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What does your position involve?

My role is to support the implementation of the University’s Environmental Management System (EMS) and offer advice on, and monitor, the University's compliance with environmental legal requirements. I coordinate the waste management and recycling programmes of the University while also leading  the Communications and Engagement Strategy. 

What is your (education/qualification) background, and how did you get here?

I achieved an internationally competitive academic scholarship for an MSc. in the UK. I have a double Masters in Environmental Sciences and am a lead auditor for ISO 14001 2015. Sustainability has always been my area of interest and in the last nine years I have worked with the UK’s High education institutes and the public sector. I have also worked as an environmental consultant in the early years of my career, helping the textile & leather factories in Punjab, Pakistan in implementing Environmental Management Systems.

What were you doing before joining the Sustainability Team?

Before I came to the University of Cambridge, I worked for Portsmouth City Council as their Waste Management Contract Officer. I was also running my own authentic Indo-Pak street food business including a food blog as my creative interest.

What are you looking forward to getting your teeth into in the coming year?

I’m particularly looking forward to the mobilisation of the new waste contract and improving the University’s reuse and recycling rates through engagement initiatives and a shift towards the circular economy. I’m also excited to support & coordinate with the University departments on the environmental legal compliance and implementation of the EMS.

Who is your inspirational figure (real or fictional)?

My parents & my husband! Even though my mum didn’t have an opportunity to receive a formal school education, both my parents knew the importance of education and supported me throughout my journey. My husband inspires me with his dedication and hard work towards his interests and always supports me and pushes me to do the same.

Do you have any hobbies?

My family and I love going on local walks along the coastline. I am a foodie at heart, so in my free time you will find me cooking new recipes, being creative around food styling and capturing delicious photos for my food blog. During my quiet time I enjoy listening to audiobooks and dancing with my kids!

What do you think is the biggest environmental challenge?

We are in an era of convenience which unfortunately sometimes conflicts with the rate at which we consume earth resources. We buy so much! The rate at which humankind is creating waste is alarming. Subsequently, we are having to deal with the significant impact on disposal. I think the biggest challenge is to move away from the throwaway attitudes and move toward sustainable and ethical purchasing. The most effective way to reduce waste is to avoid creating it in the first place.

What gets you out of bed (and into work) in the morning?

Knowing that I am contributing to the future of my children and being able to do so not just as a mother, but also through my contributions towards positive change and a legacy of sustainability.

What is your environment-related pet hate?

Unnecessary purchasing habits.

First impressions of Cambridge

My first visit to the University left me with an unforgettable memory of the luscious green grounds full of daffodils. Well done to the grounds team for creating this space for staff and students.