Environmental consultant Nerida Robinson tells Susan Rice about recycling plastic cups and her passion for horses.

What is environmental management all about?

It’s about finding out how running a business affects the environment. This can range from measuring the amount of petrol that salespeople use on their travels to the number of plastic cups thrown away at the water machine. Recycling paper, old furniture and computers is also a big part of reducing company waste.

We measure the environmental impact of all these activities and then advise firms on how to draw up a policy to reduce their waste and energy use. It really is something that every company is going to have to do in the end.

How did you get the job?

I started at Citex Consulting in April doing general facilities management consultancy work. But one of my colleagues saw my CV when a client had asked for advice on environmental management, so I just fell into the job. Now, most of my workload is connected with environmental management as Citex is about to set up a division dedicated to it. There are about five of us working in this area at the moment.

What do you do in a typical day?

At the moment, I am working very hard on business development. I spend a lot of time preparing proposals to present to potential clients. When I am not looking at the business development side, I tend to spend a lot of time researching a job and writing reports on the findings. We have already done work for Andersen Consulting.

On a day-to-day level, I spend the first hour sorting through e-mails, and I’ve usually got at least one or two meetings. There’s a lot of team interaction here, and about once a week we go out to lunch, which is great. It’s not one of those jobs where you’re aware of the time. Days sail by, to the point when you look at your watch and it’s four o’clock and you’ve still got four things to do. But that’s fine, I enjoy it.

How environmentally aware is the construction industry?

In Australia, the situation is much more developed than it is here. In the UK, especially in construction, it’s virtually unheard of to do anything environmental. Awareness is growing, but companies have no excuse for having an environmental policy that is words on a page rather than something that they actually act on.

You trained horses in Australia. How did that compare with consulting?

It’s not that different, but you’re not so much training as putting options in front of people and making recommendations. That is why I enjoy what I do. Plus, people are far more challenging than animals.

If I was to be asked “why do you get up every morning and go to work?”, my answer would be so that in however many years’ time, I could have as many horses as I want, and spend as much time training them as I want. The thing I enjoy most about working with horses is the training.

What do you do to relax?

I’m torn between the city and the country, so I enjoy going to the country for the odd weekend. My main passion is dressage and show jumping, but I’m not doing any at the moment because it’s so expensive over here.

Personal Information

Age Mid-twenties Current job Environmental management consultant at Citex Consulting Employment history Before arriving in the UK from Australia in February, Robinson did environmental work for Symonds and the University of New South Wales in Australia. Before this, she and a friend ran a business training former racehorses to be pleasure horses. Qualifications BEng (Hons) Environment from the University of New South Wales Lives South-east London Salary About £25 000 Drives Peugeot 306 Family Fiancé Rupert