Neil, you’re often described as ‘a man on a mission’ at Xaar. Tell us why that might be.
Well, I guess it all boils down to my determination to get things done and my passionate belief in a more sustainable future for Xaar. As Group Quality System, Sustainability Manager and DPO, it’s my job to ensure we do all we can to drive positive change across the business and meet the ambitions set by our Sustainability Roadmap to 2030.
For me, this is much more than a job, it’s personal. And the things we're doing across the Group are really making a difference. It might sound like an overused cliche, but this really motivates me and gives me a sense of positivity for the future.
Have you always been an advocate for sustainability?
To be honest, I come from a traditional manufacturing and production background - and much of my career has been associated with quality control and management.
When our Operations Director Mark Brind arrived at Xaar, he asked me to help him drive our ESG and sustainability agenda forward.
I was delighted to be given this opportunity. The last couple of years have been a real eye-opener for me. It’s been a period of intense learning, fast-paced change, and lots of collaboration and teamwork, and plenty of question-asking and listening too.
What motivates you personally?
It would be easiest to answer this question in an emotional way. I’m a father and grandfather too. I genuinely want my family to have the opportunity to grow up in a world that has not been ravaged by climate change and ransacked natural resources.
Of course, there is a business need for sustainability too. Business today isn’t simply about making and taking as much as you can, as quickly as you can. It’s about investing in people and communities and the future, too. All of these elements come together, and the result is a stronger, more resilient planetary ecosystem and society.
Neil with a group of local school children who are part of the Imagineering Club that he volunteers at every Wednesday focusing on teaching them STEM subjects
Do you think we have a choice about sustainability?
Sadly, not, no. We have to do this. We need to be open to positive change and adapt and shift and we must demonstrate leadership. We must not be scared of trying things – and we must not be frightened of sharing our progress.
We also need to be honest about the scale of the challenges ahead. There is a lot of work to do.
But, it is good fun, that’s for sure.
Are you Xaar’s lone warrior when it comes to sustainability?
Absolutely not! There are so many people doing tremendous work across a whole host of areas, ranging from carbon reduction projects to re-thinking our use of materials – right through to working with young people to ignite their interest in science and technology.
We simply can’t achieve our goals without getting everyone on board with this journey. I love seeing how this engagement is taking hold across the company and how progress is being made. Every day there’s evidence that we’re getting closer to where we want to be. It’s really rewarding.
Can you share something that inspires you?
Yes – indeed. There are all the obvious things like the progress we’re reporting on and the hard work our colleagues are doing (and I admit – I get a kick out of seeing year on year progress). But, sometimes, it’s a good idea to let the experts do the talking for you. So, I’d like to share a quotation from the world-renowned ecologist Dr Jane Goodall.
She said: “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.”.
I think this sums things up for me. We all need to do our bit, and collectively we’ll make incredible progress. To be honest, I couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve done together so far.