Oak Foundation and NNHF. In 2019 she received an honorary MBA from the University of West London’s Claude Littner Business School. She recently studied Business Sustainability Management at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and is continuing with further sustainability courses and training. She is a member of IEMA.

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

Christoph Geppert

For the last two and a half years Christoph has been living his dream, combining his passion for design and sustainability in one single project. Since early 2018 Christoph has been 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. In addition to his project work he is focusing on the B Corp assessment and certification process for Grain, which has been a member of 1% for the Planet since 2010. 

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.

Amber Harrison

Amber Harrison helps businesses navigate the right approach for their sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and communications needs.

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, capturing a reduction in operational emissions of 41% since 2011. 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 85,000 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 participates in the working group on the role of disruptive technology.

She is part of Runway Advisors, an affiliated network providing expertise and support for small to medium-sized businesses.

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.  

Nitesh Magdani

Nitesh is a Grain associate and founder of Net Positive Solutions. A chartered architect, Nitesh has worked across design, construction and operation of the built environment for more than 20 years, both as an architect and recently as Group Sustainability Director for Royal BAM Group and 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. 

Marina Bradford

Marina, founder of consultancy Bemari, is an advocate of regenerative and triple bottom line economies and an experienced consultant with the focus on environmental impact management, embedding circularity and sustainable procurement. Bringing multi-industry experience, she supports organisations from public and private sectors with formulating and implementing their sustainability strategies.

Her strength is in simplifying complexity and “connecting the dots” to help engage stakeholders across all levels to deliver collaborative problem solving and sustainable solutions. Marina was born in Russia, educated in the UK worked in over 19 countries which has helped her gain a global outlook.

She holds a BA in Management Studies from the University of Nottingham and has qualified as a Chartered Accountant with ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountant of Scotland). Marina also has completed a course in Business Sustainability Management from Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, trained on GRI reporting standards and is an Associate member of IEMA.